What are the effects of absenteeism due to the pandemic on the education system? | Coronavirus: Ontario

An absenteeism rate that is explained in particular by the lifting of the mask requirement in schools, according to Anne Vinet-Roy, President of the Association of Franco-Ontarian Teachers (AEFO).

The consequences of these absences are concrete in schools, and especially among teachers, she adds.

Due to the many absences we know that there is an additional workload in the schools because we sometimes combine classes when there is a shortage of staff. [Cela] does not help because people are in touch [alors qu’ils] normally wouldn’tShe explains.

When a lot of people are away, it’s difficult to have a normal routine of learning, teaching, and expectations. »

A quote from Anne Vinet-Roy, President of theAssociation of Franco-Ontarian Teachers

Ms Vinet-Roy says it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to continue covering the curriculum when there is too much absenteeism, a task that becomes even more complex when students have to catch up.

As of March 21, wearing a mask in Ontario schools is no longer mandatory, even as indicators of the sixth wave of COVID-19 have been rising steadily for weeks.

For Anne Vinet-Roy, the mask requirement should have been maintained for a few weeks longer, in particular because of the long Easter holidays, which she believes could serve as a spreading factor.

The government lifted the mask requirement far too quickly. This is a factor we hear a lot about, and many experts agree on this issue.She explains.

Unfortunately, the government has chosen to play deaf. We know it was for more or less purely political reasons and not at all for the good of the community, academic or otherwise. »

A quote from Anne Vinet-Roy, President of theAssociation of Franco-Ontarian Teachers

This criticism of Ms Vinet-Roy joins that of Ontario school boards, who have been calling for the mask to return to classrooms for several days.

When the youngest pay the price

For the psychologist and specialist in academic success, Égide Royer, absenteeism certainly did not start with the pandemic, but it has amplified this phenomenon, the 6th wave of which amplifies the impact, especially on the youngest.

et de 2eannées. Il y a de très grosses études qui sont sorties en disant qu’entre2019 et2022, on a un très grand nombre de jeunes de 1reet de 2eannée qui ont développé un retard en lecture et ça n’a pas été récupéré”,”text”:”Présentement, l’impact est au niveau des jeunes de maternelle, de 1reet de 2eannées. Il y a de très grosses études qui sont sorties en disant qu’entre2019 et2022, on a un très grand nombre de jeunes de 1reet de 2eannée qui ont développé un retard en lecture et ça n’a pas été récupéré”}}”>Currently, the effects are at the level of children in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. There are very large studies stating that between 2019 and 2022 we will have a very large number of young people in 1st and 2nd graders who have developed reading disabilities and it has not been resolvedhe explains.

I am an 11th grade teacher [secondaire 5]i am away today […] I can access the virtual teaching at any time. But what we saw was that these types of online courses really don’t work well for first and second graders. »

A quote from Égide Royer, psychologist, specialist in academic success

According to Mr. Royer, in addition to the way the course is delivered, there is the issue of the bond between the teacher and his students that is created when absenteeism occurs.

In my opinion as a psychologist, the presence, the connection and a stability with basically always the same teacher is even more important in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year than in the 11th or 12th yearhe says.

Égide Royer believes that we should allow students in the faculties of education to be represented.

Photo: Radio Canada

The psychologist’s opinion does not contradict the testimony of Monica St. John, who is the mother of a 10th grade boy and a 4th grade girl.

My daughter had a sick teacher for a few weeks. She usually says it’s not that bad, but for her, she got along better with her usual teacher. When his teacher wasn’t there, it was more difficultexplains the woman, who is also President of the Parents’ Committee at Saint-Ambroise School in the Windsor region.

However, she notes that absenteeism is not very widespread at École Saint-Ambroise, which she considers a small school With only a hundred studentswhich she thinks helps a lot.

Put an end to staff shortages

In addition to the return to compulsory masks in schools, which some school authorities are calling for but which the country has not yet decided to reintroduce, according to Aegis Royer there are solutions to counteract the consequences of absenteeism.

For him, the consequences of the current absenteeism are all the more important because the phenomenon occurs at a time when the education system is already confronted with a major shortage of teachers.

He therefore wishes for a more comprehensive management of the teacher shortage, well beyond the 6th wave of the pandemic. He also believes that education robs itself of a large pool of candidates who, given that they have the qualifications and are left with only the pedagogical knowledge, could quickly become available to schools.

Given the shortage of staff, most education systems currently allow people with a basic university education to seek some form of pedagogy that will enable them to teach at primary or secondary level.he explains.

Could Einstein teach high school science? Currently in a very tight system it would not be. In Quebec, Einstein was supposed to repeat a 4-year bachelor’s degree in education, which doesn’t make much sense. »

A quote from Égide Royer, psychologist, specialist in academic success

Mr Royer reiterates that mentoring, in particular, must be used, making it possible to match unqualified staff with qualified staff for those who have the necessary university education, without the pedagogical skills to be able to teach.

He also thinks that one of the rarely mentioned solutions is the use of male workers who are not very present in primary and secondary education.

: on a environ 10% d’enseignements masculins dans les écoles du Québec. En Ontario, vous avez environ 15%, je parle du primaire [élémentaire en Ontario]”,”text”:”J’ai les statistiques du Québec en tête: on a environ 10% d’enseignements masculins dans les écoles du Québec. En Ontario, vous avez environ 15%, je parle du primaire [élémentaire en Ontario]”}}”>I’m thinking of the Quebec statistics: In Quebec schools, about 10% of the teachers are men. In Ontario you have about 15%, I’m talking about elementary school [élémentaire en Ontario]he says.

Perhaps it is high time that we also promote professions that are not traditionally male. We even support this with scholarship programs to encourage more men to become apprentices. »

A quote from Égide Royer, psychologist, specialist in academic success

He adds that it is necessary to give the second and third year students of the faculties of education the opportunity to substitute in the schools and hopes that the profession will become more attractive, thanks in particular to a better salary treatment.

An opinion shared by Ms Vinet-Roy. She explains that you have to renegotiate certain working conditions for teachers when there are not enough people who choose the teaching profession or are willing to get a job.

A woman poses for the photo.

Anne Vinet-Roy wishes to return to a one-year teacher training course.

Photo: Radio Canada / Pierre-Olivier Bernatchez

She claims that theAssociation of Franco-Ontarian Teachers has presented a report with almost 30 recommendations to tackle the shortage of teachers, a report that has already been received by the government but which, she says, is acting very slowly, while the document offers very concrete solutions.

A fairly simple thing would be to change the Faculty of Education program from two years to one year because we need more people to graduate and graduate faster than two yearsShe says.

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