Coronavirus: B.C. parents sign petition to keep schools closed til September

A Vancouver mother has started a petition urging the province to keep schools closed until September under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patricia Cullen, who has a daughter in elementary school, told Global News she believes it’s too early to go back and that young children are unable to maintain proper hygiene without help.

She said many parents are likely feeling forced to send their kids back, despite the province announcing last week that in-class instruction would resume, starting June 1, on a part-time, optional basis.

“Some people may feel pressure from their employers now that schools are open, so they have to go back to work part-time as well,” Cullen said. “So that choice may not be entirely there.”

As of late morning on Tuesday, more than 800 people had signed the online petition to keep schools closed to most children, aside from those whose parents are essential workers, and avoid “the shortest route to our second wave.”

Premier John Horgan said last Friday the decision to fully reopen schools was made with science in mind, and will ensure the safety of teachers, staff and students.

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The goal is to return to full-time in-person classes in September.

On Tuesday, the Ontario government announced that in-class instruction will not restart before the end of the school year, and that online learning will continue.

Premier Doug Ford said the safety of children is a priority and opening the schools would not be feasible while the pandemic drags on.

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