A school district in the interior of southern British Columbia said all schools in its area would be in lockdown mode from Monday after COVID vaccine protesters entered three schools on Friday.
School District 83, which covers the North Okanagan and Shuswap areas, said protesters entered Ranchero, South Canoe and Sullivan Elementary Schools of Salmon Arm High School to seek to speak to the respective principals. .
It is believed that each group of protesters numbered around 10, but it is not known whether it was the same group that entered each school or if there were different groups.
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A spokesperson for the school district told Global News that Friday’s meetings were preceded by other protests on Wednesday and Thursday.
The spokesperson said on Wednesday that about 15 protesters showed up at the school district office, wanting to speak to the superintendent. Discussions with the demonstrators lasted about two hours.
On Thursday, protesters returned to the school district office, this time at a pop-up vaccination clinic. The police were called and the RCMP eventually dispersed them.
Video of this incident shows a peaceful scene, albeit on a rainy day. It also shows the protesters saying that all they were looking for were questions to their answers.
School board staff were sent home on Thursday and told to work from home on Friday.
The spokesperson said the protesters served the school board office and the three principals with a vaccine liability notice.
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Following Friday’s protests, the school district sent a letter to parents and guardians, stating that starting Monday, all schools will be closed. This means that the exterior doors will be locked and those who wish to enter a school will have to call ahead to make an appointment.
“This means that the students will not be able to exit and enter the building,” the letter from the school district said.
“If at any point you need to enter your child’s school, please contact the office and the administrative team will be able to assist you.
The letter also said: “SD83 will work with the RCMP to ensure these protests are kept away from all property in the district.”
Soon after, social media started to ignite, with people arguing over protesters entering schools.
Some called the demonstration “sickening”. Another said: “Shame on them – go protest or demonstrate in government offices or in town hall. “
Many comments on social media shared the opinion that schools were not the right place for a protest.
Global News has contacted the RCMP for more information.
Global News has also contacted Interior Health regarding the published dates of the pop-up clinics.
In response, the health agency said the school community has been and will continue to be informed directly by Interior Health through the schools and the school district.
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