Poor air quality from the wildfires, combined with current concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) to ask for schools to be cancelled come Monday morning.
The BCTF shared their views on Sunday afternoon via social media, arguing that the lack of ventilation or fresh air was “deeply concerning.”
“The combination of COVID-19 pandemic and extremely poor wildfire air quality is deeply concerning,” the BCTF tweeted. “Teachers and students should not be in crowded classes with no ventilation or fresh air.”
The combination of COVID19 pandemic and extremely poor wildfire air quality is deeply concerning for #bced. Teachers and students should not be in crowded classes with no ventilation or fresh air. #BCpoli, the employers, @CDCofBC and PHO need to provide advice and take action now
— BCTF (@bctf) September 13, 2020
Wildfire smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon have caused much of British Columbia to be blanketed in smoke. Monday marks the seventh consecutive day that an air quality advisory has been in effect.
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When asked about the pending return to classrooms, teachers across British Columbia also said that they were concerned about increased exposure to the virus, the mental health of both themselves and students, as well as school spirit and morale.
However, the Vancouver School Board, among other districts, issued statements saying that all schools would remain open, adding activities such as outdoor physical education would not take place and exterior windows and doors would be closed.