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COVID-19 vaccines for Surrey teachers, school staff start Wednesday

Last Updated Mar 24, 2021 at 9:00 pm PDT

FILE - Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force draws a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Winnipeg, Friday, March 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Vaccine clinics for Surrey teachers, staff begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, superintendent says

Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been requested by Surrey school district

Surrey's district, which is the largest in B.C., has seen the highest number of school-based exposures in the province

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Thousands of Surrey school teachers and staff are eligible for priority vaccines starting on Wednesday.

Clinics begin at 3 p.m., according to Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney, who says the district has identified at least 8,925 people who are eligible for the shot.

“But that’s school-based staff, so we gave them a bigger number — which was more like 10,400, which included the broader number of things like TTOCs and spare board EAs,” he explained.

Tinney says 400-450 shots are expected to be administered each day between Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

“And then we’ll ramp up to a thousand and 1,500 in the days past that,” he added.

CUPE 728 President Tammy Murphy says it’s a relief that support staff are being prioritized alongside teachers.

“We are actually really happy that some of the school-based K-12 support staff in Surrey Schools will be receiving vaccines. We’re hoping as more become available that the rest of support staff will receive vaccines,” she says

By next Thursday, all Surrey school staff vaccines should be completed.

On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed Surrey is a priority are for vaccines because it’s a pandemic hot spot.

Surrey’s school district, which is the largest in B.C., has seen the highest number of school-based exposures in the province.

Henry has said other districts will be vaccinated on a priority basis.

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While vaccines are a step, Tinney notes there’s still work going on to bring in mandatory masks to elementary classrooms.

“I mean, obviously, we’re extremely grateful for the vaccination, but vaccines aren’t going to solve everything tomorrow,” he told NEWS 1130.

Currently, all teachers and staff from K-12, and all middle and secondary students are required to wear masks while indoors. They are allowed to take them off when they are at their workstations or desks, or if they are eating or drinking.

This mandate, however, doesn’t apply to younger students, for whom mask wearing remains optional.

-with files from Liza Yuzda