(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

BC Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring would like to see the government grant school boards more power when going beyond the current COVID-19 restrictions.

This comes after six schools in Surrey, and one in Delta, reported COVID-19 outbreaks over the weekend involving the B 1-1-7 variant, first discovered in the
U-K.

Mooring told Vista Radio the province seems to be behind the eight-ball yet again.

“This is already an environment where teachers are completely dissatisfied with the health and safety measures that are in place in schools right now. So the fact that we are playing catchup with the variant has really heightened the concerns in a substantial way.”

“Some of the schools where variant has been detected are elementary schools where staff have to wear masks but students don’t have to at all. There’s no physical distancing in elementary schools and there is no hybrid model in place to promote physical distancing.”

Mooring is also of the opinion other forms of testing need to be implemented.

“The variant we are talking about is more highly transmissible so we think that government ought to be looking at school districts looking at rapid testing to not only test for the variant but for asymptomatic carriers of the virus as well.”

The BCTF President feels a regional approach needs to be adopted.

“What might be necessary for Surrey, may not be necessary for Prince George or Smithers there ought to be a regional approach but now what we are also saying is some school districts where there ought to be some flexibility that school districts have to increase the safety measures in place.”

“Every part of the province needs to be concerned. But, we still have to have a measured approach and we still have to go on facts.”