Students haven’t been back at school very long since Spring Break wrapped up in British Columbia a week ago, but the return has been rocky.
Over the past several days, Island Health has put warnings out for eight school exposures, including five in Greater Victoria.
The variants are spreading at a fast rate throughout many communities, and some parents are taking matters into their own hands, choosing to take their children out of the classroom.
“I don’t think it surprising, we had four families pull their kids last week to wait and see,” said kindergarten teacher Carolyn Howe, who is also the first vice president of the Greater Victoria Teacher’s Association (GTVA).
Jesse Alberto is one of the parents in Victoria who has taken her child out of school for the time being.
“It was a big decision that me and husband talked about, so for the time being we just need to keep our family close and safe,” said Alberto, who decided to keep her eight-year-old son Leandro home when Spring Break ended.
She’s an insulin-dependent diabetic and says it’s too risky for her and her family.
“I’m so close to getting my vaccine that I didn’t want to chance anything and the health of my children,” said the mom.
While numerous families seem to be following suit, some families are saying keeping their kids in school makes the most sense.
“All of my kids are staying in school. I think teachers are doing a great job, safety protocols seem to be working,” said Tara Deleeuw, a mom of four. “I think it provides normalcy in this different time, and I think it will be okay.”
But in other parts of the country, going to school isn’t even an option.
In Ontario, health officials made the tough decision to close schools in all of the Peel Region, which includes Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga, until April 18.
The GVTA says those steps may have to be taken here.
“Particularly in certain hard-hit areas, it could start to make sense to move to a hybrid model where we have can smaller class sizes or in some cases shutting down school going to a full lockdown,” said Howe.
And while the GVTA will continue to push for smaller class sizes and better ventilation in schools, PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry says schools continue to be a safe space, with strict safety measures in place.