School trustees 'could take a stand,' introduce stronger COVID-19 rules: B.C. teachers' union president
VANCOUVER -- As concerns about COVID-19 variants spreading in local schools increase, the president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation says trustees need to step up and implement stricter rules if the province won't.
In an interview with CTV Morning Live Wednesday, Teri Mooring said teachers are "deeply dissatisfied" with current safety regulations in schools.
"We don't think the mask policy goes far enough, we don't see enough evidence of districts attempting to ensure that physical distancing is possible in classrooms," she said.
"It's really hard to understand why government and the provincial health office aren't responding to the situation appropriately in terms of allowing districts at least to increase the health and safety measures that currently exist, especially in schools where we're seeing evidence of the variant."
Mooring says the current problem is that districts and schools can't overstep the guidelines put in place by the provincial health officer.
"Schools aren't able to exceed the health and safety guidelines," she said. "What we're asking for is the right for individual school districts to … impose superior safety precautions if necessary."
According to Mooring, elected officials on school boards might have more power.
"We certainly think that school trustees could take a stand here and make the decision to increase the health and safety measures at the school level," she said.
Mooring said the Vancouver School Board is one example where trustees have voted to introduce its own structure for in-class learning. In that city, some high school students have had fewer in-class hours than other local districts, which has led to some frustration from parents.
In cases like that, Mooring said school boards need to listen to input from parents when making decisions.
"A school board needs to work with a community around what this should look like," she said. "Obviously parent concerns need to be taken seriously."
Teri Mooring's comments were part of an interview on CTV Morning Live. Watch the full interview in the video player above.