Teachers at school in Surrey, B.C., ask for more COVID-19 safety measures

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SURREY, B.C. — Teachers marched today outside an elementary school in Surrey, B.C., where a confirmed case of a COVID-19 variant has been reported to demand more safety measures.

Members of the Surrey Teachers Association dressed in red and also marched with their colleagues outside Woodward Hill Elementary in a physically distanced protest before classes began.

Matt Westphal, the president of the Surrey Teachers Association, says the biggest concern is that students in elementary schools are not required to wear masks inside their classrooms.

Earlier this month, the province changed safety protocols to require students in middle and secondary school, along with staff working in kindergarten through Grade 12, to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas of their schools, including while in their learning groups.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said Monday there are no plans to make any changes to provincial guidelines on masks in schools.

Seven schools in the Fraser Health region reported cases involving a COVID-19 variant of concern, with all of them linked to the strain first detected in the United Kingdom.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press