Surrey teachers demonstrate what classrooms look like in their school district amid the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020. (BCTF)

Surrey teachers demonstrate what classrooms look like in their school district amid the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020. (BCTF)

B.C. teachers’ union calls on Horgan to limit Fraser Health class sizes to 15 students

Three schools have temporarily shut down in Fraser Health due to COVID-19 outbreaks

The B.C. teachers’ union is calling on the province to limit class sizes in Fraser Health to 15 students as cases in the region continue to surge.

In an open letter posted online on Saturday (Nov. 14), B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring said that the “alarming surge in cases is of deep concern” to teachers, staff and parents.

Fraser Health, which spans from Delta to Hope, has had the highest rates and case counts of COVID-19. Out of the record-breaking 617 new cases in B.C. Friday, 424 were in Fraser Health. Overall, the health authority has had 12,814 cases reported to date, more than double that of Vancouver Coastal Health with 6,237 cases. Currently, the Fraser Health region has more than 4,073 active cases, more than double the rest of the health authorities in B.C. combined. The region has also seen 45 per cent of B.C. 290 COVID-19 deaths.

READ MORE: B.C.’s COVID-19 wave continues with 617 new cases

In her letter, Mooring noted that some school districts, like Vancouver, have already reduced class sizes to 15 students to allow for physical distancing.

“With class sizes as they are now, teachers find it is virtually impossible to maintain physical distancing in classrooms,” Mooring said.

Her letter comes as three schools shut down for two-week closures following COVID-19 outbreaks and clusters. All the schools are located in Fraser Health: Cambridge Elementary in Surrey with seven cases, Jarvis Traditional Elementary School in North Delta with six cases and Al-Hidayah School in New Westminster with eight cases. Aside from the temporarily closed schools, there are more than 70 other exposure events currently listed for Fraser Health schools. Neighbouring Vancouver Coastal Health has 29 total school exposures listed.

The BCTF also shared a photo of Surrey teachers demonstrating what a classrooms look like in their schools currently.

Physical distancing is not possible, poor ventilation. COVID19 will only spread further in environments like this. Reduce class sizes now,” the union stated.

READ MORE: COVID outbreak forces Surrey school to close for two weeks, along with one in Delta


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusEducationSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Many members of the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club (pictured) have teamed up with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society to host a free ski in celebration of World Water Day. (Patrick Davies photo - Black Press Media)
Conservation society, cross country ski club, celebrate World Water Day with free ski March 6

The free ski will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6 at Bull Mountain

International Women’s Day is March 8. (Internationalwomensday.com)
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read