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Surrey elementary school teachers walk in solidarity as concern around COVID-19 variants grows

Click to play video: 'Staff at James Ardiel Elementary in Surrey hold ‘walk-in’ Friday morning' Staff at James Ardiel Elementary in Surrey hold ‘walk-in’ Friday morning
Staff at a Surrey elementary school, where five classes are currently self-isolating due to a COVID-19 variant, held a walk-in Friday, in solidarity and to call for mandatory masks. Julia MacRae from the Surrey Teachers' Association told Global News everyone is really nervous about the situtation – Feb 26, 2021

School teachers and staff at a Surrey school held a solidarity walk Friday morning as they deal with a COVID-19 variant of concern in their school.

Staff at James Ardiel Elementary held a walk before classes started, calling for masks to be mandated in elementary schools, even inside classrooms.

Five cohorts at the school are now isolating due to the virus exposure.

“That’s got to make everyone feel nervous, depressed, so they want to express their spirit as teachers and come together outside the school and go in together at the same moment,” Julia MacRae, first vice-president of the Surrey Teachers’ Association, told Global News Friday.

Click to play video: 'Surrey teachers rally for schools affected by exposures' Surrey teachers rally for schools affected by exposures
Surrey teachers rally for schools affected by exposures – Feb 23, 2021

MacRae said current health guidelines indicate kindergarten to Grade 4 students do not have to wear masks in schools and she said they don’t understand how that can be the case when schools want to take every precaution possible against COVID-19.

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“If you don’t want to mandate masks throughout the whole province, at least mandate it in schools like this when we’re dealing with the spread of the variant,” she added.

Read more: COVID-19 variant detected at multiple Metro Vancouver schools

On Sunday, the Surrey School District reported that multiple schools have confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K.

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Health officials have also confirmed a case at a school in Delta.

Click to play video: 'B.C. education minister holds update after U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Fraser Valley schools' B.C. education minister holds update after U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Fraser Valley schools
B.C. education minister holds update after U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Fraser Valley schools – Feb 22, 2021

recent modelling report from the Public Health Agency of Canada suggested if COVID-19 variants of concern were to take hold in B.C., existing public health measures wouldn’t be enough to keep transmission low.

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