BCTF launches petition urging for stronger COVID-19 measures in schools

Aug 20 2021, 5:10 pm

The union that represents 45,000 public school teachers in British Columbia has launched a petition, urging the government to implement stronger health and safety measures when classes return in September.

The BC Teachers’ Federation started the petition on Thursday. At the time of writing, it already has over 5,200 signatures. The petition stresses that it’s not just teachers asking for these upgraded measures — parents are involved as well.

“Things are most definitely not normal right now, so we can’t carry on as if they were,” the BCTF writes. “Our schools still need masks, ventilation, space for distancing, and cleaning.”

The union adds that they’ve been hearing from “more concerned families than ever before.” Particularly those with children that are going back to school but are too young to be vaccinated. Children must be above the age of 12 in order to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning that any students under the age of 11 won’t be getting immunized anytime soon.

“Given what we know about the highly contagious Delta variant, we need to err on the side of caution and return to schools with everyone wearing masks,” the petition reads. “Vaccinations are integral to safer schools, but can’t be our only line of defence.”

In addition to mandatory masks, the BCTF is calling for school-based clinics that would allow access to immunizations for any age-eligible students. The petition also calls for N95 or medical-grade masks available for students and staff upon request.

Other measures being asked by the Federation include funding for ventilation system upgrades and a comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy that includes asymptomatic testing.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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