Court tosses challenge of school restart in B.C.
Dr. Bonnie Henry's words are pictured on the bulletin board in the hallway of B.C. school on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has dismissed an application by two parents who wanted the province to implement tougher COVID-19 safety measures before schools reopened last month.
Justice Jasvinder Basran says in an oral decision posted online on Wednesday he is satisfied that the advice of public health officials in B.C. is based on the best available scientific knowledge.
He says evidence shows the officials considered the use of masks in schools, while the creation of learning groups of up to 60 or 120 students was also based on “sound scientific advice” balanced with the need to provide children with an education.
The application filed in late August on behalf of Bernard Trest of White Rock and Gary Shuster of Vancouver, both fathers of school-age kids, named the ministers of health and education as respondents.
They sought an injunction restraining the ministries from moving into the current phase of the province's school restart plan without a mandatory mask policy in classrooms and an order compelling physical distancing among students in the same learning group in classroom settings.
Basran ruled the public interest is best served by continuing to rely on COVID-19 guidance issued by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the health minister.