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

Children wait using physical distancing after getting their pictures taken at picture day at St. Barnabas Catholic School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Update: COVID-19 cases confirmed at more Kelowna schools

Interior Health announced a case has been confirmed at Chute Lake Elementary

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
No public attendance for Kelowna council meetings, public hearings

The new measures come as part of the new provincial order, released on Dec. 3

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster children

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

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

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

Most Read