A mask mandate was put into effect for students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 as of Oct. 4. (NNSL file photo)

A mask mandate was put into effect for students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 as of Oct. 4. (NNSL file photo)

LETTER: Mandate teacher vaccinations

Concerned mother and teacher says this should be the first step

Dear Dr. Bonnie Henry:

I am writing to you as a concerned teacher, mother and citizen of British Columbia. I appreciate all you have done to keep the people of B.C. safe; however, I believe there is still more that we can do to get us to the end of this pandemic, or at least to a return to normalcy.

With British Columbia’s announcement last week that we are now mandating the wearing of masks for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, it highlights the question of why we have not mandated teachers be vaccinated.

If we are asking five year olds to be responsible for the safety of themselves and others, then it can only follow that we will require the same responsibility of the adults teaching them — those people who in fact should be responsible for the safety of the students.

Any teacher who has not made the decision to be vaccinated against COVID-19, will not do so unless it is mandated by the government. Unfortunately, these people have made a selfish choice and fail to see their responsibility to their students and the community at large.

As a teacher, I saw first-hand the response of students when they were told last Friday that they would be required to wear masks.

Students literally burst into tears and their stress and anxiety were evident. This step can and will negatively impact some of these children’s mental health and their ability to learn in the classroom, while also having a minimal impact on the outcome of the pandemic.

If we are willing to inflict this anxiety and impediment to learning on small children, then we also need to be mandating that the teachers in the room with them are vaccinated. These are adults who can be held accountable for their actions and it is only fair to ask them to do everything in their power to protect the small children in their classrooms.

Furthermore, if we are not mandating vaccinations for teachers, then we should at least be holding them responsible and accountable for their actions by making them financially responsible for their Rapid COVID Point-of-Care Tests.

It is not fair to charge the people of British Columbia and put this responsibility on them — hold the people making these decisions accountable.

A Concerned Mother and Teacher