An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THIS IS HOW RIDICULOUS the fight against COVID in our schools has been. I was recently listening to one of those political discussions on the radio when one of the rightwing panelists lamented the cruelty of making kids wear masks.
They couldn’t possibly wear masks, he said, because the masks make their glasses fog up. Oh, the humanity.
OK, it was an American station but it captured the lengths to which anti-maskers will go to make their argument. Well, they’ve lost. This week, all B.C. school kids from Kindergarten and up are wearing masks indoors after an order from Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Her decision came as the number of COVID cases among younger students rises dramatically. That’s alarming because, of course, those cases don’t spread only among students, but from students to parents and others.
Imagine a child coming home and transmitting the virus to parents and siblings, and those close relatives — double vaccinated or not — carrying it out into the community before symptoms occur.
Kids can wear masks quite happily, and deal with the glass-fogging issue.
The new mask mandate has the support of the B.C. Teachers Federation though the union is still tentative on the issue of mandatory vaccinations for teachers. But the decision may soon be made for them with help from public pressure.
Just as most parents support the mandatory masking, a new survey shows most also support mandatory vaccines for eligible students and staff in schools. That call will get much louder when a vaccine is approved for younger kids.
Just as mask-wearing is now expected pretty much everywhere, and vaccine cards are an accepted part of everyone’s day, mandatory vaccines in more and more settings promise to become a reality. That includes schools.
Tuesday’s announcement that the Education Ministry is setting up a committee to decide on vaccine mandates all but assures teachers and school staff are next in line.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.