Local teachers welcome the increased provincial focus on safety for teachers, students and all school staff, according to Powell River and District Teachers’ Association.
As of October 4, all children, from kindergarten to Grade 12, must wear masks in school, including at their desks and on buses.
“Masks are one barrier to infection,” said teachers’ association president Izi Loveluck. “However, there is still more progress that needs to be made.”
Loveluck said the province needs to step up and provide school districts with increased funding for additional cleaning of schools.
“Teachers are doing their part; I watched a teacher sanitizing every computer and desk in her classroom during her lunch break, and she does this after each class,” said Loveluck. “Teachers are monitoring students and following handwashing protocols, as well as gently reminding students how to wear their masks.
“The district has made sure that ventilation systems have the correct filters, has put some daytime cleaning in place, and is willing to put more cleaning in place, but there is only so much money. With increased infections of the COVID-19 Delta variant being reported provincially, more funding needs to be put in place.”
Loveluck said teachers are also coming to school every day to teach qathet region students knowing that not all are vaccinated, and knowing they themselves are at higher risk of being infected because not everyone in the community aged 12 and older is fully vaccinated.
“Teachers are worried,” said Loveluck. “They are worried about becoming ill themselves, even though the reported cases here are still low, and they are really worried about their students becoming ill.”
Loveluck said local teachers urge members of the community to get their vaccinations so the children who are not yet eligible, and for those 12 and older unable to be vaccinated, have a bubble of protection at school and throughout the community.
“The idiom: It takes a village to raise a child, is so true today,” said Loveluck. “Many thanks to those who have already done their part to support our community; teachers appreciate your willingness to be vaccinated, thank you.
“Perhaps Powell River could earn another Guinness world record: the community with the highest vaccination rate.”