The Surrey Teachers’ Association’s ‘Car Caravan,’ aims to call on Surrey MLAs and school trustees to commit to improved safety in schools in COVID-19 hotspots. Being held today (April 30), the caravan plans to drive by the offices of Surrey MLAs, Jinny Sims, Harry Bains, Rachna Singh, Garry Begg, Bruce Ralston and Jagrup Brar. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

The Surrey Teachers’ Association’s ‘Car Caravan,’ aims to call on Surrey MLAs and school trustees to commit to improved safety in schools in COVID-19 hotspots. Being held today (April 30), the caravan plans to drive by the offices of Surrey MLAs, Jinny Sims, Harry Bains, Rachna Singh, Garry Begg, Bruce Ralston and Jagrup Brar. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Pandemic

Surrey teachers hold ‘Car Caravan’ to push MLAs for action in COVID-19 hotspots

STA driving past offices of local politicians Friday afternoon

The Surrey Teachers’ Association is calling on Surrey MLAs and school trustees to commit to improved safety in schools in COVID-19 hotspots.

Happening this afternoon,(April 30), the STA is running a ‘Car Caravan,’ and plans to drive by the offices of Surrey MLAs, Jinny Sims, Harry Bains, Rachna Singh, Garry Begg, Bruce Ralston and Jagrup Brar.

“We want all Surrey MLAs and all School Trustees to take our concerns seriously. We urge the district to act soon to increase the safety of staff and students in hotspot zones,” said STA president Matt Westphal in a release prior to the event.

READ ALSO: ‘Solidarity march’ by teachers, staff at Surrey school hit by COVID-19 variants, Feb. 23, 2021

Given that five of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 hotspots fall within the Surrey school district, Westphal said the association is again asking for improved health and safety measures in schools.

According to the STA, there have been 217 exposure letters sent to schools in the East Newton hotspot. In addition, eight classes beginning isolation this week, fall within four of the five Surrey hotspots.

Westphal noted it’s “impossible to maintain physical distancing in overcrowded schools,” which is a “core concern” when several schools are over-capacity.

The STA is calling for the immediate implementation of reduced class sizes, with the provision of more remote learning options; a mask mandate for kindergarten to Grade 3 students; and improved ventilation in classrooms and other workspaces.

READ ALSO: Masks required ‘at all times’ indoors for grades 4-12 at Surrey school district, March 27, 2021

“Teachers tell me that every day students share concerns about taking the virus home to their families,” said Westphal. “Some students call their parents to pick them up early from school because they’re afraid of getting infected in overcrowded classrooms where their peers are not wearing masks. Many of our students live in multi-generational families and are well aware of how the virus has struck down older people.”

READ ALSO: Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19, Nov. 28, 2020

READ ALSO: ‘We are not safe,’ Surrey Teachers’ Association says in letter to Dr. Henry, Dec. 15, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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