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Coronavirus: Okanagan residents react to online petition calling for schools to stay closed

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Okanagan residents react to petition calling for school closures' Coronavirus: Okanagan residents react to petition calling for school closures
An online petition calling for the immediate closures of Canadian schools has garnered over 250,000 signatures – Jan 2, 2021

Schools across Canada are preparing to reopen after the winter break, but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, not everyone thinks they should.

An online petition has been created calling for schools across the country to remain closed.

University students at the University of Waterloo, who started the petition, have been concerned about the level of apathy from policy makers.

They have said health officials are underestimating the risks for students and the general public’s health.

“We, the students at the University of Waterloo have been concerned about the apathy from policy makers who underestimate the fat tailed risk and effect size which is unprecedented,” wrote Ryan Han, the student who started the petition.

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Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have signed the petition.

Read more: Vaccines, schools, and shopping malls: COVID-19 Q&A with Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix

Global News asked Okanagan residents what they thought.

“I’m middle ground, I would say,” said Kourteny Czerski, a Kelowna resident. “I think older kids are less at risk just because they understand how to wear the masks and what they need to be doing.

“However, with the little guys, I would say preschool to Grade 2 are a bit more at risk because they don’t understand the concepts.”

One Okanagan man said he thinks COVID-19 death rates are not enough to shut down schools.

“I think they should reopen because the percentage of people dying from COVID is not enough to be shutting everything down,” said Jonathan Houston.

“I think people should be in school.”

Read more: No plans to delay B.C. students’ return to class, despite new COVID-19 variant

“I think students should go back to school as they have been,” said Ginger Marshall. “They talk about cases, cases doesn’t mean deaths in hospitals.”

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We asked if people here would be willing to sign.

“It depends on how old my kids were, if I had someone in high school, I would trust that they would understand the risks and would follow procedures,” said Czerski.

“It’s all about context, like is your child immunocompromised? I think it should be a choice.”

“No I would not sign that petition; I think everywhere we go is a petri dish,” said Marshall.

Classes are set to reopen on Monday.

Officials have reiterated that students are at minimal risk of contracting COVID-19 in a school environment.

Click to play video: 'Petition calls for B.C. to extend students’ winter break amid COVID-19' Petition calls for B.C. to extend students’ winter break amid COVID-19
Petition calls for B.C. to extend students’ winter break amid COVID-19 – Jan 2, 2021

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