Central Okanagan schools are not expected to be a target of protesters, says superintendent Kevin Kaardal. (Contributed)

Central Okanagan school officials not expecting protesters after Salmon Arm incident

SD23 superintendent doesn't anticipate any interruptions locally, safety a priority

  • Sep. 21, 2021 12:00 a.m.

After anti-vaccine protesters infiltrated a Salmon Arm school on Friday, Sept. 17, the Central Okanagan School District is prepared, but not expecting any similar demonstrations to take place.

School District 23 has a plan in place in case protesters show up at schools or school-based vaccine clinics but superintendent Kevin Kaardal doesn’t expect there to be any interruptions to students’ learning.

“The RCMP school resource officers are on alert, and principals ensure there is only one controlled entrance to a school,” Kaardal said in an email to Kelowna Capital News.

“Safety is always our priority, and we have existing policies and procedures in place to deal with interruptions to schools.”

On Sept. 17, parents, caregivers and guardians received a notice from School District 83 Superintendent Donna Kriger stating protesters “opposed to vaccinations and masking” had chosen to enter schools in and around Salmon Arm. As a result, schools were placed in “hold and secure” until Sept. 21, encompassing most of two school days.

A hold and secure is used when there is a security concern in the neighbourhood — doors are locked, blinds are drawn and nobody is allowed to enter or leave the school.

As result of protesters entering schools on Friday, both B.C. Premier John Horgan and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth spoke against the actions of protesters, as did Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a Sept. 18 tweet, “There is simply no justifications for these actions.”

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