School starts back up for BC students tomorrow (Monday), and BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) President Teri Mooring is asking for the province’s help.
“Teachers have really been struggling in classrooms in terms of enforcing the mask mandate and they’re really needing some support.”
Mooring said that not enough people seem to realize that masks are mandatory at schools, and she would like to see an education campaign letting people know that it’s not just a recommendation anymore.
“There isn’t an area of the province where there aren’t issues around the mask mandate. It’s more acute quite honestly in the Interior and places in Northern BC.”
“When masks in schools went from being a recommendation to an order, there just wasn’t enough, perhaps information or education provided around that,” said Mooring.
She added that it took the BCTF over six months of advocating to get a mask mandate for schools.
Another education campaign that Mooring is calling for is on vaccines for kids.
“What we are seeing right now is the vaccination levels of 12-17 year olds are actually pretty good. It’s lower in Northern and Interior Health, but it’s actually pretty good.”
“It is really not the case for the 5-11 year olds. The Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health have the highest vaccination rates amongst 5-11 year olds, and that’s only around 50%,” said Mooring.
She noted that most of the teachers who have gotten sick from COVID-19, over 75%, were elementary school teachers.
Three layer masks are being supplied at schools, but Mooring said she would like to see N95s instead.
“Without these measures, and without prioritizing teachers for booster shots we’re going to see a lot of functional closures in January, and we’re concerned a lot of those closures will be elementary schools.”