More COVID-19 cases are being reported in schools province-wide, and that’s sparked a response from the BC Teachers Federation.
President Teri Mooring sent a letter to Premier John Horgan asking to reduce the number of students in the Fraser Health region, which is recording some of the highest daily COVID-19 counts.
“On behalf of B.C’s 45,000 school teachers and 550,000 students we serve, I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to instruct the Ministry of Education to respond swiftly to the dramatic rise of cases of COVID-19 in the Fraser Health region by reducing class sizes to no more than 15 students,” explained Mooring.
She says many teachers don’t feel like they can safely teach their students, and the reduction in class sizes would change that.
“With class sizes the way they are now, teachers find it virtually impossible to maintain physical distancing in classrooms. Some school districts such as Vancouver have already reduced their class sizes to 15 students to enforce safe spaces, a limit that ought to be immediately implemented in all school districts in the Fraser Health region.”
Our newsroom reached out to the Ministry of Education and in an emailed statement they said the health and safety of students and staff is their highest priority.
“We know there are growing concerns about COVID cases in our province, especially in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.”
“We continue to consult the Provincial Health Officer and local health authorities on the best approach going forward and any changes would be under the direction of public health. And we hope that the collective efforts of new regional public health orders will flatten the curve for the benefit of students, staff, schools and communities throughout the Lower Mainland.”
While Vancouver Island hasn’t recorded as many COVID-19 cases compared to the Lower Mainland, they are still being recorded in schools.
Since last week, four different schools in Nanaimo have recorded possible positive cases. The city’s Nanaimo United soccer club, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League shut down some of their games as a precaution.
While it doesn’t seem like reduced class sizes will be coming to all school districts in B.C, it’s something the BC Teachers Federation is encouraging the province to consider moving forward.
The full letter can be seen below.