As many of my regular readers know, for the past several years I’ve been involved with Teacher Mentors Abroad ~ an organization that pairs Canadian mentors with educators in the Dominican Republic. Each summer for the past 16 years, a team of Canadian educators have travelled to the Dominican Republic and facilitated a week-long conference. Over the years, the conference has evolved to include sites in both Santo Domingo and Santiago. With the global impact of COVID 19, the 2020 summer conference and the 2021 summer conference were both postponed. Our program committee, like so many other organizations, used the cancellation of the conference as a springboard to explore digital ways to maintain our relationship with our mentors. Over the past year, we have intentionally connected with our mentors multiple times for a check -in and to learn how they are navigating school closures and online learning. This morning, our TMA President sent us the link to the following article Fulcar meets Ozoria to demonstrate he has the backing of the Catholic Church; Educa president blasts tragedy of delayed return to schools
Within the body of the article, the strong relationship between the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Education in revealed, as well as the disturbing fact that, “Instead of carrying out efforts to prepare schools for a return to in-person learning, the Ministry of Education has spent billions on air time and programming for distance learning.”
In Ontario, the voice of the Church is not reflected in the decisions about online learning or the return to in-person learning, it is our Health Units and the Ministry of Education. And yet, I find it interesting that both Ministries are focusing more on supporting the online learning piece than ensuring additional safety procedures for in-person learning, such as smaller class sizes etc.
The article also shares the D.R.’s moving target in terms of the deciding factor, as determined by positivity rates, for a safe return. Originally 5 % and now 10%. Unfortunately the D.R.’s COVID positivity rate is still close to 20%, so their return to school is still significantly compromised.
In Canada, our current positivity rate is 4%. So even though in Ontario we are still in the throws of another lockdown, we have much to be thankful for.
Sending positive thoughts to all of our DR mentors.