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B.C. teachers waiting for COVID-19 vaccine, renew calls for safety measures

Last Updated Dec 19, 2020 at 10:25 am PST

VANCOUVER (CityNews) — Teachers are high on the list for getting the COVID-19 vaccine but the B.C. Teachers Federation suggests they should be given higher priority.

It’s a sentiment not being echoed by all educators.

This week, health care workers in the province started to line-up to receive COVID-19 vaccines, but teachers and educators will have to wait since they are considered a second priority group – meaning they’re part of the second phase of vaccinations, which is set in spring 2021.

The BCTF’s Teri Mooring explains to CityNews while they are not healthcare professionals, teachers are still frontline workers and “there is a lot of spread especially in certain communities.”

“It’s the light at the end of a very long tunnel. We know it’ll still be a long time before folks who aren’t on the very front lines to get immunizations. It’s really heartening to see those immunizations going into the arms of individuals, especially health care workers who have sacrificed so much during this time,” she adds.

Julia Macrae the president of Surrey Teachers’ Association says while she believes teachers’ are not safe from COVID-19, their spot on the vaccine priority list makes sense.

“Health care workers who work with COVID patients and people who work in long term care should be first in line — absolutely that makes sense. Generally, I’d say grouping up together with other frontline workers such as grocery store workers, fire, police — that makes total sense to me.

RELATED: Surrey teachers express COVID grievances, call for policy changes in classrooms

Earlier this week, the Surrey Teachers’ Association wrote a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry explaining school hazards and calling for a mandated mask policy and smaller class sizes.

And while waiting for the vaccine, the BCTF is also renewing calls for more preventative measures in schools.

In an email to CityNews, the Ministry of Education says it remains committed to working with education partners as well as public health officials on a continuous review of school guidelines.