ETFO President: Teachers as Ready as They Can Be for Return


As classrooms in Windsor-Essex get set to re-open this week, teachers and school staff have spent the past week preparing.

Local Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario President Mario Spagnuolo, says there were a few bumps along the road, but at this point most teachers have their class assignments are excited to be back in the classroom after nearly six months away.

Spagnuolo says it's a fluid situation, but staff are doing their best.

"They'll be ready for kids when they arrive back on a staggered approach. They're excited to see the children. They want to create a welcoming environment. Obviously, as professionals, in the background there's that anxiety and that nervousness, but we're going to remain optimistic. They're been away for six months," he says.

Spagnuolo says students remain priority one.

"We realize that there's a lot of responsibility on teachers' shoulders to make it a warm, comfortable environment for students. Considering the circumstances that we're in a pandemic, that's a tough task to accomplish, but I have the faith that our members will do the best that they can considering the circumstances," he says.

Spagnuolo says, there's no question, the next few weeks and months are going to be a challenge.

"It's just because there are a lot of unknowns. There are a lot of questions and still not the answers that we need. Unfortunately that's due to the planning being last minute and being changed by the government. Most people just want to know what they need to do and unfortunately that seems to be a moving target," he says.

Elementary students begin their return to the classroom Thursday with children with last names beginning with A to L, while those between M through Z will head back to class the following day.

Kindergarten students will join their schools on Sept. 14 and 15, also based on last names. 

CLICK HERE to find the entire Greater Essex County District School Board's back to school plan.


With files from Rob Hindi