The Manitoba Provincial government just announced its plans for sending all children back to school full time, 5 days a week in September.
Look, as a parent part of me is doing the fucking happy dance. My children need an elsewhere to be. As in anywhere that isn’t right beside me on the couch while I work, while I teach, while I take a shit.
I can’t even express how tired I am. And before you get all preachy and remind me to cherish this time with them, back up. I have been cherishing them every single second of every minute for 5 months now, and I have run out. I need a break. I need some off time. I need to take off one of the hats I have been wearing because for reals my kids need to hear the perspective of someone who is not me.
And obviously, the best place for them is school in normal circumstances. They need some structure, and social development, and math and all of that French stuff.
So yes, part of me is over the moon. I can almost taste the moment I shoo them off to school and the house will be silent for the first time in over half a year.
And it’s a big but. Baby Got Back sized BUT.
As usual with this fucking government, the “what” has been decreed upon us, with absolutely no thought about how it is going to actually be implemented.
As usual, despite the fact that not one classroom teacher has originally been consulted about how they are going to logistically make this work in their classrooms, the buck is now being passed onto the school divisions that now have about a month to figure out how to keep thousands of school aged kids and their staff safe once we cram the kids back into school this fall.
SO many questions haven’t been answered:
- Classrooms are overcrowded as it is. How do we expect to configure classrooms to keep them 6 ft apart?
- If my child has a runny nose, are they not allowed to go to school? Do they need to stay home for two weeks? Does their sibling? How will working parents cope with this with their employers? Has the Minister of Education collaborated with other departments that will mandate flexibility with employers for parents who will need to accommodate their children?
- If a teacher is sick, do they need to stay home for two weeks? Do we have enough substitutes? Will substitutes be trained in all the health and distancing protocols at schools? Will they only be allowed to work in one school?
- If a student in one cohort tests positive, will this affect all of the children in a sibling’s cohort as well? Should it?
- Will more time be spent washing hands and managing behaviour than is reasonable? How will this affect learning?
- How will we take care of our educators and the stress this will undoubtably cause them? Are we prepared for the toll this will take on staff? Is it reasonable for us to force them to be responsible for the health of our children?
- Why hasn’t the government committed to hiring more teachers, educational assistants and custodians to support a system whose needs have been amplified exponentially?
- If masks are recommended in all other indoor places, why are they not for schools?
- If it is same for hundreds of students to be in school together, why is community use of schools not permitted?
- Are we sure that we aren’t using our children as guinea pigs so that parents no longer have to scramble for childcare? Are we sure we aren’t prioritizing the economy over the best interest of our community?
- Perhaps most significantly, is there a solid, thought out and viable plan in place for distance education when a second wave hits and we are likely all locked down again? Are we ready for that? Is there funding set aside to meet those challenges?
I get it, I really do. We can’t live locked in our houses forever, we need to learn to live with this thing. The current situation is not sustainable and we need to move forward.
But why in the name of all the almighty fucks in the universe do these bureaucratic dipshits make all these statements without asking the people who actually have to put things in play whether or not it’s actually going to work? What SHOULD have happened is a committee or committees comprising of teachers, administrators and parents from various demographics should have been put together to assess needs, consider viable plans, and implement the best ones. Not some useless survey with vague yet somehow leading questions that helped the government feel better about themselves.
We need more information. You have literally had almost half a year to have helpful conversations with front line staff, and instead you have sat in your ergonomic office chair, creating all these useless plans that really tell us nothing logistically.
My confidence in the leadership of this province is literally about as low as it could possibly get.
That wasn’t a challenge, Goertzen. Get your head out of your politicized ass and start consulting the right people.