VICTORIA (September 1, 2021) – As students prepare to return to classrooms next week, the BC Liberals are calling on John Horgan and the NDP to respond to worried parents and teachers who have unanswered questions about B.C.’s back-to-school plan.
“This should be an exciting time for students and their families, but it’s turned into an anxious time because the NDP’s back-to-school plan fails to give them the assurances they need as our province averages 685 new COVID-19 cases a day,” said MLA Shirley Bond, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition. “We continue to support the important work of public health officials and believe that parents deserve to have the same data on classroom exposures to assess their own family’s risk – as well as specific data on what work, if any, the government has done to improve ventilation in classrooms to combat the spread of the more infectious Delta variant.”
Unlike last year, students and parents won’t automatically receive exposure notices. And when questioned about the progress of ventilation upgrades in schools, Horgan’s Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside provided only vague answers that rely on provincial averages because, troublingly, the NDP has no centralized information regarding the ventilation systems and requirements in B.C. schools. Families have also been criticizing the NDP for the lack of remote and hybrid learning options to accommodate immune-compromised children or in the event of an outbreak at a school.
“Even with the added protection of vaccines there will still be COVID cases in B.C. schools, especially if no improvements have been made to ventilation in classrooms across the province. John Horgan needs to let the public know exactly what has been done at each school throughout the province to ensure children’s safety going forward. It’s overdue for the government to show their work,” added MLA Jackie Tegart, BC Liberal Education Critic. “British Columbians are asking for the resources, information, and assurances they need to have a safe and successful school year. With the first day of classes just around the corner, it’s time for the NDP to give parents, teachers, and students the answers they deserve.”