New WorkSafeBC data shows a
250% increase in occupational COVID-19 infection claims in the education
services sector since early December, intensifying BC teachers’ calls for
enhanced safety protocols in schools.
BC teachers are at a
significantly greater risk of occupational COVID-19 infection compared with
many other workers in the province, second only to the health care services
sector in the total number of occupational COVID-19 infection claims.
Provincial Health Officer continues to tell us that rates of COVID-19
transmission in schools is low, but the data is telling a different story,”
said Teri Mooring, BCTF President. “Like other frontline workers, teachers are
going above and beyond every single day. However, they don’t have the same
protections as many other workers.”
Workers in public school
districts have the third highest number of compensation claims, only behind
workers in long-term care and acute care settings. The number of claims by
public school district workers exceeds those of health care workers in other
settings, including emergency health care.
“Our teachers are incredibly
concerned, and rightly so. We need the province to step it up and strengthen
health and safety measures in our schools, including expanding the current mask
mandates. There is a lot more government, health officials, and school
districts can do to improve protections for teachers. It’s time for them to
act,” said Mooring.
82% of teachers’ claims for
occupational COVID-19 infection have been accepted by WorkSafeBC, compared to
70% of COVID-19 claims by all workers in BC. This high percentage of claim
acceptance suggests teachers working in a classroom environment experience a
significantly greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 compared to other workers.
The BCTF’s WorkSafeBC
Advocacy Office is advising all teachers working in a classroom environment
where there is a significant risk of exposure to COVID-19 to work with their
local union to file a claim with WorkSafeBC should they be diagnosed with the
Click here to download a backgrounder on BC
Teachers and COVID-19 infection claims.