[This story originally appeared on The North Coast Review, a blog based in Prince Rupert that contains “items of interest to those living on the North Coast of BC.”]
The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation is taking to social media to call for enhanced school safety measures on COVID with the 2021-22 school year just a few weeks away.
“We are hearing from more concerned families than ever before in this pandemic. They’re worried that their children who are too young to be vaccinated might be going back to school without enough protections in place. Things are most definitely not normal right now, so we can’t carry on as if they were,” said Teri Mooring, president of the labour organization.
The renewed call for COVID precautions in BC schools comes as the fourth wave of COVID in the province surges, with a growing number of new cases recorded daily.
There are five key measures that the BCTF wants to see in place at all schools when classes resume on September 7th.
1. School-based clinics to allow easy access to vaccinations for eligible students.
2. Funding for ventilation system upgrades to meet the minimum standards of MERV 13 filters, and HEPA filters in workspaces where MERV 13 filters are not possible.
3. N95 and/or medical-grade masks available for all students and staff upon request.
4. Comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy that includes asymptomatic testing.
5. Designated time for health and safety training at all schools and worksites.
As part of their approach towards getting the Ministry of Education to consider their calls for action, the BCTF launched an online petition on Change.org, which you can view here.
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is expected to outline how the province plans to address COVID issues in the schools prior to the start of school in September, though no date has been announced.