A survey conducted by the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) revealed that of all teachers working in K-12 schools across the province, only 46% feel safe in their respective academic institutions even with the current measures against COVID-19.
The said survey was carried out between September 22 and October 11 with 5,996 respondents, all of which are current members of the BCTF. Apart from the provincial government’s general transparency concerning the pandemic, other integrated factors in the survey include ventilation in schools, mental health and safety, and vaccination rates and mandates.
When it comes to implementing a province-wide vaccine mandate for adults working in schools, 82% of the respondents agreed that such a step is needed to provide adequate protection for the teachers and the students they are working with in their institutions. Notably, more than 90% of all teachers in BC are already fully vaccinated. An additional one percent was tallied as being partially vaccinated and are willing to get their second dose.
BCTF President, Teri Mooring, related that the vaccine mandate focused on schools should be administered on the province as a whole and not in a district-by-district approach. “A district by district patchwork approach does not make sense,” she pointed out. “Any vaccine mandate in K-12 must be province-wide.”
As for mental health and safety, Mooring shared that most of the respondents reported that they’d experienced a decline in their mental health as the pandemic continued. “With 79% saying their mental health has worsened throughout the pandemic, we’re seeing clear ties between health and safety and teacher mental health once again,” the BCTF President emphasized.
However, the most critical data that the survey gleaned was that less than half of all the K-12 schoolteachers in BC feel safe in their workplaces. Seventy-one percent of the respondents also stressed that they don’t seem to get enough meaningful information regarding COVID-19 cases and exposures in the region.
“Transparency around that quality of ventilation in BC schools remains a concern for many teachers,” Mooring said. She added that more than half of the survey’s respondents even pointed out that they don’t get sufficient updates about the ventilation in their respective schools.
Unfortunately, the BC provincial government still hasn’t given its comment on the matter.