Teachers continue to advocate for ventilation improvements and reduced classroom density
THE BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) said on Monday that teachers throughout BC are relieved to learn that the province has strengthened their position on mask-wearing in schools, with students in Grades 4 to 12 now required to wear their masks full-time while at school, and mask-wearing strongly encouraged among younger students in kindergarten to Grade 3.
“Despite some vague wording, we have been assured by the Ministry of Education that today’s announcement equates to a province-wide expansion of the orders that were introduced in Surrey over the weekend,” said BCTF President Teri Mooring. “Our sincere thanks go out to the many teachers and parents who have advocated tirelessly to get this safety measure in place as an added layer of protection for teachers and students.”
Though teachers welcome this enhanced mask mandate, there is still much more that needs to be done to reduce the risk of in-school transmission. In particular, we know there are schools with inadequate ventilation systems. In these cases, classrooms need portable ventilation systems provided by districts. Additionally, hybrid learning options need to be available to school districts to allow for adequate physical distancing, especially where there are high levels of community transmission of the virus.
“Our unwavering advocacy has delivered some of the results we have been seeking, and now it’s time to shift our focus to the remaining health and safety concerns in schools throughout the province,” Mooring said.
The BC Teachers’ Federation encourages teachers and parents to engage their respective MLAs and voice outstanding concerns over inadequate ventilation and an inability to physically distance with current class sizes.