Students in B.C. are set to return to school on Monday, but some are calling for the return date to be pushed back out of continued concern over COVID-19.
An online petition to extend the winter break by two weeks has been circulating online since Dec. 28, garnering more than 2,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon (Dec. 31).
The petition, addressed to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix, cites a “massive uptick” of cases in the past month.
According to B.C.’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been roughly 17,600 cases reported in the province in December. However, there has been some noticeable diminishment in daily case totals over the course of this month, with 829 on Dec. 1 as the high point compared to 358 on Dec. 28.
On Wednesday Henry and Dix made an unexpected ban on liquor sales after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, expiring at 9 a.m. on Jan. 1. Prior to the announcement, the cutoff for sales in restaurants was 10 p.m.
Earlier this month the head of the B.C. teachers’ union said they weren’t consulted about the decision to keep students in schools until the traditional winter break, rather than extend it as some other provinces have.
For signee Sarina Prasad, an extension of the winter break is a much-needed preventative measure.
“Two weeks may actually make a difference in bringing down the curve. What have we got to lose,” she said.
Henry and Dix have said earlier this month they weren’t planning to extend the break.
— with files from Katya Slepian