A large majority of parents/guardians and students report feeling protected in school from getting COVID-19 because of the health and safety precautions that were being taken at their school, while a large majority of students feel they are supported by teachers, that teachers care about them and that they are getting extra help from teachers when needed. These are among the findings of a TDSB survey of parents/guardians, students and staff that was presented to today’s special meeting of the Toronto District School Board’s Planning and Priorities Committee. Despite these positive results, the survey also found that a large majority of staff and students reported feeling very stressed and are struggling with their mental health and well-being.
Key Survey Findings:
Students and Parents/Guardians
- Before the Winter Break, 89% of parents (felt their child) and 81% of students felt protected from getting COVID-19 because of the health and safety precautions that were being taken at their school (e.g., health screening, masks, hand washing, physical distancing).
- 70% of families report coping moderately well to extremely well.
- 8 out of 10 students are: finding ways to connect with friends and/or classmates, feeling supported by their friends and/or classmates and feeling they belong at their school or their virtual space.
- 9 out of 10 students: feel somewhat or very supported by their teachers, feel their teachers care about them, receive extra help from their teachers when they ask them.
- 84% of students said they learn better in-person compared to virtual learning.
- Students reported that they are struggling with their mental health:
- 40% (approximately 12,800) of students feel lonely (all the time or often).
- 40% of students feel happy, and hopeful for the future (all the time or often).
- 50% of students are nervous or worried (all the time or often).
- 60% of students are bored and under a lot of stress (all the time or often).
- 20% of staff reported feeling safe at work from contracting COVID-19.
- 30% of staff were satisfied with the COVID-19 related procedures in place to control health and safety hazards as well as the rationale and communication processes behind these protocols
- Staff report felling stressed:
- 7 out of 10 staff have felt burnt out and anxious as a result of their jobs.
- 5 out of 10 staff specified that they are coping well (moderately to extremely well).
- Many respondents expressed that problems at work have kept them up at night, and that they have little energy left at the end of the day.
- Less than 3 out of 10 staff members noted that they can predict the amount of work to do on any given day.
TDSB staff continue to review the results and will require additional time to complete that review and determine where and how additional supports can be provided to parents/guardians, students and staff.
- In December, all TDSB staff were invited to participate in three different surveys focused on Mental Health and Well-being, System Operations, and Health and Safety
- In January, all parents and students from Gr 6-12 were invited to provide their perspectives about their mental health and well-being, relationships, and student learning experiences.
- The survey was completed by approximately 96,000 elementary and secondary school parents/guardians, approximately 6,000 staff and approximately 36,000 students (Grades 6 to 12).
- For complete survey results, please view the presentation provided to the TDSB’s Planning and Priorities Committee.
“Our parents, students and staff are doing the very best they can under these unprecedented circumstances, however it is clear that some are struggling. While we must continue to support our students and their families, we need to do more to help support our staff who are key to supporting our school communities.”
- Alexander Brown, Chair, TDSB
“These survey results speak to the adaptability and resilience of our students and families and are a result of the incredible work and commitment of our staff. In the face of ongoing obstacles and challenges posed by the pandemic, many parents and students feel schools are safe and supportive spaces for learning. This extraordinary feat has placed significant demands on all of our staff in the Toronto District School Board. Our Board remains committed to supporting student and staff mental health and well-being in the months ahead.”
- Karen Falconer, Interim Director, TDSB