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Our collective duty during the COVID-19 pandemic must always be about keeping people safe and saving lives. Making sure our elders are not put at risk or die because of COVID-19 needs to be our top priority. 

BC teachers, like many others, will be disappointed to see there is no prioritization for the frontline workers who have kept our schools, public services, and economy open. 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. Hopefully more vaccines are approved and this immunization strategy will be appropriately adjusted and accelerated. 

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. 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. 

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For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF Communications and Campaigns Director, at rovergaard@bctf.ca.

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