School starts soon. I know; I can’t believe summer is over either. What isn’t over, though, is the pandemic.
Even though we’re all tired of it, the numbers aren’t looking good! On August 31st last year, there was one reported case of COVID-19 on VanIsle. On August 31st of this year, there were 66.
BC teachers are worried that kids are going to start getting sick once they come back to class. But, according to the BC COVID-19 Dashboard, we’re on the downslope after the second-worst wave of COVID-19 VanIsle has ever seen.
And that wave happened because of the Delta variant. Delta is way more contagious than the original COVID-19, and it’s pretty much the only one spreading on the Island now.
So even though things might be okay now, it wouldn’t take much to send us into another wave. And kids could be a big part of that wave.
Most teachers have been vaccinated, but most of the students haven’t been. Kids under 12 might not get the vaccine until late 2021 or early 2022.
Teri Mooring is the President of the BC Teachers Federation. According to My Prince George Now, she is hopeful about the timeline. “That is great, and it can’t come soon enough, that is for sure.”
But she is also cautious. The Province is asking parents to do daily health checks on their kids and keep them home when they’re sick. But that might not be enough to keep kids protected until they get the jab.
“In the meantime, because the majority of children in schools are not eligible for vaccination, we need to make sure that all the other measures are in place.”
To help keep kids safe, the BC Teachers Federation calls for five things that will help keep kids safe.
- School-based clinics to allow easy access to vaccinations for eligible students.
- Funding for ventilation system upgrades to meet the minimum standards of MERV 13 filters, and HEPA filters in workspaces where MERV 13 filters are not possible.
- N95 and/or medical-grade masks available for all students and staff upon request.
- Comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy that includes asymptomatic testing.
- Designated time for health and safety training at all schools and worksites.
The Teachers Federation has also started a petition on Change.org to get regular folks to help push their request. So far, more than 11,000 people have signed it.