With students in B.C. set to return to class on Monday, thousands of people have signed an online petition requesting an extra two week break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Change.org petition cites the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the province and the new strain of the virus that was first discovered in the U.K. now making its way to B.C.
“We need to figure out a new plan for our schools to be sure that it is safe for students to return,” the petition states. “We ask that Dr. Bonnie Henry extend the winter break for all B.C. students and make a new plan on how to safely return to school.”
While it’s unclear who started the petition last Monday, the person says they’re a high school student in the province. As of Saturday evening, more than 20,000 people had signed the online petition.
One Castanet reader said he plans to keep his children home from school for one to two weeks extra regardless of what the B.C. government does.
“As there has been reduced testing over the holiday season, plus inevitable illicit socializing, we could go a long way toward keeping our teachers, school staff, students and communities safe by taking this prudent precaution,” he said.
“With this new and more virulent strain circulating, I would hope that our province does everything possible to avoid our health care system becoming overwhelmed as we are seeing occur in several provinces and states.”
Another Castanet reader expressed concerns about sending their children back to school as the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests rises to all-time highs in the Interior.