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

Online petition started to keep B.C. schools closed until September 2020
B.C. parent Patricia Cullen explains why she started an online petition calling on the government to stall its plans to resume classes on June 1.

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.”

“[It’s] not a choice for the teachers either, unless they have another adult who can be at home with their children, then they have to send their children back to school as well.”
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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.”

READ MORE: B.C. schools to open on optional, part-time basis June 1

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.

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

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario says in-person school year cancelled, daycares remain closed

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.

-with files from Richard Zussman and Jessica Patton