Earlier today, the federal
government announced that BC would receive more than $242 million to help
restart schools in a safe way this September. BCTF President Teri Mooring
applauded Premier John Horgan’s efforts to help get that much-needed funding
from the government. However, she is concerned that the BC Ministry of
Education went ahead with today’s announcement on the restart plan without
working with partners on how to use that new funding to ensure the K–12 restart
is as safe and effective as it can be.
“As teachers, we all want to
welcome our students to class and get back to in-person teaching,” said
Mooring. “We all want to get back to a place where every student is in school
learning, socializing, and celebrating those ‘a-ha’ moments. It’s why we teach.
The pandemic, however, has changed everything and it’s not going away. We need
to do things differently and that starts with making sure staff and students
can actually achieve physical distancing in our schools and classrooms. Under
the government’s current plan, that physical distancing just isn’t possible.”
Mooring explained that
today’s announcement on remote learning options is an important part of the
overall strategy to have a successful school year. Students with health
concerns, families living in multigenerational homes, and students who go home
to an immune-compromised caregiver all need options that keep them and their loved
ones safe. The BCTF, since the government first mentioned learning groups, has
said more needs to be done on the preventative side—not just the contact
“We need to do all we can to
keep teachers, support staff, students, and families safe,” said Mooring. “That’s
why I was hoping the government wouldn’t rush another announcement out the door,
but take the time to improve the restart plan. I know the federal government’s
funding announcement was unexpected, but we should see it as a huge opportunity
to work together and get things right. The train has not left the station,
school has not started. There is more than enough time to use the new $242
million in federal funding to improve the safety of our schools and
In a campaign
launched five days ago by the BCTF, parents and teachers have been emailing BC MLAs to
ask for their help to improve the back-to-school plan. Since it started, more
than 18,000 emails have been sent to MLAs. In that campaign to MLAs, the BCTF
is calling for the following:
class sizes and reduced school density to allow for physical distancing.
mask regulations for when physical distancing isn’t possible.
for remote learning for students who need it.
to improve cleaning and ventilation.