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

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

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

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read