The Surrey school district classrooms using physical distancing in September 2020. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

The Surrey school district classrooms using physical distancing in September 2020. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Parent group plans school walkout over B.C.’s handling of COVID-19 in classrooms

Right to Fight COVID-19 group calling on parents to keep kids home on Oct. 20

Despite continued reassurance by B.C.’s top doctor that parents shouldn’t be too concerned over COVID-19 exposures in classrooms, at least one group of parents has had enough – and is asking fellow parents to join an upcoming walkout.

Organized by the Right to Fight COVID-19 group, parents are being asked to keep their children out of school on Oct. 20.

“This will be the first of hopefully many collaborative efforts by not just our group, but many groups, province wide, to stage a protest by exercising our right to decide when and IF our children attend school,” a post by the organization on a Facebook event reads.

The growing chorus of concerned parents comes as B.C. enters into its second month of return-to-school. Since September, there have been roughly 100 exposures connected to schools in all corners of the province.

Some of the concerns that have been raised by parents include the way information is shared when a confirmed case is linked to a school.

When an exposure is identified, the school district works with the regional health authority and contact tracers to share specifics on a need-to-know basis, while the exposure is also then posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

But many parents want more details, claiming the lack of transparency only causes more worry.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has couched those concerns in the past several weeks, even as B.C. recorded its first case of MIS-C, which was first identified in April as being linked to COVID-19, and similar to Kawasaki disease can cause inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body.

During a news conference Thursday, Henry said the syndrome can be serious but is rare and noted that COVID-19 cases in children remains relatively low.

Right to Fight COVID-19 is also calling for mandated mask-wearing in schools, better ventilation in classrooms and smaller class sizes than the current cohort system.

“We want transparency. We want uniform and sustainable remote learning options. We want the right to make sure our children have access to safe and uniform public education. Including children with diverse needs,” the group said on Facebook. “Our children and teachers aren’t expendable, or a science experiment.”

The union representing teachers in B.C. has also been vocal with its concerns for staff on the front lines of exposures.

READ MORE: School teacher tests positive for COVID-19 as B.C. sees two new deaths, 20 cases

“Empty seats will tell our teachers we are with them,” Right to Fight COVID-19 said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: Town of Smithers lifts alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised town water is now safe to use

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read