Teachers Refuse To Work At A School In BC Because So Many Students Aren't Wearing A Mask

The school has been forced to close.

Teachers Refuse To Work At A School In BC Because So Many Students Aren't Wearing A Mask
Western Canada Editor

Teachers at a school in B.C. are refusing to work due to a high number of students not wearing masks, according to a local teachers' association.

Armstrong Elementary School in Armstrong, B.C. is closed this week after several teachers raised concerns over the amount of students with a mask exemption.

North Okanagan-Shuswap Teachers Association president Graham Gomme told CBC that staff are worried about the school being an unsafe work environment.

He also told CBC that teachers' concerns are that parents are not required to show any evidence that their child is exempt from wearing a mask, adding: "They don't need to go the doctor, they don't need to do anything...They just say, 'my child has an exemption' and we can't refute that."

Since the school closure on Friday, three staff members have since tested positive for COVID-19. Students are currently learning remotely.

In a letter to parents, district superintendent Donna Kriger said the closure was due to staff shortages.

She said: "I recognize this is a stressful time for students, families and staff. Please know that all possible alternatives were considered prior to making this decision.

"I have every confidence that the staff at Armstrong Elementary will provide a positive learning environment for your child(ren) through this remote setting."

According to the B.C. Ministry of Education's rules, schools are asked to "explore potential strategies to reinforce and enhance other safety measures" when students are exempt from wearing a mask in the classroom.

Daniel Milligan
Western Canada Editor