Once again, kids in Burnaby come last. I write to express my dismay about how Burnaby parents and their school-age children have been let down by the B.C. Ministry of Education.
During the summer, parents and school staff alike waited and waited for the ministry plans to allow for children to return. Yes, we were given choices in the “Return to School Plan” but for those of us who chose back to in-person school, our children have been placed at a much-greater risk because it turns out they are in small classrooms with large numbers of students and less than a metre of physical distance after day one.
I have one teen in a class of 30 elbow to elbow and one elementary in a class of 27 with only three wearing masks.
The ministry needs to hire more teachers and reduce our class sizes. What mixed messaging from university students are online, offices have staggered workdays to accommodate everyone, adults who work with public are all behind Plexiglass, but our children are elbow to elbow in small classrooms without masks?
Our job as adults is to protect children.
Everything we do has risks, especially now. Yet every little bit extra we do to keep our children further apart brings down their risk and the risk for their teachers.
I am no longer trustful of the Ministry of Education or our Ministry of Health, who let all these schools and districts tick their health and safety plan boxes when, in reality, our children are being put at far greater risk than they need be.
If they provided all schools with more teachers, were clearer about mask wearing and if schools were allowed to be more creative with school and community spaces, in-person schooling would be safer and better for all children.
We need kids back in schools safely, but we need proper funding and proper spaces. That is going to take all levels of government and planning to be better. Please contact your school trustees and your MLAs and ask them to make the kids in Burnaby a priority.
Louise Hazemi, Burnaby