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BCTF President Teri Mooring welcomed today’s provincial announcement that key priorities for the federal government’s $242 million fund to support BC schools would be hiring additional teachers and staff, as well as ensuring remote learning options are available in every school district.  

“Meaningful and easy to access remote learning options will help reduce class sizes and school density,” said Mooring. “Making sure there is space in classrooms and common areas in schools to allow everyone to abide by physical distancing best practices will help keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone in BC has heard that physical distancing is the most important measure to protect ourselves and others. So, let’s get to work making the changes we need now to use this funding to make working and learning conditions safer.  

Mooring explained that an earlier announcement of $45.6 million by the province to pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and enhanced cleaning was previously described by the Minister of Education as sufficient to meet the needs of school districts. As such, Mooring said the focus now for school districts must be using the federal funding to reduce class sizes and school density to ensure physical distancing is possible.” 

“All the leaders in the BC school system need to be able to say they did everything possible to ensure all of the people in our schools—children, youth, teachers, and support staff—are as safe and protected as they can be. Doing everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools means making sure the most effective layers of protection are used. I am urging every school district to start working immediately to reduce density in our schools and classrooms.” 

“Our local unions across the province will be advocating to ensure that federal funding is used in every community to maximize effective prevention measures like smaller classes and reduced density that includes equitable access to remote learning no matter where a student lives. The province has now passed this responsibility down to school districts and we will be working flat out to hold them accountable for worker and student safety.” 

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at rovergaard@bctf.ca.

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