From time to time, parents from around British Columbia contact Safe Schools Coalition BC to express their concerns regarding the direction the BC government, and its public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is going. This is one of those letters, written to us today from an anonymous parent situated in Victoria, BC.
As a mother of two elementary aged students, thank you for representing us in protecting our children.
As discussions continue this week, with our elementary-aged children still not able to be fully vaccinated yet and with the peak of cases in the community settings, we know that there is no way children can come together safely in the capacity of a classroom setting. We need to address ventilation in classrooms, strictly enforced mask policy, ensuring children are not allowed at school with illness or symptoms, spaced out seating arrangements and the availability for parents to opt for online learning if they are able to do this with their children. This would help reduce classroom capacity for those that need to send their children for essential or learning reasons.
Please encourage the government to allow an online option for those able, until the peak of this wave has passed and the community cases have steadied. I do not feel comfortable as a parent sending my child to school, knowing it would not be an acceptable place for myself to participate in as a fully vaccinated adult. Public health guidance has made it abundantly clear that this would not be a safe environment for the general public. A school-like setting would not be acceptable for any workplace or gathering right now, so how are we to accept that it is not applicable to our children? The virus has changed and unfortunately it now affects children more than we saw previously and it also allows them to bring it home to their family members. We need options to allow those who can stay home for this peak period with their children, to do so, to protect families and to allow those who need to send their children to be able to do so at reduced capacity.
Please ask the government to provide online options such as posting classroom work, as you would when a student is absent, until we see improvement in the community settings.
This letter has been reproduced with slight edits for clarity. If you are a concerned parent, teacher, or community member and would like to make your voice heard, we are happy to pass the microphone. Please email your approximately 500-word opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.