'I'm trying to wrap my brain around it': Specialty teachers leery of back-to-school plan
VANCOUVER -- Teachers whose students share equipment and common workspaces are wondering how B.C.’s new back-to-school plan that includes a full return to the classroom for most high-schoolers will work for them.
“The nature of the class is you move around, you use equipment, you’re always active and always going,” said Denise Nembhard, a home economics teacher at Dr. Charles Best Secondary in Coquitlam. “I’m trying to wrap my brain around it, and I don’t know. I really don’t know.”
“Truthfully, I’m sort of at a loss at the moment,” said Keith Rispin, who teaches digital design at West Vancouver Secondary. “It’s been 24 hours to sort of process what I’m going to do. I’m not there yet.”
“I have five 3D printers, one laser cutter, a bunch of tools where they would print out the object they designed,” he said. “It’s very interactive. So how we would do this in a COVID world? I’m not entirely sure.”
The provincial government’s plan does include more than $45 million for enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces, but its unclear if that includes smaller shared equipment like pots and pans in cooking classes or fabric shears in textiles classes.
“All of that gets touched by all the students through the lab, and how exactly does that get cleaned and cleaned effectively between each cohort or between each class?” asked Nembhard. “I don’t know how that would logistically work.”
It’s also unclear who would be expected to do the cleaning.
“It probably will in large part fall upon me to make sure that at least, if it hasn’t been cleaned, no student is sitting at that particular station or working with that particular object,” said Rispin.
Nembhard is looking forward to seeing her students again in September, but with so many unanswered questions, she said she’s “apprehensive about going back, definitely.”