Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A movement started by a group of Langley parents for a “sick out” was gained steam and publicity this week as some parents kept their kids home in protest of COVID-19 rules in schools.

Miranda Tracy, Tara Kurtz, and a small group of other parents came up with the idea and started a Facebook group to promote Tuesday, Dec. 1 for a BC Student Sick Out.

By keeping kids home for a day and calling them in sick, they aimed to pressure the education system and provincial government to put in more stringent mask rules, smaller class sizes, and more hybrid or at-home learning options.

Between the last week of November and the sick out event on Tuesday, the membership of the Sick Out Facebook group more than doubled, from about 1,400 people to 2,900 people.

As parents chimed in online to say they had pulled their kids from school, organizer Kurtz was urging parents to join an emailing campaign to their local MLAs to keep up the pressure.

“The government has not been listening to those who work in schools, but today they are going to hear from us that what they are doing is not acceptable,” Kurtz wrote.

READ MORE: Sick Out aims to pressure schools over masks, class sizes

The group has received media attention from radio, TV, and newspapers including coverage online at the Langley Advance Times.

Politicians have also weighed in.

“We are now at the point where parents are feeling compelled to pull their children from the classroom to try to get the government’s attention,” BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau said Tuesday. “The BCTF has repeatedly called for changes to classrooms and schools to address concerns raised by teachers, staff, students, and parents.”

Furstenau called for more operating funding grants to give school districts more flexibility to provide online and hybrid programs and more mental health supports.

A major labour organization wrote an open letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry supporting the sick out movement.

“While we understand the critical need for children to be in school in spite of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, it needs to be done safely and with the same strict standards that are in place for all other workplaces,” said the letter, signed by BC Building Trades president Al Phillips.

CoronavirusEducationFraser HealthLangleySurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, charged in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is to return to court Feb. 2, 2021. (Canadian Press/File photo)
Pre-trial conference set for accused in 2017 South Surrey killing

Brandon Nathan Teixeira set to return to Vancouver court Feb. 2

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read