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

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages, shown in a handout photo, due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Food Inspection Agency Mandatory Credit
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Customers are advised to throw away or return the product

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read