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

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Oliver Town Hall (Town of Oliver Facebook).
Call for local artists to design centennial logo for Oliver

The Town of Oliver will be celebrating 100 years in 2021

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through ice on Vaseux Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

“My grandma always just said…making people smile is the most important thing,” says Nicholas Kruger. (Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Entrepreneur Nicholas Kruger nominated as Okanagan community changemaker

With humour and knowledge, Nicholas Kruger says it’s important to give back

Geoff Orr began building his dream home in the hills above Penticton over 14 years ago. The architect used recycled lumber from the old Super-Vale grocery store. (Floating Orb Productions / YouTube)
WATCH: Penticton man shows off dream home made from recycled lumber

A lot of the lumber used was taken from the demolished Super-Valu grocery store

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

Most Read