Parents ask for smaller class sizes at UGDSB
GUELPH -- Some parents of students attending the Upper Grand District School Board are asking the board to do more to maintain physical distancing in classrooms.
Speaking at a board of trustees meeting on Tuesday night, some raised concerns about what they feel are too many students in classrooms.
Andria Jones-Bitton's sons go to Victoria Public School in Guelph. She's also a family physician.
"We know how important attending school is for their social and emotional development," Jones-Bitton said.
But, she's worried about the number of students in her children's classes.
"My elder son is in a class with 26 students," she said.
With many students in classrooms and on school buses, she said it's difficult to maintain physical distancing.
"Those children are one metre apart, which still falls short of that best practice two metres guidance that public health experts recommend," Jones-Bitton said.
"If somebody has COVID in a classroom, then that can spread through the classroom relatively easily if we're not able to implement these most robust public health measures to allow people to be far enough apart so that their droplets aren't travelling from one person to the next."
Parents asked the board to reduce the number of students in classrooms and on school buses.
The board said it's taking active steps to ensure student safety. Officials said they're also in the process of hiring more teachers.
"But, there is a teacher shortage," said Martha C. Rogers, director of education for the school board. "There are also supervision issues in terms of student safety. If we cannot find sufficient teachers and we start to cram students into things such as the museum, someone suggested Sleemans Centre to me."
Jones-Bitton said it's reassuring that the board is trying to find a solution, but wants to see a safer plan in place now.
The board approved sending a letter to the Ministry of Education, asking for more money to help reduce class sizes and increase school bus safety.