BC teachers' union asks for class sizes to be lowered to 15 as COVID-19 cases rise

Nov 14 2020, 12:48 pm

The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation is asking Premier John Horgan to lower class sizes to 15 students as COVID-19 cases surge.

In a letter posted to Twitter, BCTF president Teri Mooring urged Horgan “in the strongest possible terms” to instruct the Ministry of Education to reduce class sizes in Fraser Health Region public schools.

Virus cases have been rising across BC in recent days, with Fraser Health consistently seeing the highest numbers in the province.

“With class sizes as they are now, teachers find it is virtually impossible to maintain physical distancing in classrooms,” Mooring wrote. “Now is the time to invest in the small classes that will help keep our students safe.”

Along with the letter, BCTF also tweeted a photo of teachers in Surrey demonstrating “what an actual class looks like.”

In the photo, teachers are seated two-per-desk, far closer to one another than public health guidelines call for.

In her letter, Mooring noted that some school districts have already limited class sizes to 15 in order to create safer spaces amid the ongoing pandemic.

She said that a motion regarding the smaller classes was passed last weekend by the BCTF’s Representative Assembly, a body of 300 elected teachers. The BCTF represents 45,000 public school teachers across the province, serving 550,000 British Columbian students.

“This is a position strongly held by all BC teachers,” Mooring wrote.

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