COVID-19 exposures in some Toronto schools have left them so understaffed that they're turning to unqualified staff to cover classes.
Julie Altomare-DiNunzio, union president of Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers (TECT), told Narcity that lunchroom supervisors, music teachers, special education teachers and ESL teachers are just some of the employees that have been asked to cover classes.
"We strongly believe that every absence should be covered by an appropriately qualified teacher," says Altomare-DiNunzio, but, because of COVID-19 exposures and subsequent isolation periods, that hasn't always been able to be the case.
She says students are feeling "high anxiety and [..] frustration" from the prolonged uncertainty and sporadic closures.
To avoid future exposures and teacher absences, Altomare-DiNunzio hopes that the province will prioritize teachers in the vaccine roll-out, something she says she has received little clear communication on so far.