B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming washes up during a visit to a Victoria middle school for the reopening of part-time classroom instruction, June 2, 2020. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. prepares back-to-school plan for students in COVID-19

Districts will be refining preparations up to Sept. 8

B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming says the province’s back-to-school plan for the COVID-19 pandemic will be presented Wednesday, but it won’t be final until the beginning of the new school year arrives Sept. 8.

Fleming has been criticized in the B.C. legislature for waiting, after other provinces set out their fall education plans. He first set the B.C. announcement for August, then moved it up to July 29, but warns that it won’t be finalized until the fall conditions of the pandemic are known.

“If there is a so-called second wave, or if there are perhaps regional outbreaks just as we plan to move forward with a return to in-class instruction, we have to prepare based on the circumstances of the virus and be able to nimbly move back,” Fleming said Tuesday.

Wednesday’s announcement is designed to “give certainty” for parents about in-class instruction, and conditions will be set out by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. B.C. has an advantage of a partial return to in-class instruction in June, and better control over the spread of the novel coronavirus than most places in North America.

Each of B.C’s 60 school districts will work with revised guidelines up to the day school is set to resume on Sept. 8, Fleming said. Wednesday’s announcement will be an update of the plan released May 15 to end the previous school year, with classroom instruction on alternating days for kindergarten to grade five and one day a week for grades six to 12.

Schools shut in March by a public health order while they were out for spring break, and online or home schooling was improvised for two months before the partial return to class.

RELATED: B.C. schools reopen in June with one-way halls

RELATED: Remote schools have extra COVID-19 challenges

B.C. Liberal education critic Dan Davies pressed Fleming in question period Tuesday, asking for assurances that personal protective equipment would be provided for teachers. Fleming said more than 90 per cent of teachers returned to school in June, and those with specific health needs were accommodated.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read