As BA.2 looms, parent group urges B.C. to reinstate mask mandate in schools


There may not be a mask mandate in B.C. anymore but that hasn’t stopped many from keeping them on when they head indoors.

B.C. dropped the mandate and other health restrictions just as the Omicron subvariant BA.2 is starting to push up case counts in some other regions of the world. Modelling here shows BA.2 now accounts for about half of all new cases.

“We’re going to go into a second Omicron wave that’s dominated by BA.2, how high that wave gets, we don’t expect it to get quite as high, but how high it gets depends what everyone does,” said Sally Otto, a researcher with the BC COVID-19 Modelling Group.

READ MORE: Eight COVID deaths over the weekend in B.C.; 506 new cases

One thing that could prevent a subsequent jump in hospitalizations Otto says is a fourth dose for those at highest risk since their booster dose is likely starting to wane.

“Hopefully there will be a push to vaccinate especially people in long-term care homes, then expand to anyone who is vulnerable to a severe case.”

And she says another tool that could keep numbers down is continued masking. One group is now pushing to keep it a requirement in schools when students return from spring break.

“We pushed hard to see it instigated in schools so to see it dropped so quickly and right when people are going to be travelling for spring break then coming back with no masks it’s very concerning,” said Kyenta Martins with the Safe Schools Coalition B.C.

“We have some students, we have some families, we have some staff who are more prone to getting sicker from COVID so we show that duty of care by wearing a mask.”

Martins says masks should remain a requirement in the K to 12 school system until ventilation can be improved in all schools across the province.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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