If no changes in schools, 'I fear that the whole system will collapse': QPAT teachers union

TEACHER

With most teachers in the English public school system now working in Red Alert Zones, their union says they are worried and frustrated that no new measures or support are being offered by the Legault government.

The Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers said their members are feeling abandoned.

"I spoke to a teacher the other day and she's exhausted and it's really heartbreaking," said president Heidi Yetman in an interview with CJAD 800.

In a survey conducted by the union last month:

  • over 70% of more than 2500 respondents said social distancing was not possible in their classrooms.
  • 40% said  public health measures in place in classrooms were inadequate
  • 40% said ventilation in classrooms was insufficient

"Bars are closed, restaurants are closed yet teachers are still in the classroom that's not well ventilated with 32-38 students; no one's wearing masks," said Yetman.

Yetman said they need to immediately make masks mandatory everywhere in school and reduce class sizes, something they've been pleading for since the new school session began. She said more and more teachers are getting burnt out or calling in sick with few substitutes to fill in.

"We're hearing from teachers - it's not sustainable. They're exhausted. There are so many teachers absent because they're getting tested, students are absent because they're getting tested," said Yetman.

"If the government doesn't do something to change what's going on in schools rights now, I fear that the whole system will collapse."
 

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