Richmond student kicks off petition for mandatory masks in schools

A Richmond student has kicked off a petition to make masks mandatory before the start of the school year next month.

Victor Lam, 16, launched his Change.org petition two days ago, with an original goal of 200 signatures.

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By Monday morning, 130 people had signed, with the plan being to send it to B.C.’s medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, health minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan.

Lam - who's going into Grade 11 at Burnett secondary - said he organized the petition because he has a family member who is immunocompromised and that he is aware of fellow students in a similar position, none of whom want to risk bringing COVID-19 home.

“The government has only imposed measures such as learning cohorts of 60 and 120, without any social distancing or mask requirement whatsoever. Public Health Ontario has previously mentioned in a report that children of all ages appear to be susceptible to the virus,” Lam’s petition reads.

Ontario and Alberta have made plans to include mandatory face coverings for students who are physically able to wear them and who are more than 10 years old.

While new federal guidelines for grade school environments suggest kids and youth over 10 should be wearing masks indoors and when distancing isn’t possible.

The federal guidelines also say policies in schools should stick to provincial health authority advice for non-medical mask use in all indoor spaces or where distancing isn’t possible, and not just in common areas.

“Both Dr. Bonnie Henry and the CDC have previously mentioned that non-medical masks or face coverings should be used in situations where physical distancing is impossible,” Lam continues in his petition.

“To protect the safety of all students and teachers, face coverings should be mandatory for all in schools.”

Lam asked people not to donate any money to the cause, just their voices and signatures.

“No student, teacher or their families should be forced to be in an environment where their health is in danger. Many recent studies have proved masks and face coverings useful to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he added in the petition.

To see the petition, click here

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