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

Violin Lake last fall. Photo: City of Trail
City of Trail applies for grant to decomission dams

Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation grant to restore Cambridge Creek and Violin Lk system

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Chris Kobelka
Trail Smoke Eaters recruit top prospects

Trail Smoke Eaters building for future in 17-year-old defencemen Joel Barton and Chris Kobelka

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee says he was fired because of race

Former employee Imraan Goondiwala alleges ‘white surpremacy’ in the make-up of BC Ferries’ workforce

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

Most Read