Growing calls for N95 respirator masks and face shields for all B.C. teachers and PPE available for all students – to get schools reopened safely

Link to release: https://redforbced.ca/growing-calls-for-n95-respirator-masks-and-face-shields/


Over 1,000 signers in 4 days. Next goal: 5,000 signers.

With over 43,000 teachers in B.C., grassroots organizers are spreading the word to as many teachers as possible – to show support for reopening B.C. schools safely.


For immediate release
June 7, 2020
Tom Kertes (778-884-5343 or tomkertes@gmail.com)

Media Page

(British Columbia) Teachers launched a grassroots petition, in the first week back to in-person school, that calls on the B.C. government to protect students and educators so that schools can be safely reopened. Over 1,000 teachers and their supporters have already signed the petition, launched just four days ago, that calls for the government to:

  • Provide teachers and other educators with N95 Respirator Masks
  • Provide teachers and other educators with Face Shields
  • Provide PPE as an option for all students in all B.C. schools  

The petition, launched on June 4, 2020 and hosted on Change.org, received support from families of B.C. students, teachers, and other educators who want to reopen schools safely for students and educators across B.C. Petition organizers have set the next goal for over 5,000 signers – to send a strong message on behalf of teachers and families: B.C. wants schools to be reopened safely.

The hope is this will message will help the government to be better prepared for the next stage of a safe reopening, which is likely to occur with back-to-school in September. Safely reopening on the regular first day of school will ensure that a quality education for all B.C. students is back in place.

Links to the petition can be found at https://RedForBCED.ca, a blog on professional issues and public education. Teachers are reaching out using social media to families and other professionals to get the word out about the petition.

“As professionals, teachers have an ethical duty to protect their students,” said petition organizer and teacher Tom Kertes. “Even if students don’t spread as much of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 as adults can spread, teachers should be provided N95 respirator masks and face shields to limit the spread from adults to children and teens in schools, and to limit the spread between teachers and other educators in schools.”

As essential workers, teachers provide students with the essential service of education and schools also provide a safe place for children to be while parents or guardians are at work. As schools reopen, density will increase, with teachers and other educators working in close proximity to other people, of all ages, for extended periods of time. Many classrooms, especially in older schools, lack ventilation, access to outside air, and central air.

“Teachers are proud to be essential workers and want to see schools reopen safely,” said Kertes. “We know that in-person schooling works best for the vast majority of students. That’s why teachers want to  see protections put in place, including N95 respirator masks and face shields for teachers and other educators.”

Teachers must work closely with students and other adults to do their jobs. Physical distancing is not possible in many educational contexts, such as with young students and students with complex learning needs. 

Given the nature of the job, N95 respirator masks and face shields are essential to protect the health and safety of teachers, which in turn helps protect students and will help B.C. reopen schools for all students safely in September.

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