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Central Okanagan School District condemns anti-mask messaging after protest

Protesters gathered outside of the SD23 Board of Education office on Wednesday morning
Pictured are Kevin Kaardal, superintendent and CEO for SD23, and Moyra Baxter, chairperson for SD23 Board of Education. (Capital News file)

The Central Okanagan School District (SD23) is condemning the message of protesters who took to their offices on Wednesday morning.

Several people gathered at the school district’s Kelowna offices, touting anti-vaccine and anti-mask rhetoric and taking issue with recent public health orders that expanded mask mandates in schools to include children between kindergarten and Grade 3.

SD23 superintendent and CEO Kevin Kaardal said SD23 does not condone the protesters’ message.

“We cannot condone a protest against any safety measure. Safety for our staff and students will remain our priority,” he said in the statement.

“The hard-working people who facilitate safe and healthy learning in schools are not deterred by this attempt to disrupt their work, and we commend the diligence of both staff and students who will continue to help keep each other safe.”

SD23 confirmed that staff, teachers and students will continue to follow the requirement, along with other safety measures to protect against other communicable diseases in schools.

“Our staff work every day to create a safe and equitable learning and working environment for all our students and each other. They do not deserve to be treated disrespectfully,” said school board chair Moyra Baxter.

The protest at the school district office comes after the province’s announcement that masks are now mandatory for all students from kindergarten all the way to Grade 12.

The new mandate went into effect on Monday, Oct. 4.

READ MORE: Masks mandatory for all K-12 students in B.C. schools as of today

READ MORE: Tracker says B.C. schools recording COVID-19 exposures at 10 times last year’s rate


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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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