The pandemic and its consequences have reached the classroom. Since this school year began to be programmed it was clear that the classes would be different and that a particular protocol would be established for all those people who were especially sensitive to the virus. However, in the case of teachers in the Canary Islands, the adaptation of their job has not been carried out and many of them now chain one leave after another without being offered any alternative to be able to go back to teaching and enjoy their students and colleagues.
In the case of ANPE Canary Islands, the union has dealt with up to 54 cases in recent months of especially sensitive teachers to whom the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands, through Quirón Salud – a hospital group that was in charge of contacting the teachers by phone to find out their situation after outsourcing medical evaluations on the part of the Ministry -, has not responded. Of this total, the cases of 22 teachers have been classified as serious. “These are professionals who have requested that their job position be adapted and, despite submitting the corresponding reports, they are still unable to carry out their work safely,” says the president of ANPE, Pedro Crespo.
Of all these cases, in addition, the professionals have received assistance from the juridical services of ANPE Canarias, which has been in charge of studying each case individually and has submitted reiteration briefs –after each teacher has reported their case– to request that the reality of each professional be taken into account with the ultimate objective of most of them can continue teaching, despite the exceptional circumstances that exist today.
The cases of teachers who are especially sensitive to Covid They are as varied as the pathologies that each one of them present. However, the Canarian union has wanted to help them all as much as possible and that is why last September it submitted a letter to the Ministry of Education in which it proposed the implementation of some measures, agreed with the teachers themselves , to proceed to the job adaptations. “However, the Administration has not taken these contributions into account and Quirón Salud continues without giving an answer to the teachers, something intolerable and that, in addition, in many cases represents an extra expense for the public system. It is frustrating to see that there are professionals who want and can work, but are not allowed ”, laments Pedro Crespo.
These proposals are structured according to the different educational levels. Thus, for Infant and Primary, for example, it is proposed to lower the ratios, so that especially sensitive teachers do not have to do cleaning tasks in the classroom, incorporate the school nursing service or hire auxiliary personnel to establish a system of take temperature before entering class. For Secondary Education, ANPE requested blended teaching, the incorporation of educational assistants to support especially sensitive professionals, infrastructure reforms to improve air and student circulation, that personnel especially sensitive to the coronavirus do not stand guard or are in classrooms with a maximum of 15 students, the use of microphones subsidized by the Administration or more health training for teachers, among other proposals.
Anxiety and sadness
The cases of teachers especially sensitive to Covid who have seen their work affected by this virus are numerous and their situations are as varied as their pathologies. One of the Tenerife teachers who has come to ANPE Canarias to report her situation explains that suffering from COPD has led to her being absent from the beginning of the course and this generates “anxiety, concern and sadness”, she says.
In your case, the illness you suffer does not allow hold on with the mask on all class time as he suffocates very easily. She reports that last May she informed the Ministry of Education that she was a teacher sensitive to the virus, as requested by the Administration. As a result of this questionnaire that she filled out, Quirón Salud contacted her by phone to prepare her report from which to apply the relevant protocol. After that, when the school year began, the management team of the center where he works informed him that, since his job could not be adapted, he would have to stay off until the virus remitted.
“Me I want to go back to my position, just as it was before the virus, because last year I already experienced what telematics teaching is and I did not like it ”, says the teacher, who adds that, if the ratios were reduced and the classrooms were equipped with screens, she He could teach normally and, even if he cannot wear the mask, he would comply with the health safety regulations.
This teacher has tried to contact the Ministry of Education but without success at the moment: he has presented two instances in which he requested the adaptation of his job position and, as this is not granted, he has chosen to directly request temporary disability. “I feel a lot of uncertainty, concern and anxiety because this situation does not allow me to be with my students and because I know that, if I am not there, my work has to be assumed by my colleagues.”