As students head back to school, some may have questions about the new classroom layout. One teacher is trying to provide answers by raising awareness about the realities of back to school in Ontario. She’s doing so in the form of an Instagram account.
The teacher, named Reena, is a public school educator in Ontario who started the Instagram account Not Your Typical Classroom.
The purpose of the social media account is to highlight what the classrooms really look like, versus how they are described by the provincial government.
Reena's content attempts to shed light on the lack of social distancing in the classroom.
“Although classrooms were promised to be capped at 15, the majority of classrooms will be filled to capacity,” she says.
“Since lockers are not being used, this space will also be filled with jackets and knapsacks.”
The account shares the stories of many teachers.
One such story describes a teacher trying to accommodate Grade 5 and Grade 6 students.
"A beautiful classroom, setup by a resilient teacher who is trying to make the most out of these stressful times," writes Reena, accompanied by a photo of a classroom crammed with desks.
"Her classroom was collapsed so she will be welcoming 28 grade 5 & 6 students in a combined class today."
In one of her latest posts, Reena highlights that, while virtual school has been delayed up to three weeks, in-person classes begin today. She says this feels rushed.
"The risks for community transmission are much higher as schools reopen, and yet, the province is giving online schools almost three weeks longer to prepare for a restart compared to in-person classrooms," she says.
Premier Doug Ford has maintained that Ontario's back-to-school plan is the best in the country.
Narcity has reached out to the Ministry of Education for their response to Reena's claims. We will update the story when we receive a response.
Reena tells Narcity that she hopes to "build a space to raise awareness around some of the real issues that schools are facing right now."
She will continue to share her experiences on her Instagram account as students return to school.