"Unacceptable": BC teachers concerned with COVID-19 transparency

Oct 25 2021, 10:34 pm

BC teachers and students have been on a rollercoaster ride when it comes to COVID-19, and now a group representing teachers is raising some red flags.

A statement signed by BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) president Teri Mooring has been made public, and it details inconsistencies in BC’s pandemic response.

The statement comes on the heels of an internal survey, where 71% of BCTF members suggested they weren’t receiving adequate information about COVID-19 exposures.

Concerns primarily pertain to those working and learning in the K-12 education sector.

Calling them “significant inconsistencies,” the BCTF has highlighted a few key areas where the government has failed teachers.

Concerns include “a lack of timeliness of contact tracing and notification, and shifting policies for exposure notification and contact tracing.”

“It’s unacceptable that, over a year-and-a-half into this pandemic, there is still no province-wide consistency in how exposures and clusters in schools are defined and reported,” said Mooring in a statement.

One of the key concerns has to do with when a potential exposure event is posted. The BCTF feels the details around these events are too ambiguous and vague, and make families feel uninformed. 

“Parents and teachers look to their school district and local health authority for information about what’s happening in their schools, and it has become very clear that the information provided and the communication to school communities is not painting an accurate picture. Trust in the system has been broken.”

The BCTF has put out a list of demands to the government, which include the following:

  • Standardizing the definitions of exposure, cluster, and outbreak across the province
  • Taking steps to address delays in contact tracing, particularly in Northern Health
  • Addressing transparency and consistency concerns but making all exposure notices available to school communities

They also want more resources allocated to the Provincial Health Office to increase the speed of exposure notifications.

There is also currently no vaccine mandate for staff at BC schools.

The province has a chance to respond tomorrow, during it’s weekly COVID-19 press conference.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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