Concern Over Special Education Students Still Learning In Person


"Education is being put before the safety."

This from the President of CUPE Local 1358 who says special education students are still receiving face-to-face instruction despite all other students learning from home to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Darlene Sawchuk represents support staff at the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

She says education staff aren't the only ones frustrated. 

"I understand parents' frustration. I understand their anger. We need more enhanced ventilation and PPE. It's those things that aren't happening that make people anxious," says Sawchuk.

She says the Ministry of Education has been dragging its feet on finding a solution.

"The government has had 10 months to come up with a real plan that ensures that students and staff are both safe to be in that brick and mortar school and they\ve failed to do that. That's why there's so much anxiety," says Sawchuk.

She says teaching special education is quite different from the usual classroom.

"I don't think the government realizes the level of contact that we have with spec. ed. students," says Sawchuk. "We are in their personal space managing a lot of their physical care. So, how can we be sure that we are safe?"

In a statement to AM800 News, the Ministry of Education says experts in the special education community have recommended "routine and consistency" for special education students coupled with the "continuation of strong health and safety measures." 

The statement goes on to say, "We have followed that advice, supported by the Chief Medical Officer of Heath, to ensure a small number of the most exceptional children can receive the care they desperately need." 


With files from Patty Handysides