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White Rock dad files lawsuit demanding changes to B.C.'s back-to-school plan

Last Updated Aug 27, 2020 at 6:30 am PDT

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Summary

A lawsuit challenging B.C.'s back-to-school plan has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court

A White Rock dad says he wants to see more done to protect kids from COVID-19

B.C. provided details on its updated back-to-school plan on Wednesday, following a federal funding announcement

WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) – A dad from White Rock says he has followed through with his threat to file a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court, trying to get the province to abandon its “safe return” plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes as parents began poring over their districts’ back-to-school protocols, posted on Wednesday.

Bernard Trest is one of two people behind the lawsuit. He says, bluntly, kids won’t be safe if they go back to school.

“The big issue that we have is that parents, teachers, even the official opposition party, the BCTF, we’ve been pleading with the government and asking them to introduce common sense safety measures that would help keep our children, and everyone in B.C., our entire community, safe,” Trest tells NEWS 1130.

“They have not followed through.”

His comments come after B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming announced some changes, following the announcement of millions of dollars in federal funding.

Read B.C.’s back-to-school plan:

K-12 Restart Technical Briefing August 26 2020

That doesn’t go far enough, though, according to Trest.

“This has to be a provincially-mandated initiative,” he says. “Masks are still an issue, they should have masks in the classroom, and cohort sizes are excessive. We know it’s going to lead to infections, hospitalizations, and death. We know children aren’t safe.”

Trest says it’s up to the provincial government to ensure children are safe and are provided with a safe environment to learn in. However, he says after seeing a lack of action on B.C.’s part, there was no other option than to take legal action.

“In hoping that the courts will intervene, step in, and protect our children,” he says.

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Each school district has already submitted its back-to-school plans to the province.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did announce a more than $240-million boost in funding on Wednesday to help B.C. with its back-to-school plan. That money comes from a $2-billion fund that’s being distributed nationally to provinces and territories, based on population size, to help them safely reopen schools.

However, Trest believes it shouldn’t have fallen on the federal government to come in with the additional funding — he believes it should have been the province who stepped up.

Fleming said on Wednesday that there will be more classes outside so students and staff can continue to follow COVID-19 physical distancing protocols.

All of B.C.’s school districts have plans in place to ensure masks are being worn by staff and middle and secondary students in busy areas, like hallways and on school buses.

Students and teachers must complete daily assessments to make sure they aren’t showing up to school sick.