Teachers and staff in the Surrey School District will be among the first to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine once more doses arrive in the province.
Surrey School District Supt. Jordan Tinney has sent an email to all staff notifying them the district has been given the approval to work with Fraser Health to provide the COVID-19 immunizations to staff based at K-to-12 schools.
“We are in the process of working with Health to prioritize and to determine how to schedule and communicate this process which will begin to unfold in the coming days,” Tinney said.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday Surrey continues to be the hardest-hit community in the province.
“It’s such a relief to learn that educators and school staff in Surrey will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the coming days. As we know, Surrey has been a hot spot for COVID-19 transmission in both community and school settings,” BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring said.
“We’re glad to see government now prioritizing Surrey teachers as they begin rolling out vaccines for front-line workers. We also need to see a full mask mandate and ventilation upgrades in place so workers, students, and families are all protected.”
Last week the province approved more than 320,000 workers across the province to have access to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The province is expected to receive more than 100,000 doses over the next few weeks.
One of the challenges health officials are facing is to determine who to prioritize among the priority groups. The Surrey Teachers Associations and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation have made the pitch school staff in Surrey should be at the front of the line because of the rates of COVID transmission in the community.
Tinney said the district will be providing information to school staff both on the website and through email.
There are currently 42 schools in the Surrey School District with COVID-19 exposure notices. The province has not provided any details on when the vaccines will arrive, when the shots will take place or whether the district will be immunizing staff directly at schools.
“There will be lots of questions I am sure and we’re working on all the details. For now, we just wanted to confirm this news and to let you know to stand by,” Tinney said.
–with files from Jon Azpiri
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