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

Just Posted

The new building will house the Chmaber of Commerce and the Visitor Centre. Image: Cover Architectural Collaborative Inc.
Kootenay Rockies tourism grant to help build Castlegar visitor centre

The Castlegar Chamber of Commerce received a $200,000 grant towards the new building

X
Trail RCMP issue BOLO for Solo

Solo was last spotted in Warfield, but has also been seen around the Tadanac area.

Claire Cartwright. Photo: Jennifer Small
Castlegar Aquanauts splash back into the pool

Castlegar’s swim team is going strong

Map: BCWildfire Service
UPDATE: Human-caused wildfire burning near Castlegar

The McCormick Creek fire started Sunday

Castlegar's Emergency Operation Centre is located in the Fire Hall.
Castlegar fire chief praises Boston Pizza staff after responding to fire call at the restaurant

The fire department was called to Boston Pizza on Saturday night

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

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

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read