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Powell River teachers concerned about becoming ill with COVID-19

Disappointment expressed over vaccination strategy
Powell River teachers
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BC’s teachers are disappointed there is no vaccine prioritization for the frontline workers who have kept schools, public services and the economy open, according to Teri Mooring, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.

Mooring, in a media release, stated there had been hope in prior announcements that such prioritization would be possible.

“However, 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,” stated Mooring. “Hopefully, more vaccines are approved and this immunization strategy will be appropriately adjusted and accelerated.”

Powell River and District Teachers’ Association president Izi Loveluck told the Peak teachers are somewhat disappointed in the vaccine rollout plan, but they understand the need to protect the most vulnerable elders.

As part of the strategy moving forward, Loveluck said as teachers have been consistently requesting, they would like to see masks mandated.

“I am hopeful that this will now be brought forward, especially since we know teachers cannot maintain adequate distancing in classrooms,” said Loveluck. “Additionally, Powell River teachers are very anxious about the protocols around contact tracing and school notification, and need government to understand their anxiety about asymptotic students being allowed to attend school when one of their family members has been diagnosed with COVID-19.”

Loveluck said teachers here are very concerned about becoming ill.

“We want schools to remain open and students to receive the best possible education,” she said. “In Powell River, we only have a finite number of teachers teaching on call, and many are our retired teachers. If classroom, support, or distributed learning teachers become ill, we may not have enough certified teachers to provide the quality education Powell River children deserve.”

Mooring stated 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,” stated Mooring. “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.

“Schools need the same safety measures as every single other workplace. This government and school districts must do more.”