Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)

‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

A mass “sick out” of public school students set for Tuesday, Dec. 1 is being organized by a group of Langley-area moms concerned about masking and class sizes.

“We are hoping as many [parents] as possible keep their children home that day,” said Miranda Tracy, a Langley woman and one of the main organizers of the Sick Out BC event.

The parents are hoping to put pressure on the provincial government to make changes in schools as COVID numbers have hit new highs and exposure incidents in school districts become daily occurrences.

The protest was suggested by Tracy as part of an online discussion she and other parents were having as they checked COVID-19 numbers related to schools.

Having suggested the idea of a “sick out,” the support prompted her to organize.

The protest is being organized through a BC Student Sick Out Facebook page, which already has more than 1,400 members. The bulk of those who have said they will participate are in Langley and Surrey.

In the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of controversy around rules for students in B.C. schools.

As of last week, masks are now required in every business and space open to the public, but they are still not required in schools.

The BC Teachers Federation has asked parents to help create a “culture of mask wearing” to increase protection in classrooms, and has been calling for smaller class sizes and more at-home learning options.

READ MORE: BCTF asks parents to ‘create a culture of mask wearing’ as schools excluded from new rules

Tracy said she knows that many parents won’t be able to keep their kids at home, as they have to work and have few other childcare options in a pandemic.

But she is hoping to force at least some schools to hit the mark of 10 per cent absences of students in one day. That causes an automatic reporting to local school districts.

She’s also hoping the sick out can convince the province and districts not to end their partial distance learning options, which are set to expire over the winter.

“I did send my kids back in September,” Tracy said. “However, I feel very differently about that now.”

CoronavirusEducationLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VICTORIA, CANADA - MARCH 25: BC Ambulance Services stock photography session March 25, 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick Images)
Paramedics responding to increased volume of overdose calls

Data released by BC Emergency Health Services shows a rising provincial trend of overdose responses

Recipients of last year’s Winter Games Legacy Grant funds. Bulletin file.
City of Kimberley accepting applications for Winter Games Legacy grants

Grants are available for amateur sports organizations

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. Bulletin file
No need for travel bans: Kimberley Mayor

While there has been plenty of chatter lately about the possibility of… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Most Read