BC group planning "Sick Out" in support of students, teachers, and staff

Nov 27 2020, 5:18 pm

As COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in BC, some parents are now calling on families with school-aged kids to keep their kids at home for one day next week, as part of an effort to “stand up and have our voices heard in support of our children, teachers and all school staff.”

According to organizers, the event – which has been dubbed the BC Student Sick Out – is meant to “show our elected officials that enough is enough.”

COVID-19 “is rampant in our communities and our schools. At minimum, we need classes of 15 children max, more inclusive online learning options without the threat of losing your child’s place in their school, and a mandate for masks in all schools.”

The group adds that “students and teachers are not disposable and deserve the safety standards that every single other place of employment is required by law to implement. There should not be different rules and guidelines.”

To demonstrate this, the group is asking parents to keep their children home from school on December 1.

“If you are unable to have your children stay home that day, please show your support in any way possible. Be vocal, share this on social media, do as much as you can. Use the hash tag #SickOutBC,” the group states. “Our educators deserve a safe work environment. If the government won’t listen to those actually working in the schools, it’s now up to us as parents, guardians, and families to show our support.”

Organizers also note they understand that “schools need to stay open for our essential workers and the vulnerable.”

And with that, “smaller class sizes and better options for distance learning for families that are able to utilize those services would make this a safer experience for everyone.”

On Friday, BC health officials announced a new, one-day record high of 911 COVID-19 cases in the province.

During a press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that broken down by health region, this equates to 153 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 649 in the Fraser Health region, 27 in the Island Health region, 47 in the Interior Health region, and 35 in the Northern Health region.

There have been 11 more deaths in the past 24 hours as well, bringing the provincial death toll to 395.

Currently, 10,430 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

There are 301 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 69 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Henry said that 21,304 individuals who tested positive have now recovered.

And while BC did initially report a record-high 941 cases over a 24-hour period on November 24, those numbers turned out to be inaccurate, due to what Henry said was a technical IT error in Fraser Health’s reporting systems. The update meant that the daily case number for that day was actually 706, meaning today’s number is the new high.

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