Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a new provincial order Thursday that allows WorkSafeBC to shut down workplaces for 10 days or more when there is confirmed transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) by at least three people on site.
But not all workplaces are included in the order--and many British Columbians feel the province has missed an important one.
For many months, numerous parents, teachers, and doctors have called for a moratorium on in-class learning in schools in the wake of surging COVID-19 cases, particularly in Surrey Schools.
Nevertheless, yesterday's sweeping provincial order excludes schools and several other workplaces. However, many of the other workplaces cannot be entirely shut down as they provide essential services that cannot be administered from homes, such as health care, first responders and transportation.
The provincial health order also states: "Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options."
B.C. workplaces: Common sources of transmission
In the province's daily briefing on April 8, Henry said that workplaces, particularly in the Lower Mainland, are one of the most common areas where transmission is occurring, and it spans many sectors.
Transmission is occurring both in the workplace itself and during social interactions between workers who bring the virus into the workplace, she said.
In larger workplaces, a closure might be limited to one area or team where transmission has occurred, Henry said.
Parents from across the province have weighed in on the announcement, with many of them stating that schools should be included in the order.
In Surrey, the number of exposure warnings in schools continues to climb. At the time of this writing, there are 54 exposures listed under Surrey school district #36.
Last month, Vancouver Coastal Health issued an exposure warning for an entire elementary school in Vancouver.
Have a look at what some British Columbians have to say about the province's decision to exclude schools from the order.
If this included schools it would make sense.— Jo-Anne (@Jo10030676) April 9, 2021
This is ridiculous rules how about the school our school received six notice and more than 200 students how come still keep the school open.— lilian weiwei (@dengyan365) April 9, 2021
I go to “work” everyday in a “place” - a school. But this is not a “workplace” - can you please explain this?— Sherri (@turboteacher) April 10, 2021
This should apply to schools too.— Chloaye Flanagan (@ChloayeF) April 9, 2021
Ah yes, because closing all rensturants and denying work to people but keeping schools with 2000 kids in them open. Great idea John Horgan.— fuck you (@thisaintituknow) April 10, 2021
Vancouver students will now be able to access COVID-19 tests at school
BC Children's Hospital and the Vancouver School District are working together to give students easy, quick access to COVID-19 testing this spring.
Starting this month, schools in the Vancouver School District will be able to provide any students who develop symptoms of the virus while at school with a BC Children's Hospital mouth rinse and gargle sample collection kit to take home.
Parents are still asked to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 before students attend school each day. If students do have any symptoms, they should remain at home and access testing at a collection centre, if advised.
-With files from Roxanne Egan-Elliott and Megan Lalonde.