“The Pool of People Who are Susceptible is Different Now”: An Open Letter to My Friends

25 Sep

In the summer of 2020, Bonnie Henry stated that, that fall, when schools reopened, we could expect to see “a little bit of spread” of SARS-CoV-2.

“A little bit of spread”

“A little bit of spread” has always, always meant “A little bit of dead”. But most people choose to ignore that inconvenient truth.

When the first official British Columbian child death happened, in an infant, only a few months later (though it wasn’t announced until many months after it had occurred, when it couldn’t be hidden anymore), Bonnie Henry stated: “This was a child who was not in care, they had a number of health issues”.

“…they had a number of health issues“.

Underlying conditions. Comorbidities.

A little bit of spread has always meant a little bit of dead, and a little bit of dead has almost entirely existed in the category of those who were vulnerable to COVID: the elderly, and those with underlying conditions of any age – including children. Babies.

Two years later, on September 6, 2022, when asked if we would ever see necessary protections brought back in British Columbia to mitigate the out of control spread of SARS-CoV-2, the same Bonnie Henry stated:

“…the pool of people who are susceptible is different now… So I don’t see us getting there unless we have the emergence of something very new and different where we had that susceptibility again.”

The same people who have been susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 all along are still just as susceptible: the people who are immunocompromised, and can’t mount a response from vaccination; the people who are in chemotherapy; the people who are disabled, including those who are developmentally disabled; the people with rare diseases; the people who are marginalized due to their race; the people who are marginalized due to poverty; pregnant people and their babies; the people who are over the age of 70, many in Long Term Care; facilities which have proven time and again to be poorly equipped to protect their residents during a pandemic. And especially so for the people who intersect at many of these identities.

We also have a new pool of susceptibles. The people who have been infected, some multiple times, by SARS-CoV-2, which is a NOVEL, NEUROTROPIC, VASCULAR VIRUS, and carries with it not only the risk of Long COVID, but also the risk of loss of grey matter, cardiac and vascular issues, T1 and T2 diabetes, and what appears to be the weakening of the immune system via T-Cell depletion, making those unlucky patients more susceptible not only to repeat infections with SARS-CoV-2, but also other viruses and illnesses.

What is different now, or perhaps not so different, because the illusion that society had changed for the better has been gullibly accepted by the masses but was indeed just an illusion, is that people just don’t care about other people anymore, and our provincial and public health leadership have given them permission to not care, by leading the way.

Because they’ve been convinced that it won’t be them dying. It will be “the other”.

We are the other.

When Bonnie Henry says: “So I don’t see us getting there unless we have the emergence of something very new and different where we had that susceptibility again.”

She means when it’s no longer just the: old; disabled; immunocompromised; those with rare diseases; poor; People of Colour; or any combination thereof, dying, then they’ll consider putting back in place the protections that we know work.

In other words, when it’s privileged, able bodied, mostly white people being affected, then they’ll care again. People who are like them. People who are probably like some of you reading this right now.

More people in BC have died due to SARS-CoV-2, including children, in 2022 than in 2021 or 2020 (and it’s only September, with another deadly wave still predicted for November/December). And those are only the officially reported numbers; BC’s excess death rate puts our COVID-related deaths at somewhere in the 3x more than officially reported range.

More people have died during this year’s rendition of ‘Best Summer Ever’™️, than in the previous two summers; we started this school year, Unsafe September #3, with a higher baseline level of SARS-CoV-2 cases spreading in the community than in the previous two Septembers, and we’re doing absolutely nothing to mitigate that spread, in schools or elsewhere. Our kids are sitting ducks.

We are less safe than at any other point in the pandemic, and collectively, as a society, we have turned our backs on the ‘Pool of Susceptibles’.

So, when Bonnie Henry says that there will be a little bit of spread, meaning there will be a little bit of dead, and, in the case of susceptible children, it’ll only be kids with underlying conditions who will die, and when society nods and says “yeah, just kids with underlying conditions; not my kids, so who cares!”, I want you to remember that those are kids like mine.

And, when you, reader, friends, eat in restaurants, attend concerts and fairs and movies and stage shows and sports events, travel via air, take transit, all without a mask or a care in the world – yes, we are bombarded with all of your selfies, every single day -, send your kids to school without masks? What you are saying is that you believe that “other” people don’t matter as much as the things you want to do, or don’t want to do in the case of masking. That their deaths would be acceptable. That the death of any susceptible person is a worthy price to pay for you to get to do those things. You are actively endorsing and contributing to ‘a little bit of spread’ and ‘a little bit of dead’.

The pool of susceptibles hasn’t changed, the pool of ignorant, selfish, uncaring people in our province has just grown or revealed themselves, drowning out the voices and lives of those who are very much still paying the price for letting a novel virus rip.

Those voices, those lives? They matter.

I can’t ask you not to go to the restaurant, pub, bar, concerts, sports events, fairs, movies, stage shows, or not to travel; I can’t ask you to mask up (unless you come to our house, then I can, and will, and you won’t be welcome if you don’t, you might not be welcome, anyway, given your COVID-risky choices). But then you also have to understand that I don’t have to socialize with you or keep in touch with you in any way, anymore.

Because what you are saying to me with your direct actions is that, if someone in my family is further disabled or dies, our disabilities and deaths were acceptable, because you got to do the questionable things that raise community risk, but that were more important to you than our being alive, safe, and thriving.

Said again, but another way: that doing things that kept SARS-CoV-2 spreading were more important than the people in your lives you purport to care about.

And here’s the thing, these words shouldn’t only matter because you know me, know my kids, and I’ve written them. These words, these things, should matter because you should care about the people in your community and beyond who you don’t know, too. You should care that your actions might kill someone else’s also-at-risk kids down the road. Someone else’s grandma. Even if you don’t know them. They matter, too.

I don’t know how we come back from this.

Originally published September 25, 2022
Edited: 1807PT 09/27/2022 to add study links relating to diabetes risks, and vascular risks
Edited: 1124PT 09/28/2022 to add study link relating to cardiac risks
Edited: 1248PT 11/11/2022 to add Tyee article link regarding T cell depletion


“When Will You Say Enough”: a Letter to my MLA (also the Provincial AG), the B.C. Education Minister, and an MLA-P.Eng

24 May

Date and time of email: May 24, 2023; 22h22

Hello Attorney General Sharma, Minister Singh, Minister Ma;

Today, I am sending the three of you more information on the continued discoveries of potential health harms – many specifically in children – due to allowing COVID to continue to spread unchecked.

Please note that none of you need to reply to this email; I do not require nor desire yet another devoid-of-humanity reply from any of you with the boilerplate declaration of the BCNDP’s undying devotion to Dr. Bonnie Henry and her faulty guidance. That message has been delivered abundantly throughout the pandemic; we all know that you have tied your raft and destiny to hers, and the evidence continues to pile up that she, the BC Government, and BC Public Health leadership have led our province astray in our COVID response.

Once I send this email, I expect that I should receive at least three auto replies, indicating that this email has been received by each of your respective accounts/offices, and that will be enough.

I am doing this, so that none of you can declare plausible deniability surrounding any of the topics below, should the inevitable pandemic-related lawsuits start. And I suspect that they will sooner than later, and when they do, some will surround the topic of disability in children (specific to today’s email: T1 Diabetes, cardiac issues, brain function/deterioration, Long COVID).

You have each chosen to remain silent for the past three years (two and a half years for you, AG Sharma).

Each of you has a responsibility to your constituents, but also to all the children of this province – our future.

AG Sharma, you are, of course, our MLA, and are supposed to be the representative for my children, who remain unprotected and discriminated against in their school due to their susceptibility to COVID, and also unsupported (including three years without speech therapy, in part because the speech therapist refuses to provide services while masking); Minister Singh, you are the representative charged with making sure BC’s children are safe and supported in their schools and daycares (see above re: no COVID accommodations in schools or speech therapy/other supports); and Minister Ma, you are a registered P.Eng, with your licence tied directly to the Legislature, as an engineer, you took an oath to speak up for the protection of the public above all else when you know that safety standards aren’t being met, this oath is supposed to supersede any job you have, and you appear to steadfastly refuse to uphold it. (And you know that safety standards aren’t being met; and you know that there are many people in BC who know that you know that they aren’t being met. I am not the first British Columbian – nor Canadian – to reach out to you, and I know of several of your constituents who have done so, as well.)

So, AG, Ministers, I urge you to read the following studies/investigate the following data:

I urge you to read the data coming out of Sweden, Norwaythe United States, and Germany showing that children, especially young children, may be prone to having a higher incidence of T1 Diabetes post-COVID infection, a permanent, life-long, autoimmune disability (note that some of those links go to Norwegian sources, you can use embedded tools in browsers such as Chrome to translate the text to English). Even scientists in BC have found increasing rates of diabetes in patients, post-COVID infections“In this cohort study, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a higher risk of diabetes and may have contributed to a 3% to 5% excess burden of diabetes at a population level.”.

I urge you to listen here to cardiologist Dr. Rae Duncan’s plea to not let COVID continue to ravage children, because of the cardiac signals she and her colleagues are seeing (she’s a physician who lives in a jurisdiction, unlike BC, where doctors aren’t gagged from speaking up – but rest assured, doctors here ARE seeing the same signals, they just can’t say it publicly, because your government won’t let them) – this is a moment where the precautionary principle should hold sway. We shouldn’t wait for kids to be harmed to act, and if these signals prove true, it will be too late. Better to protect their hearts NOW, than wait and damage them for the collective hubris of the BCNDP caucus and government bureaucrats. (I have linked the YouTube video to a section where she is speaking about children specifically, however, I also urge you to go back to the beginning and watch the video it its entirety, as Dr. Duncan also discusses her other concerns surrounding long-term sequelae she’s seeing in her cardiac clinic, especially in younger people.)

“My worry is what is that going to do to the organs of our children cumulatively over time, because this isn’t a cold virus this is a SARS2 virus, and my concern is how many infections can a child’s body take repeatedly before they go on to become disabled adults? Now I don’t know the answer to that, I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that, I don’t know if that will happen or not but I don’t think we should be sitting back and playing roulette and waiting to find out. I think really we need to have a serious think about how we reduce the reinfection rates how we try and protect our kids.” -Dr. Rae Duncan

I urge you to pay attention to the FOIs coming out of other jurisdictions in Canada, in this example New Brunswick, that show that the Federal government has been informing not only BC’s PHO but also BC government representatives and MoH health officials FOR THREE YEARS, on the real harms of Long COVID, and COVID in general. You can’t hide that your government has been in receipt of these communications. Consider that children are estimated to have the same rates of Long COVID as adults, somewhere in the 10-16% range. And the chances of getting Long COVID are 1 in every 10 infections — not 1 in every 10 people — our children are being repeatedly exposed and reinfected, so that’s a pretty big gamble on their behalves that your government is taking if even a fraction of these estimates prove true. And not a peep from anyone in your government nor Public Health, about these findings, urging caution, and communicating what data and information the Federal government has been providing.

I urge you to look at this paper, showing brain imaging changes in people after MILD COVID infections, these signals, pre-COVID, were seen to precede grey matter atrophy, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, and there is some cause for concern that dementia is hastened by COVID infections.

I urge you to look at this paper, showing the post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, and think of the THOUSANDS of children harmed by ignoring these early findings; harm that is happening directly because of your collective silence. Not only the three of you, but your entire cowardly party.

You have a choice. You have wasted THOUSANDS of days (roughly 1163), and let THOUSANDS of people die, and THOUSANDS more become disabled.

You can choose to continue to remain silent, or you can choose to be courageous and speak up.

How many more British Columbians have to die or or become disabled before any of you care and have the integrity to say something?

While the tone of this email may sound angry, it’s not nearly angry enough.

You each were community leaders. Before you ran to be government lackeys, you claimed to care about inclusion, about justice for marginalized communities, you each ran on making things better, and now you are each of you refusing to speak up in protection of those same marginalized communities you purported to fight for.

So, I also urge you to reflect and ask yourselves why you even ran for government? What’s in it for you? What is the price of your silence? What is the cost to the public?

What purpose are you serving in government, if you’re toeing a line drawn by white, privileged, able-bodied, health-supreme men at one of the most pivotal points in history? Because that’s what each of you is choosing to do.

What’s in it for you to let thousands of kids face potential life-long harm?

Another question for you to ask yourselves: what if it’s YOUR children or grandchildren next? Then will you care? Because they won’t be protected, either, and may the odds be ever in their favour that your failure to protect every other British Columbian child doesn’t impact them (that’s not how COVID works, unfortunately; kids in BC, including yours, are no different than the kids in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the USA, etc – only parents in BC seem believe their children are supreme beings, don’t fall into this trap; reality says otherwise, and may yours never find out – but with the rate of continued spread, that’s incredibly unlikely).

And remember, as much as your party will try to deflect, it won’t be the fault of the BC Liberals or BC Greens, not any other non-NDP party, that might form the next government, and your children face long-term COVID injury. Responsibility for these failures lays squarely at the feet of your party; at YOUR feet. Due to your silence.

Anyway, as I said above. I don’t need another boilerplate reply from any of you. The delivery receipts will be enough.

I hope that something, some last shred of humanity, finally clicks and causes at least one of you to stop wasting your privilege and position in government at this pivotal moment. I only hope it isn’t the death or disability of one of your loved ones that causes that to happen, something your party has already wrought upon thousands of the citizens of our province, and which would be needless, when we have an abundance of actual evidence and tools that we could use to prevent it, if you would only choose to speak up and say enough.


Jaclyn Ferreira
Hastings Sunrise Constituent
Former longtime, but now never again, NDP voter

P.S. I ask, also, that you please DO NOT add me to your mailing list because I have sent you this email. Communications from the BCNDP are a waste of my time.

Equity means giving opportunity to those who have the most barriers. In [the case of the pandemic], those who have the most barriers are those who have the most vulnerability to COVID-19.” -Isabel Jordan

Below: images of the expected delivery receipts (4), showing that each person, the BC AG, the Education Minister, P.Eng and MLA Ma, and the BCNDP party proper, received my email containing the studies and links within, urging caution and protection for our children. There should be no plausible deniability.

Email from Attorney General's office, received May 24, 2023 at 22h22, confirming receipt of my email, reads as follows:

Thank you for your email.

This automated response is to confirm that your email has been received.

If you have made inquiries that fall within the mandate of the Ministry of Attorney General, your email will be reviewed for consideration.

In the event that your inquiry is the responsibility of another area of government, we will refer your email appropriately for review and consideration.

We appreciate that you have taken the time to write.

Minister’s Office
Attorney General
Portion of an email from MLA and P.Eng Bowinn Ma's office, received May 24, 2023 at 22h22, confirming receipt of my email, reads as follows:

Thank you for your email to the Community Office of Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.
This office receives an overwhelming volume of correspondence from all over the province and our constituents are our priority. You might not receive a personal response if you are not a constituent of North Vancouver-Lonsdale; if you have sent a forwarded, copied, or mass email (eg. letter-writing campaign); or if the topic you are writing about falls under federal or municipal jurisdiction.
Email from "BC NDP Team", received May 24, 2023 at 22h22, confirming receipt of my email, reads as follows:

Hello friend,
Thank you for taking the time to write to us – we really appreciate opportunities to hear from British Columbians. This email is monitored, but due to the high volume of messages, we are unable to reply to every email individually.
Here are some other ways that you can reach out to us or find the answers to your questions:
To become a member: www.bcndp.ca/join
To donate: www.bcndp.ca/donate
If you would like to make a change in your monthly donation, please email us at pac@bcndp.ca
To contact your local Member of the Legislative Assembly: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members
If you would like to unsubscribe from our emails, do so by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any of the emails you have received from us.
Please note that we are unable to unsubscribe you from emails from the Federal NDP or individual constituency associations.
For regular updates, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/bcndp or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcndp

In solidarity,

The BC NDP Team

 BC NDP Team 
320-34 W 7th, Vancouver BC, V5Y1L6
604-430-8600 | 1-888-868-3637 (Toll-free)

Attempting to re-post an image of the auto-reply from the Education Minister’s office below, as that block continues to corrupt when being posted:

Portion of an email from the B.C. Education Minister's office, received May 24, 2023 at 22h22, confirming receipt of my email, reads as follows:

Thank you for taking the time to write. Due to the volume of incoming messages, this is an automated response to let you know that your email has been received and will be reviewed at the earliest opportunity. If your inquiry more appropriately falls within the mandate of another Ministry or other area of Government, staff will refer your email for review and consideration.

If you have made an inquiry regarding post-secondary education, your email will be referred to the Ministry of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills, and Training. You may also inquire with them directly by contacting AEST.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Rachna Singh
Minister of Education and Child Care

Safe Schools Rally Speech – August 14, 2021

21 Apr

Nothing meaningful has been done to protect at-risk kids since I was given the opportunity to present this speech at the Safe Schools Rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery on the afternoon of August 14, 2021. Instead of dying away in the bowels of my computer, I present it here, as part of the documentation of how high risk kids have been failed, harmed, continuously throughout the SARS2/COVID pandemic, both by governments, and by school districts.

All four articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child listed below (6, 23, 24, 28) are still being disregarded.

(And yes, we heard from an administrator in our school district that high risk families asking for accommodations *during an airborne pandemic* should not expect to be “catered to”. This language is horrific, and it needs to be documented. If school administrators feel empowered to use this kind of language, in what other ways are they looking down upon disabled kids within their midst? How else are they refusing to accommodate and include them?)


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.

In 1990, Canada signed on to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 6 of the Convention states that every child has the inherent right to life. Article 23 states that disabled children should enjoy a full and decent life, with active participation in their community. Article 24 states that every child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. And Article 28 states that every child has the right to an education.

In April of 2020, when I started advocating for better COVID safety in BC schools, I never thought we’d be here, sixteen months later, still fighting for the same bare minimum of protections, in the face of a novel virus; still trying to convince our government that disabled and otherwise vulnerable children have value, and deserve the same chance at life as their abled or less vulnerable peers.

But here we are.

Our entire family is vulnerable. My husband and I have fortunately received two doses each of a COVID vaccine, but our three children are still too young to be vaccinated.

My children and I have a genetic disorder, that, among other things, causes premature deterioration of our lungs, early-onset COPD, aneurysms, and liver damage. Two of our children are disabled. All of them are still at risk.

In these past sixteen months, while the science and knowledge surrounding COVID has grown, so, too, has the science and data surrounding people with our risk factors.

We now know that people of ALL ages with developmental disabilities are anywhere from 3 to 6 times more likely to contract COVID. We also know that people of ALL ages with developmental disabilities are anywhere from 3 to 10 times more likely to suffer a severe outcome, depending on the severity of their disability, and compounded by any additional comorbidities. We also now know that people with our genetic disorder are definitely at higher risk, something that the scientists who study and treat it theorized was the case all that time ago, but which has since been proven.

And yet, here we are.

During the last [2020-2021] school year, we were forced to fight for more than hand washing as a protective layer in our schools. In Vancouver, we fought up until March Break to keep a remote option available for our children for the entirety of the school year – all while being told we were being catered to. (Side note: disabled and vulnerable people are never asking to be catered to when they are asking for life-saving accommodations.) Province-wide, we fought for masks until the end of March, and when our government finally relented, masks were still not mandated for the youngest children in our schools.

This year [2021-2022], our children face a school year with no restrictions. No masking; no guarantee of increased ventilation; no decreased density/physical distancing; no exposure notices; and no equitable remote options.

And all of this coupled with a new variant that has proven to be more transmissible, more severe, and which spreads even more readily amongst children, most of whom still can’t be vaccinated.

When I say equitable remote options, I mean options that don’t penalize at-risk children by removing them from their community schools, educational and disability supports, friends and, in some cases, choice programming, because they are at risk of severe disease. This is exclusion, it is illegal, and it is a problem that has run rampant in the BC education system for decades, and continues to do so now, even under the BC NDP.

And yet, this is exactly what children like ours face, and it is unjust.

And thus, we are forced to choose between health and education, in contravention of all four of the articles I listed at the start of this speech, and the BC Human Rights Code: either they are removed from their schools and community, and forced into subpar district-run distance learning programs, with few supports for disabled children, or they are forced into unsafe schools risking their health and wellbeing. And disabled or otherwise vulnerable children always bear the majority of the costs of these inequitable choices.

It doesn’t have to be this way, there is still time for the BC NDP and district leaders to change course.

If they plan keeping the protection and education of vulnerable learners at the core, schools become inherently safer for all learners and education workers. This is inclusion, it is achievable, and I call on the BC NDP to listen to their constituents, shift gears, and make this right.

Thank you.

Dear John…

31 Mar

How to thank you, John Horgan, on your retirement?

(Originally, I wrote this letter to you for your 2022 birthday, but I missed the submission deadline, because I was busy trying to figure out how to keep my kids safe at school during a pandemic… for a third [pandemic] year… I’ve adjusted it a little, but much of it still stands, so here you go.)

Thank you for letting thousands of people die preventable deaths during a pandemic by putting the economy before human lives, when most of those lives could have been saved. (And… those lives drive the economy…)

Thank you for letting thousands more become disabled, by putting business first instead of actual public health.

Thank you for forcing children to have to pay for their health with their education, or for their education with their health, during a global health emergency; to wit:

-Thank you for allowing potentially thousands of children to be disabled, by propagating lies about whether or not they could get or transmit a novel virus (when children have been getting and transmitting viruses since time immemorial), and about the ability of a virus to spread within educational institutions, when viruses love educational institutions. (You have still never apologized for saying kids don’t get or spread SARS2, by the way. Do you seriously believe that a virus can’t spread in schools? Honestly?)

-Thank you for excluding disabled and rare disease kids from school during COVID, by refusing to follow the best available scientific evidence and the precautionary principle; by not recognizing risks to them; by not recognizing that people can’t personal responsibility their way out of a pandemic, least of all children; by not improving air quality; by not mandating masking or lowering density in classrooms.

-Thank you for not providing equitable remote options for the highest risk kids during a global health emergency.

-Thank you for placing 100% of the responsibility for their own safety on the shoulders of disabled, rare-disease kids, during a global health emergency.

-Thank you for enabling the MLAs in the Vancouver area to elevate only the voices of privileged, mostly white people advocating for less safety in our schools during COVID, while disallowing the voices of racialized, disabled, and rare-disease people to be heard – people who would be more negatively impacted than those of greater privilege.


Thank you for continuing to exclude disabled kids from their schools prior to COVID, by continuing to underfund education, even though you promised to fix it. (This hasn’t changed. Your party has been in office for nearly six years now.)

Thank you for continuing to make it nearly impossible for kids to access psych-ed assessments in their schools, necessitating that families save up for years, while sitting on years-long waitlists, to access private diagnoses, delaying early interventions and supports (which costs the child, the family, and the system more money in the long run). Or foregoing the assessments altogether, and watching their kids fall through the cracks.

Thank you for continuing to make it nearly impossible to access supports in school, due to LSTs being in short supply, and being pulled to cover classroom instruction due to a dearth of teachers in our system, pre-COVID, but especially during.

Thank you, additionally, for there also being a continued dearth of SSAs within our schools, necessitating that disabled children stay home instead of receiving an equitable education.

Thank you for continuing to make it nearly impossible to access youth mental health supports in schools, even though mental health was the excuse you used for cramming them into unsafe schools during a pandemic.

Thank you for also continuing to make it nearly impossible to access youth mental health supports in the community.

Thank you for letting COVID rip through our youngest child’s daycare in January 2022, unfettered, and again in March 2022, so that more than half of the kids got it, and staff, too, who all then took it home to their families, creating new chains of transmission.

Thank you for letting Public Health tell parents they could send their kids to daycares and schools while still positive (and denying pre-symptomatic spread) so that COVID could continue to run through those spaces.

Thank you for threatening to take away the Autism (AFU) supports for our autistic child, after he spent more than half of his life working with the same team – tell me you don’t understand the support needs of, and transition issues for, autistic kids, John, without telling me you don’t understand the support needs of, and transition issues for, autistic kids, John.

Thank you for adding one more thing to our plate that we had to fight. We were already stretched thin, John, we were stretched thin fighting for our kids to have adequate supports in school before COVID, and COVID made it worse. And then you come along and so cavalierly make decisions with real world, harmful implications – and then ignore us when we tell you you’re harming our kids.

Thank you for pitting disabled kids against each other, and trying to drag down some disabled kids in the name of ‘equity’, instead of bringing ALL disabled children up to the same support and funding standards.

Thank you for ignoring real-world evidence, from our [sic] within own country, that shows the disability hub model fails all disabled children, increases wait times for supports, thus delaying more early intervention (which, as noted above, costs the child, the family, and the system more money in the long run).

Thank you for lying about listening to your constituents, and the people of British Columbia, when it is clear that you listen only to business, travel and tourism lobbyists, and the people who say the things you want to hear.

Thank you for ignoring reports from France on how to handle high temperature/heat dome-type events. Thank you for ignoring the lead that Washington and Oregon took, so that hundreds more British Columbians died preventable deaths in the summer of 2021.

Thank you for for admitting that you were too giddy – due to a premature announcement of the end of the pandemic… which is still ongoing almost two years later… because you and your political peers failed to act – to plan for the heat dome, which resulted the in the aforementioned hundreds of additional preventable deaths in 2021.

Thank you for making sure 1/5th of this province doesn’t have a family physician.

Thank you for underpaying family physicians so that they aren’t opening practices and are leaving the province.

Thank you for making sure there aren’t enough nurses or physicians in the system so that our hospitals are overwhelmed.

Thank you for making sure ERs are closed – sometimes every weekend – and our emergency responders are overwhelmed.

Thank you for doing nothing meaningful to curb the toxic drug crisis. I’m sure that the people with substance use disorders appreciated hearing you tell them that their addictions were a choice. Always blame the victims, right John?

Thank you for making sure housing continues to be a hard to come by commodity.

Thank you for continuing to log our old growth forests.

Thank you for continuing to waste our money on an already-failed dam, and modelling such hypocrisy in doing so, after photo ops and promises before your election declaring you to be in supposed opposition of the same dam.

Thank you for continuing to ruin our province with another pipeline.

Thank you for crowning your replacement, instead of following a democratic process to elect your replacement; thank you for showing me and my daughters that a man’s more conservative voice means more than a woman’s more progressive voice when it comes to leadership of the BCNDP.

Thank you, John, for rendering your MLAs incapable of representing their constituents, by forcing them to toe the party line, and repeat NDP talking points back to those same constituents, even when they are presented with documentation showing that what they’re saying is untrue (like: budgets for school boards, break downs of funding for schools, scientific papers on how COVID spreads, who is most at-risk, and how we can protect them in reality, to name but a few).

Thanks, John, for being such a spectacular example to hold up to my children of how NOT to treat people, especially those most vulnerable.

I hope you have a wonderful retirement, and that these failures haunt you.

And, just in case it wasn’t very clear, all of the ‘thank yous’ above were sarcastic in nature; in all seriousness, John, thank you for showing me that the NDP is not a party that aligns with my values; I am ashamed that I ever voted for you, that I ever convinced other people to vote for you, but also, I am grateful to know sooner rather than later that I supported the wrong party for far too long, because I have time, now, to help my children understand why they should never vote for a party that is progressive in name only, but regressive in every other way.

Actions, after all, speak much louder than words.

-Former NDP voter, now BC Green Party member (because of you, John)

Note: this is being posted via this forum, due to the fact that I suspect that this letter won’t make it into John Horgan’s hands, as it doesn’t laud him or hold him on a pedestal, rather calls out his failures to act to protect the people of BC, and calls out his lies/broken election promises.

British Columbia’s Silent PICU Emergency

3 Dec

On the heels of the declaration of a ‘Code Orange’ in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at BC Children’s Hospital today, December 3, 2022 (which was reportedly hastily rescinded), it seems prudent to at least try to examine part of the reason the hospital might have arrived at this moment, aside from letting a novel, immune dysregulating virus spread out of control, while allowing other respiratory viruses to run rampant, through BC’s children.

Namely, the fact that the government and the BC Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) continue to obfuscate about the actual PICU capacity in the province.

A tweet from Tamara Taggart (former journalist and politician) containing a 'code orange' warning for the BC Children's Hospital NICU, with the following text in her tweet:

How today started @BCChildrensHosp in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The lack of leadership, outrage + transparency is deplorable. #PICU in crisis, #ER times brutal, surgeries cancelled + kids dying of the flu. #BCPoli #CodeOrange

The Teck Acute Care Centre, the new BC Children’s Hospital facility, opened its doors in late October 2017.

Since then, the PICU has reportedly never been fully staffed.

A tweet from healthcare advocate Laesa Kim stating:

There are 10 beds in the unopened PICU pod.
An image containing a series of tweets from healthcare advocate Laesa Kim, stating the following:

Tweet 1:

"Yes, government stats can be very misleading. They've frequently tried to reassure public with the number of PICU beds in BC, but never clarify that approx. 10 of them have never been staffed, in an entire win that's even been opened at BCCH."

Tweet 2:

"80% occupancy means 100% full, when 20% of your rooms don't have staff of beds in them."

Despite recent CTV reports of there being 21 PICU beds in the province, the province’s own reports suggest otherwise.

According to the downloadable resource Children’s Medical Services Part I: Setting the Stage; July 2021, which can be found as part of a larger source of reports and documentation at this link), there are 27 PICU beds in British Columbia* (five (5) at Victoria General Hospital on Vancouver Island, and 22 at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver).

Chart on a page headed with:

Appendix 3: HA Operated Pediatric Inpatient Beds in BC

Chart indicates paediatric bed capacity in the province of BC, and shows only 5 PICU beds on Vancouver Island (Victoria General Hospital), and 22 in Vancouver (BCCH).

Regardless of the official provincial number, 21 or 27, as concerned parents whose children frequent the PICU at BCCH have been pointing out since at least January 2022, almost half (10) of those beds located at BCCH are unstaffed, and haven’t been staffed since the Teck Acute Care Centre first opened its doors; those beds remain in an area intended to be used as a PICU ward, but which is used for storage and staff training, and have thus reportedly never been in operation.

That would mean that British Columbia only has either 11 or 17 PICU beds officially staffed and in operation.

Image of tweet from healthcare advocate Laesa Kim stating the following:

"It is ABSOLUTELY still the case. They have never opened an entire Unit at BCCH since the new building in 2017. 

On one floor it goes PICU - PICU - CICU. PICU 1, at the end of the hall, remains unused by patients. It’s storage and training space."

(Note: in the image directly below, in a tweet from January 2022, it is stated that “at least 8 [PICU beds]” have never been staffed, however this information has since been updated, as mentioned in Laesa Kim’s first tweet above, that there are 10 PICU beds at BCCH that haven’t been opened due to staffing shortages.)

Image of two tweets from healthcare advocate Laesa Kim stating the following:

Tweet 1:

"27 beds, but at least 8 of them have NEVER been staffed. It’s an entire pod at BCCH that’s never been opened, and last I saw those rooms were filled with storage and training equipment.

There is NO room for a spike in pediatric cases."

Tweet 2:

"Another pod is the CICU. It’ll get used if needed, but at the risk and expense of pediatric cardiac care.

We don’t have 27 beds. And staffing the 10 currently full at BCCH is already a challenge."

As Penny Daflos at CTV Vancouver pointed out on Twitter recently (image below), when posting about this article, when being given ED bed counts by Christy Hay (Executive Director, Clinical Operations, Emergency, Trauma & Access and Specialized Pediatrics, BCCH) we can’t rely on the information as officially reported, as officials tend to give the furniture count, but not a count of what capacity is officially in operation and available given staffing levels, and in the case of PICU capacity, this appears to be no different.

Tweet from CTV journalist Penny Daflos stating the following:

"Sthg that really stood out in my interview w 
: their ops boss originally told me they have 55 care spaces at their ED, then admitted only *35* are ever staffed

This tweet is quote tweeting one of her own earlier tweets with the following statement:

"The health min & PHO are speaking at 11am but remember this: whenever journalists ask about STAFFED beds, we typically get stats about physical beds
This is worse than we see on busy weekends and yet yday Dix told us he's NOT considering masking reqs for crowded public places"

I reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment/confirmation on the full number of PICU beds listed as being available in BC, and the number that are actually staffed and in operation, and despite one Ministry of Health media contact receiving and reading my email request, received no reply.

Screenshot of a read receipt from BC Ministry of Health contact Calvin Simpson, indicating that he read my email on Friday, November 25, 2022, at 3:09:24 PM.

Calvin, and his coworker, to whom the email was also sent, have not replied.

The situation right now, for BC’s (and Yukon’s – see note at bottom) children is dire, and untenable. The knock-on effects of PICU beds not being in operation means that children who require cardiac surgeries and other cardiac care are having that care postponed, so that CICU beds can be used by kids who would otherwise be in the PICU.

Image of first tweet in a multi-tweet thread on cancelled cardiac surgeries at BCCH, by healthcare advocate Laesa Kim, which reads as follows:

"The number of cardiac surgeries being cancelled at BCCH is problematic right now. And it’s compounded issues: too many babies being born needing immediate surgery, not enough OR nurses, no more ICU beds for post-op care. /1"
Image of tweet from healthcare advocate Laesa Kim stating the following:

"Would love to hear that their surge plans included opening this, so that kids that rely on the CICU for urgent surgeries could get the care they and their families have been patiently waiting for. Instead surgeries are cancelled, and the CICU is flooded with respiratory needs."

Additionally, in not being transparent, our officials are essentially lying by omission to the parents of BC about the state of affairs in which we find ourselves.

Imagine being the parent of a child who is in an accident, and all of a sudden having the rude awakening there are no PICU beds available for your child, because the province has been lying about capacity? Parents with children who have complex care needs are well aware of what has been happening in the system, but most parents in the province appear to be willing to go along with what government has been reporting, instead of thinking critically about what’s happening here.

Surrey Memorial Hospital has recently reported seeing four times the number of patients PER DAY that their paediatric ER was designed for; BC Children’s has had to open an overflow ER because their main emergency department is overwhelmed.

The Government of BC seems happy to continue misleading the public about what’s happening, and until their children are the ones requiring care, most parents seem content to believe what they’re being told. If paediatric hospitals in Ontario, and Québec, and Alberta, and the UK, and Germany, and Italy, and Australia, and all over the USA are overflowing, and we have evidence of the same happening here, at what point do BC’s parents wake up and say enough?

This is an indictment mostly of government, to be sure, but also partially of a complacent public, and too many (save for a few shining examples) in media refusing to dig in, research, and ask hard questions.

No one is holding our government to account.

This parent is saying enough.

*Note: British Columbia shares its PICU capacity with Yukon.

SARS2 and Lymphocytopenia

3 Oct

There’s been a lot of debate in the last year or so, about what SARS2/COVID-19 is really doing to bodies long-term.

One issue that has come up is the depletion of T-cells; this is something HIV does, leading to AIDS.

A lot of people take offence to the idea that COVID has been called, in some circles, ‘Airborne AIDS’, and yet, look at this reference page from MERCK.

COVID, just like HIV, appears to kill T-cells, causing Lymphocytopenia – IOW a depletion of white blood cells – needed to fight infection and cancers (MERCK notes in around 35 to 83% of patients).

Repeat infections are bad.

Letting it rip through our population is bad.

Letting kids get it over and over again, thinking they’ll be fine, is bad.

HIV causes AIDS
Chickenpox causes Shingles
EBV causes MS
HPV causes Cervical Cancer
SARS2 causes “Airborne AIDS”

And we’re just letting it happen.

Solutions to advocate for:

-An acknowledgement that COVID is indeed airborne

-Universal masking in KF94/N95 or better (source control, and protection of individuals)

-Monitor and clean the air in indoor spaces *properly*

-Reduce density in indoor spaces: this has the benefit of reducing the number of potentially infectious people in a space, which can help to reduce viral particle build-up, and it can also help to prevent near-field exposure/transmission

-Test, Trace, Isolate, Support, so that we aren’t constantly forcing infectious people into the world

-Better vaccines; we let the virus spread while trying to vaccinate, and virologists at the time stated that this would help force the virus to evolve, which it has done; we made the vaccines less effective with our actions, just like we bring on the next waves with our actions.

We can stop this, collectively, if we work together.

When We Protect the Most Vulnerable People in a Space, Everyone Else Using That Space is Inherently Better Protected.

11 Sep

When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected.

At-risk kids in British Columbia’s schools, as well as those who live with family members who are at-risk, and their peers, deserve the following:

✅ Actual ventilation improvements (following ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force guidelines, including HEPA filtration)
✅ CO2 monitoring to know when air quality is declining, and teachers with the knowledge and tools, empowered to make adjustments on the fly
✅ Universal masking of all ages
✅ Decreased density
✅ Increased physical distancing
✅ Safe classroom layouts to prevent near-field aerosol transmission
✅ Equitable remote options
✅ Exposure notices
✅ Test Trace Isolate and Support policies

There are no downsides to providing any of these protections to our students, only upsides: fewer missed days due to illness, better cognitive function and learning abilities, and, most importantly, the potential for little to no transmission of a NOVEL neurotropic, vascular virus.

When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected. When we protect the most vulnerable people in a space, everyone else using that space is inherently better protected.

Our kids are worth it.

Unsafe September #3 (an unanswered letter to MLA Sharma and Minister Whiteside)

7 Sep

(Sent: September 2nd, 2022)

MLA Sharma and Minister Whiteside,

Recently, I have been reviewing the MIT course entitled ‘Physics of COVID-19 Transmission‘, from the fall of 2020.

I urge you to read that date again – fall of 2020.

Because in this course, they detail the fact that COVID is airborne due to aerosolization, that it can remain in the air for extended periods of time, that it can build up in poorly ventilated rooms, and that masking is an effective measure to both reduce build up (source control) and prevent inhalation by susceptible people.

Here we are, facing our third Unsafe September in BC’s schools, with literally no protective measures in place, a continued denial of how COVID is spread, and no actual tools for at-risk CHILDREN and their families to do an informed risk assessment, and protect themselves.

And there you are, both MLAs, elected to represent and protect your constituents, and Minister Whiteside, BC’s school and daycare aged children, and neither of you are following through on these roles.

One of my children, who is disabled and has three rare diseases, attended school for ONE HOUR last year.

That’s right. One hour. This was due both to the lack of COVID safety, and also due to the lack of EA support. (The other attended for a total of nine afternoons, which is not much better.)

Minister Whiteside, both of these issues are a failure of you and your Ministry, and MLA Sharma, this is a failure of yours as our representative in government.

According to the Manitoba Legislative website (https://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/members/index.html):

“As a Representative of their constituency, a Member may voice concerns on behalf of constituents, represent viewpoints or intercede and assist in problem solving.

An MLA is also a Member of an elected party caucus.  In this function, they may be involved in planning and orchestrating strategy in the House, supporting the caucus and its decisions, and developing expertise in given subject areas.”

You are both excellent at the latter, specifically this part ‘supporting the caucus and its decisions’, as are all NDP MLAs, but you’re both horrid at the former, which is arguably your most important role.

So, as it’s clear that you’re going to continue to abdicate your roles as representatives of your communities, and BC’s children, I am going to ask you some frank questions:

After two years of denial about how COVID spreads – even when the evidence is overwhelming, and very easily accessible, especially to two well-paid and well-educated MLAs – and how we can protect the people of BC, I want you to consider how your descendants are going to look up on [sic] this time. When your future family members read that you were an MLA who refused to speak up and use your position and power to protect the most vulnerable people under your care, how will they think of you? Will they be proud that you didn’t speak up? Will they be proud to be your descendants? I would not be.

And, MLA Sharma, when you tuck your kids in at night, do you spare a thought for the parents of BC who are no longer able to do so, because you didn’t speak up to protect their children?

Maybe in the end you couldn’t have stopped all of those kids from dying, because the rest of the party membership would have overruled your voices, and possibly you would have been ejected from the party. But I would argue it would have been worth it, because at least then you’d know you’d tried, instead of rolling over and letting this continue – which is what appears to be happening – while trumpeting how great your party is. While more people die than in the earlier times of the pandemic, more kids get sick and become disabled, and, again, a THIRD!!! Unsafe September is on the horizon for BC’s kids.

What is the point of being an MLA and a representative if all you do is toe the party line, while people die needless deaths?

How many hours will my children be able to attend school this year, with no masking, no HEPA, poor ventilation, no notifications when COVID is in their school, and no equitable remote options that don’t remove them from their school without a guaranteed option of return?

How is it just to place 100% of the responsibility for his safety on the shoulders of an almost-nine year old disabled child?

We are not your acceptable collateral damage.

Remember this moment when you chose to stay silent. My children will. And so will history.

Jaclyn Ferreira
Former NDP Voter
Hastings Sunrise Constituent

An addendum for the BC NDP Vancouver Hastings Constituency Association – consider your complicity in this. Due to your drive to elect a voice of the NDP instead of a voice of our community, you have managed to prolong this unjust and inequitable situation; all NDP constituency associations have. This is why I email both of Minister Sharma’s email addresses, as the constituency offices that enable this are culpable, too, and they need to hear this fact.

“Equity means giving opportunity to those who have the most barriers. In [the case of the pandemic], those who have the most barriers are those who have the most vulnerability to COVID-19.” -Isabel Jordan

BCNDP End of Summer Survey 2022

7 Sep

Tonight, I had the displeasure of filling in the BCNDP’s 2022 end of summer survey.

I strongly suspect that they delete responses like mine, instead choosing to focus on the ones that gush about how wonderful the party is, made by staunch supporters that, were it not for the BCNDP convincing me to never vote for them again, would certainly drive me from voting for the party due to the way they treat people who have been harmed by the policies of their government and party.

So, my long (and they were long) answers to their text box questions below, for the record, where they can’t be buried:


To point 1: NDP decimated family physician ranks in the 90s, and interim funding isn’t enough, when you aren’t chasing [sic] the POLICIES that make it hard for them to make ends meet and practice here.

To point 2: The economy you laud is currently “doing well” on the backs of the people you’ve killed and disabled with COVID, additionally, cancelled ferry sailings, businesses unable to find or keep workers, due to Long COVID and burn out, would indicate that while your financials (in question by the auditor general) might make it look like we’re doing well economically, the proof is in the pudding, and BC is falling behind, while letting people get needlessly sick and die. How many ECONOMIC studies do you need to have presented to you to understand that letting a virus run rampant is bad for the economy. Nevermind the long term costs of caring for the people who are disabled, but need long term care… har har har without longitudinal care from a family physician because you’ve chased them all out of the province.

To point 3: Like Site-C and old growth logging? Things you were opposed to before you were in office?

To point 4: sure, you raised the minimum wage, but people still can’t afford to live here, and an awful lot of minimum wage workers are also front line workers, currently at high risk to covid, and, you guessed it, long haulers, disabled by your bad policies.

To point 5: hahaha the rebates that took literal months to arrive, and don’t even pay for a tank of gas? cool cool cool.

To point 6: the UCCs that don’t even have enough staff? Or the hospitals? Like BCCH, which has a whole ICU ward closed off because they can’t staff it. whew… if that’s building healthcare infrastructure, I’d hate to see what destroying it might be.

To point 7: where?

To point 8: again, where?

To point 9: Are you collecting race-based COVID data yet? No? Then still failing on this front.

To point 10: Building schools that are smaller than the ones they are replacing, so that neighbourhood kids have to go to other old falling apart schools with poor ventilation is an awful big flex, but do go on… Nevermind the fact that part of what you promised in 2017 was that you’d fix inclusion in BCEd, but hundreds of disabled [kids] are still excluded from their schools due to lack of supports and lack of safety still, more than five years later. But hey – at least their school might not fall down on them when the big one hits. (You’ve lied about lots of other things, are you lying about this, too? Are our schools seismically safe? We can’t trust you anymore.)

To Point 11: Yeah right; I’ll believe it when I see it. But luckily the BCNDP won’t be in office then, so you won’t get to claim any achievements on that front.

To point 12: We plan to buy electric vehicles when our current ones need replacing, but I’m hearing from a lot of people in my network that the new rebates aren’t workable for their families, which leads me to believe they won’t be workable for ours, either. I’ll reserve judgement until we get there, but given all of the failures above, you can see how it’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief enough to trust you’d get this one thing right.


You are failing to learn from REAL WORLD lessons from Ontario with regard to the removal of Autism supports for kids in BC, and the creation of hubs.

Families have told you how it’s harming or will harm their children. One of my children is one of the ones who will be further harmed by this NDP government, and these shortsighted, uneducated decisions you are making with their supports. And you’re not listening. Even though your email says you are. So.

(Points seven and eight pertain to affordable housing, etc; Point 11 is about net-zero 2050.)


Yes; you killed off one of my dearest friends by allowing her to get COVID. It’s made a difference in my life because she’s no longer in it.

Additionally, my middle child was only able to attend school for ONE HOUR in the 2021/22 school year, due to lack of EA supports, and lack of COVID safety; his older sibling, for only nine afternoons.

I’m sure you were looking for a positive spin here, but I’ve got nothing.

Voting for, and encouraging others to vote for, the BCNDP is the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life, and I will never, ever do that again. And I will continue to work to convince the people who voted for you after talking to me in the past, to change their votes for future elections.


To point 2: as before, the rebates took months to arrive, and didn’t even cover the cost of one take [sic] of gas. I guess it’s good we’re not travelling anywhere in our vehicles.

To point 4: we were a family that took transit more than 50% of the time pre-COVID, but we can’t take it now, due to lack of COVID safety, so while this is a great initiative, it doesn’t serve high-risk people.

To point 8: School supplies, per legal judgement, should be covered for all students, regardless of their ability to pay. Anything that is needed to graduate from school should be covered in the operations costs of the schools, not expected to be paid by parents. This is a long standing judgement; it’s incredible to me that you’re lauding yourselves for something that you’re only providing to some students, not all, that you’re legally required to provide to all. As for hot lunches, it’s a well known fact that providing balanced meals at school for all students is good for all of them, and removes the stigma from those who don’t get enough food at home. But heaven forbid anyone in this government actually pay attention to issues like this, right?


I have no faith that a new leader will be any different than Horgan has been.

And I’ve met Eby, who seems to be the shoo-in; he’s met one of my high-risk children, but still supports policies that harm them. Why would I trust he’d do anything different? [unfortunately, I edited this section in the survey, but neglected to copy it over; I mentioned that Eby struck me as an upstanding individual when I met him at non-political, social engagements, but he is just as disappointing, including platforming parents that wanted less school safety in the 2020/21 school year, while disallowing parents with genuine concerns for their children’s health and safety to have a voice at the same town hall.]

This party is a party of whipped cowards, not a single courageous person in it, willing to say STOP, and look at the harm you’re causing.


-school equity
-school safety
-covid reduction
-autism supports/funding

Basically, none of the things that are important to the NDP, so this section was a waste of my time.


Niki Sharma is my MLA, and has not represented high risk families in our neighbourhood, nor disabled kids excluded from school.

John Horgan has been the single most disappointing person I’ve ever supported.

Thanks, at least, for teaching me a valuable lesson.

The BCNDP is progressive in name only, but just like the BCLiberals, is a paternalistic, pandering group of people, that will smile condescendingly at you while not protecting you (for example COVID: they had underlying conditions, after all – and death is a part of life for those who aren’t immunosupreme, right? We won’t bring back protections unless ‘other’ people (read: those who don’t have underlying conditions) start suffering severe consequences, right?), and while excluding you from the education they claim is so important that kids need to be in school more than they need to be protected from a novel virus.

And their federal and other provincial counterparts are a bunch of spineless cowards, too, fit to call out conservative premiers doing the EXACT SAME things as John Horgan, but ignoring it when one of their own does the same thing.

That’s hypocrisy, friends, and that is counter to my values.

Never, ever, NDP again.

To the Parents of Anaphylactic Kids in BC,

5 Sep

You fought, hard, for the things that your kids react to to be removed from schools and classrooms, especially peanuts and tree nuts.

Other families adapted. We had no choice. Some of us had to change our shopping and eating habits, some of us spent years working with our children with GI and growth issues, who would only eat peanut butter as a source of protein, to transition their diet, so that your kids would be safe at school. While we were, indeed, choice-less, we did it without question, because we value your children, and believe that they are worth protecting.

And now it’s our kids who aren’t safe at school, and few-to-none of our fellow parents appear to be adapting, or even willing to adapt, to protect them. Do they not believe that our children are also worth protecting?

There are more children likely to have a severe outcome due to COVID currently enrolled in BC’s schools than are likely to have an anaphylactic reaction to a food substance in BC’s schools.

And yet, the former are given no protections, while the latter are given all of the protections.

We need you to step up and advocate with us, now, to protect all of our children.

(Because your children are also at risk for COVID, even if you don’t believe that they are.)

How would it feel to have public health and school teams telling you that your child will be in a classroom where peanuts won’t be banned; that their mental health is more important than their physical health, and being in school, even if there are peanuts in their classrooms, is more important than avoiding anaphylaxis? That schools are a “low-risk” environment for your children? That not many children will have an allergic reaction at school, so we don’t need to be proactive to protect the few that might? That you won’t be given a warning that peanuts will be present on any given day, and your child won’t be accommodated to avoid the peanuts in the classroom, nor even school in any way, but don’t worry because “they have all of the tools”?

What tools, you might ask?

Well, they have an epipen, don’t they?

But we both know that an epipen is only a stop gap measure, needed to prevent anaphylaxis while medical care is sought. And in this day and age, getting an ambulance to a person in distress, and then transporting that person to the hospital for timely emergency care, is like hitting the lottery jackpot. You’d better hope your child has mild anaphylaxis and doesn’t need multiple pen injections while they wait.

This is essentially what rare disease and disabled children in BC’s schools, and their parents, are facing and being told right now with regard to COVID, and COVID-related risks.

We know there will be COVID in their classrooms, we will not be told when they’ve been exposed, we will not be supported to keep them safely at home should another parent proactively warn us that their child is positive; universal masking is an excellent form of protection, and it needs to be done universally as both a form of source control (preventing the infection from being breathed out from infected individuals) and prevention (preventing it from being inhaled by susceptible individuals), and that won’t be in place either. HEPA filtration and Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes to remove viral (and other infectious and allergen particles) from the air are denied under the guise of “equity”, except in the most privileged districts, in private schools, and in the classrooms of the few-and-far between clever, COVID-aware teachers. Covert CO2 monitoring shows that many classrooms have poor air quality, suggesting that the HVAC systems, while our government and school districts laud that they have brand spanking new MERV-13s slapped into them, aren’t moving the air sufficiently through classrooms, to prevent the build up of viral COVID particles, leaving maskless children susceptible to breathing them in. Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support guidelines and policies are no longer in place, meaning we aren’t (pro)actively preventing COVID from entering our schools in the first place.

Because of this, 100% of the responsibility for their safety lies on the shoulders of the most vulnerable students. They have to be perfect with their masking 100% of the time. They can’t drink water in their classrooms or school hallways, they can’t eat at school. They can’t have a moment of sensory overload and shift their mask, as that risks breaking the seal. They can’t afford to let their guard down once, lest they risk near-field exposure and transmission from maskless, infected (sometimes symptomatic sometimes not) desk-mates, or exposure to viral particles that have built up over time in poorly ventilated classrooms. And disabled kids who can’t mask? Well they’re entirely left hung out to dry.

OR, like my two older children last year, they attend for only one hour for the entirety of grade three, or only nine afternoons for the entirety of grade six. Because other parents at our school didn’t care, due to the fact that they were mislead by B.C. Public Health statements that are counter to real-world evidence (yes, parents in British Columbia, kids do get and spread COVID, and yes, parents in British Columbia, kids do get and spread COVID at school, and, bonus, they also bring it home with them; kids in BC are not special unicorns 🦄 , they were able to spread viruses, in schools, prior to COVID, there’s no reason to believe they are physiologically different now than they were in December 2019; schools in BC don’t have magic, COVID-repelling forcefields 💫 – and if anyone is reading this and has bought into the false notion that kids and schools in BC are different when it comes to COVID, but not other viruses, so different, in fact, that with fewer protections in place we managed to avoid the spread in schools that was seen in the US, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, the UK, New Zealand, etc, etc, etc, perhaps a little critical thinking is in order on their part?). Because our Premier, Public Health Officer, Regional Public Health representatives didn’t care. Because our school trustees, the school district, and the admin teams within it, didn’t care.

Now, parents of children with peanut allergies, imagine it’s your child, where 100% of the responsibility for their classroom safety lies on their shoulders. Do they sit beside their friend for lunch, carefree, gambling on the other child’s parents caring enough about their child’s allergic classmate so as to send a harder to obtain, more expensive peanut butter alternative in their child’s sandwich? Gambling on them not having any items containing peanuts in their lunch? Do they use the class pencil sharpener, hoping that the classmate who used it ahead of them didn’t have peanut residue on their hands? Do they get to use the manipulatives in math class, on a wish and a prayer that the person who put them away earlier didn’t eat a peanut laced granola bar at recess? What about when they play volleyball in the gym? Do they trust that no one in previous classes had eaten peanuts prior to their gym classes, where they also played volleyball?

So, parents of anaphylactic kids, especially the ones who fought so hard for safety from allergens for their children, and are now sending those same kids to school without masks and disregarding the COVID risks to them and their classmates, we need you to pay attention, and help us advocate for our kids, too, and help protect our kids, too.

After all we did, and continue to do, so for yours.

Send your kids to school in the best masks you can afford. Fight with us for better air quality and AQ monitoring. Fight with us for notifications so we can make accurate risk assessments to protect our kids. Fight with us for our kids to be supported when they have to stay home, not just excluded from their school. Tell us when your kids have COVID.

Teach your kids about what it means to care for other people, just as you expect us to teach our kids to care about your children.

The Parents of Rare Disease and Disabled Kids in BC

P.S.: Parents of abled, immunocompetent children, we need you, too.

Addendum: click here for a helpful video about how COVID spreads in schools, and what we can advocate for to prevent that from happening.

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