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Dear colleagues,

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCTF has been conducting research to better understand teachers’ experiences and needs. As part of that ongoing effort, we conducted a random sample survey of members from September 22 to October 11, 2021, to construct a general picture of members’ perceptions of health and safety during the fourth wave of the pandemic as well as key information about vaccination rates.

You can read the preliminary report of the 2021 Fall BCTF Health and Safety Membership Survey online.

Here are four key themes from the results:

1. There are ongoing gaps in measures to keep everyone safe in BC schools. The survey found roughly equal amounts of members who feel safe and unsafe.

2. The pandemic has negatively affected teachers’ well-being and mental health.

3. The experience of teaching during a pandemic is exacerbating already acute recruitment and retention challenges.

4. BC teachers are doing their part to keep everyone safe with very high vaccination rates.

The random sample survey was conducted online from September 22 to October 11, 2021, (see Appendix A for a full description of the methodology) and 5,996 active BCTF members were included in the sample. The overall margin of error for the sample is +/- 1.1% 19 times out of 20. This very large sample allows us to generalize these results to the overall member population with a high degree of accuracy and with a very small margin of error. Furthermore, if the survey had been open to all members (a census survey), there would have been substantial self-selection bias. Without mandatory participation to ensure a response rate approaching 100%, an attempted census is less likely to provide statistically representative data for a population (here, the teachers of BC). You can read all about the methodology in the report.

Key findings about health and safety

46% of BCTF members report that they feel safe at work. Nearly the same amount (42%) report not feeling safe at work.

53% of teachers feel that the frequency of cleaning/sanitation in schools is inadequate for helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.

62% of members do not feel that they have received adequate information about the quality of ventilation in schools.

71% of teachers feel that they have not received adequate information about COVID-19 exposures and the number of cases in their school and district.

Key findings about COVID-19 vaccination rates for teachers

Vaccination rates are very high among BC public school teachers–94% of teachers are fully vaccinated.

Only 2% of BCTF members reported that they are not vaccinated. A further 2% did not answer the question and 1% said they are partially vaccinated and intend to get their second dose.

The rate of vaccination for teachers is higher than the general population in every region of the province, including the North and Interior, where teachers are significantly more likely to be vaccinated than the general population.

The survey also found that a potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate in public schools is broadly supported by a significant majority of teachers in BC. Overall, 82% of teachers agreed that all adults working in BC schools should be vaccinated.

Key findings about the pandemic’s impact on teachers

27% of BC teachers report that the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more likely that they will leave teaching within the next two years.

79% of teachers report that their mental health has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BCTF will publish a more detailed final report of the survey in the coming days. We will use the data in our ongoing advocacy and lobbying with the government, health authorities, Public Health Officer, and school districts.

We will also be sharing the results with the media later today and discussing the findings with a panel of experts tonight during a COVID-19 townhall for BCTF members. You can tune in by watching the livestream on YouTube from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. tonight. Watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b49njQPWyOs.

Thank you, as always, for all your incredible work under difficult circumstances.

Teri Mooring

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