Several of the country’s 3.5 million educators felt under siege this past couple of weeks as pressure from the government, pediatricians, and most parents to get back to physical classes increased — even as COVID-19 rages across almost every state of the country.
Recently, the teacher’s union in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, required full-time remote education during this period of the academic year (which began on August 18). And called President Trump’s push to reopen schools part of a “dangerous, anti-science agenda that puts the lives of our members, our students and our families at risk.”
Teachers union reveal fundamental questions about how schools will remain safe during the current pandemic, wondering how to keep students physically distanced to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. They feel that their own lives, and those of the family members they come home to, are at stake.
Now, as educators listen to the general conversation concerning reopening schools, many consider putting the needs of the economy and working parents’ needs above the classroom workforce’s concerns. The majority are fearful and angry. They point out that so far the Congress has designated less than 1% of pandemic stimulus funds to public schools.
While teachers in other countries have had similar concerns over the risks, Italy stands out for having the oldest teaching workforce in the EU. A report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that more than half of primary and secondary school teachers are over 50, and 17% are over 60.
Older Italian teachers and those with underlying illnesses fear the reopening of schools in Italy could pose a severe threat to their health. However, the health ministry’s most recent circular does not identify age as a risk factor for teaching during the pandemic.
In Canada, multiple provinces reported COVID-19 cases linked to schools just as thousands of more students returned to class, raising fears over what’s in store for a segment of the population sheltered from exposure over the past six months.
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