The President of the BC Teachers Federation says teachers do want to return to class in the fall, they just want to make sure that their health and safety concerns are addressed.

Teri Mooring says some of the teachers that might be in the vulnerable category are even more concerned.

“The other issue that we have especially for places like Quesnel is we have a lot of retired teachers who are TTOC’s (teachers teaching on call) who are replacing teachers when they’re ill, and we anticipate that a lot of those teachers probably won’t be to eager to go back so we think there is going to be a real issue come September. We also anticipate that a lot more teachers will be taking sick days because there will be such a low tolerance for anyone going to work sick, we’ve heard that from Doctor Bonnie Henry quite a number of times.”

Mooring says these are things they’ve been talking to the government and wanting them to address for a long time.

She says there are still a lot of unanswered questions after the province threw teachers a bit of a curve ball with last week’s announcement.

“Originally teachers were looking at stage two in terms of a full return of students from kindergarten to grade seven and then a partial return for students in grade 8 to 12. The announcement on Wednesday talked about a full return for everyone so that was a surprise. And the next surprise was the concept of cohorts.”

Mooring says they have established working groups that have been working on what a re-opening might look like.

The Minister has committed to working with them, and Mooring says the working groups, which were not expected to meet anymore, will now continue to.

They feel their concerns can be addressed with things like physical distancing of older students, making sure that teachers have available PPE, smaller class sizes, and making sure that the highest standards of health and safety are being checked in schools.

-Files from George Henderson, MyCariboo Now.