Teachers' union president hopes student dismissals is not the start of a trend

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The head of the union representing Catholic elementary teachers in Windsor-Essex hopes the dismissal of dozens of students from a school in Amherstburg is not the start of a trend.

But Darryl Fanick, President of Windsor-Essex Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association - Elementary, says hope is not a plan.

On Wednesday, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board dismissed 57 students from Stella Maris Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg after receiving notification of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

26 students were from one class, and the other 31 were from a bus cohort.

The affected students were also told not to return to school on Thursday, with the dismissal coming on just the second day of the school year.

Fanick is calling for air quality testing in the schools and smaller class sizes so they can provide proper physical distancing during the pandemic.

He says they want air quality testing in the schools and smaller class sizes so they can provide proper physical distancing....

"I'm very much hoping that this is not a trend, but hope is not a plan. What I'm most concerned about is that we're going to have to keep pressing on health and safety concerns for all of our members, and for everyone in the community as well," Fanick said.

Fanick says ventilation in the schools is a big deal...

"We want to see air quality tests done, we want to see smaller class sizes so we can properly have distancing in schools. So I don't want this to be a trend but I think this is something that can be addressed."

Fanick says his heart sunk for all the students and the teachers impacted by the dismissal....

"We've been hearing for awhile now that we're in the fourth wave, this has been coming," he continued. "I don't want to say it's terribly surprising but its extremely disappointing."

The school board is working with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to assist all staff and students impacted by the dismissal at Stella Maris.