Published Wednesday, February 24, 2021 6:06AM EST
When compared with similar surveys conducted last spring and three years ago, the number of pupils who said they were “happy all the time” declined 10 per cent, while the number of students reported chronic feelings of anxiety rose 16 per cent.
The number of students aged grade 7 to 12 reporting they are hopeful for the future has decreased 20 per cent in the past year.
Across all ages, 53 per cent of parents and 66 per cent of all kids said they were worried they would fall behind in their academic progress because of COVID-19.
Nearly 96,000 parents, 36,000 children in grades 6-12 and 6,000 TDSB staff participated in the online survey, which was roughly representative of the board’s socio-economic and demographic profile.
“We are encouraged to see that parents/guardians and students feel that staff are caring and supportive during this challenging time,” a letter accompanying the results sent to all TDSB stakeholders read. “However, results reveal that this work is taking a toll on staff. A key focus going forward will be on better supporting the health and well-being of staff while continuing to provide a high level of support for students and families.”
When turned to staff, especially frontline teachers and other support workers, the survey found there is considerable concern not only with the current safety protocols but also with how they are made.
Only 20 per cent of staff said they felt safe from contracting COVID-19.
Among elementary teachers, caretakers and other support staff, only 30 per cent said current infection control protocols were adequate.
More than three-quarters of all staff said they wanted more information on how COVID-19 safety protocols were formulated.
Across all staff, 70 per cent said they are feeling “burnt out and anxious” as a result of their jobs, while 50 per cent said they were coping moderately well to extremely well with anxiety.
Only 32 per cent of all TDSB staff said they had the “equipment, tools and training needed to do their job well and safely.”
On virtual learning, kids and parents mostly reported it was easy to access and use, but said the amount of time devoted to teaching each day was lacking and 84 per cent of students said they preferred in-person learning to virtual school.
Ontario school boards went virtual only from March to June 2020, and provided parallel options for in-class or all-virtual learning in the 2021 school year.
The TDSB conducted virtual-only learning for all students through January 2021 to Feb. 18 due to high COVID-19 rates that prompted the province to enact a state of emergency and a stay-at-home order.