The Surrey Teachers’ Association is calling on Surrey MLAs and school trustees to commit to improved safety in schools in COVID-19 hotspots.
Happening this afternoon,(April 30), the STA is running a ‘Car Caravan,’ and plans to drive by the offices of Surrey MLAs, Jinny Sims, Harry Bains, Rachna Singh, Garry Begg, Bruce Ralston and Jagrup Brar.
“We want all Surrey MLAs and all School Trustees to take our concerns seriously. We urge the district to act soon to increase the safety of staff and students in hotspot zones,” said STA president Matt Westphal in a release prior to the event.
— Lauren Collins (@laurenpcollins1) April 30, 2021
Given that five of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 hotspots fall within the Surrey school district, Westphal said the association is again asking for improved health and safety measures in schools.
According to the STA, there have been 217 exposure letters sent to schools in the East Newton hotspot. In addition, eight classes beginning isolation this week, fall within four of the five Surrey hotspots.
Westphal noted it’s “impossible to maintain physical distancing in overcrowded schools,” which is a “core concern” when several schools are over-capacity.
The STA is calling for the immediate implementation of reduced class sizes, with the provision of more remote learning options; a mask mandate for kindergarten to Grade 3 students; and improved ventilation in classrooms and other workspaces.
“Teachers tell me that every day students share concerns about taking the virus home to their families,” said Westphal. “Some students call their parents to pick them up early from school because they’re afraid of getting infected in overcrowded classrooms where their peers are not wearing masks. Many of our students live in multi-generational families and are well aware of how the virus has struck down older people.”