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Opinion: This school did what Dr. Bonnie Henry won’t (but should) do

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry should go back to school. What school? Why the University of British Columbia, that’s where.
Bonnie Henry
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry should go back to school.

What school? Why the University of British Columbia, that’s where. Health Minister Adrian Dix should drop by as well to learn a few lessons in protecting immunocompromised people.

UBC is doing what Henry refuses to do by saying it will keep its mask mandate for indoor spaces until the end of June as experts anticipate the province will enter – or is in the middle of - the sixth wave of the pandemic.

The university says in a statement there are signs of further Omicron variants and increased case numbers. It says masks provide an added layer of protection, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

The university says it will monitor the situation and adjust protocols if needed.

Well, that’s some common sense right there. Too bad our health officials won’t the same by keeping the mask mandate in place. Oh, Henry encourages people to wear a mask, but lifting the mandate obliterates that message.

Simon Fraser University says on its website that it encourages mask use on campuses and particularly in spaces where people are close together.

That’s also disappointing. Many students agree. Back in January, students on the Burnaby SFU campus walked out to protest a return to in-person classes, also demanding that the mask mandate be kept in place.

"The student walkout is a decentralized action of students, faculty and staff in solidarity," a media statement reads. "Students across the country stand firmly in solidarity with all immunocompromised, disabled, neurodivergent, and COVID-19 anxious students and workers who reject the irresponsible and reckless eugenicist and ableist policy makers within university and government.

"It is those policy makers who are OK with them dying due to COVID-19 in defense of ‘going back to normal’ regardless of deaths and long term effects of COVID-19. We stand in solidarity with all students, staff and faculty, and will continue to do so until their demands have been fully met. Our academic institutions are complicit in this violation of students’, faculty, and staff’s rights to a safe learning environment and workplace." 

Strong words, but they are needed right now because our politicians and health officials are giving off the vibe that somehow the pandemic is over and only “mild” when it’s anything but.

I have a friend who is in good health and active and they got knocked on their ass by COVID-19 during the past week, including brain fog.

That is not mild. Neither is my anger at those in charge.

  • With files from the Canadian Press.

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