Black Press Media Files

Black Press Media Files

BC Teacher’s Federation asks for vaccine prioritization

‘Hopefully more vaccines are approved and the immunization strategy will be adjusted and accelerated’

Not all are happy with Premier Horgan and Dr. Henry’s vaccine roll-out plan for B.C.,

While the plan will see approximately 7.4 million doses of vaccine administered to every British Columbian who is eligible to receive it between April and the end of September, the four-phase Immunization Plan starts by first immunizing those who are most vulnerable to severe illness and death.

Teachers and educators are not listed, presumably falling under the latter portion of the front-line worker phase – Phase 3.

Teri Mooring, president of the BC Teacher’s Federation, said in a Friday statement that our collective duty during the COVID-19 pandemic must always be about keeping people safe and saving lives.

“BC teachers, like many others, will be disappointed to see there is no prioritization for the frontline workers who have kept our schools, public services, and economy open,” Mooring went on to say, acknowledging that the vaccine supply limit is beyond our control and those among us who are most vulnerable of death and serious illness must be vaccinated first.

“Hopefully more vaccines are approved and this immunization strategy will be appropriately adjusted and accelerated,” she said.

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Langley Teacher’s Association president Tanya Kerr said Langley teachers echo Mooring’s statement wholeheartedly. “Many teachers who have experienced COVID exposures in their classroom credit their own consistent mask wearing as the reason why they themselves have not fallen ill,” Kerr noted. “As teachers with limited or no physical distancing in the classroom masks are the one layer of protection we have access to and we are in favour of a stronger mask mandate for everyone.”

Kerr said a positive for Langley is that the ventilation systems were upgraded in the summer and fall with MERV 13 filters, while many districts are still waiting for the upgrades.

“There is no denying that teachers are stressed, anxious, and even afraid. We do not have the layers of protection in our schools that exist in other environments,” Mooring’s statement read. “If teachers are not prioritized for a vaccine, this government must take immediate action to improve safety measures in our schools. We must have a mandatory mask mandate, we must have better physical distancing measures, and we must have ventilation upgrades for our classrooms.”

Mooring called on the government and school districts to do more to make classrooms safe.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@aldergrovestar.com

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