B.C.’s Premier John Horgan won’t set a date for schools to re-open, but says that if COVID-19 cases start to lessen it could be an option. (Pixabay photo)

Preliminary talks underway for ‘potentially’ reopening schools, pending OK from B.C.’s top doc

Premier John Horgan said it depends on how COVID-19 progresses in the coming weeks

B.C. premier John Horgan says preliminary discussions are underway to discuss how officials would “potentially” reopen schools, but that decision depends on how the number of COVID-19 cases change in coming weeks.

During a news conference on Wednesday (April 15), Horgan was asked when he will start to look at easing current pandemic restrictions, including the reopening of public and private schools.

He said the province would only allow kids back into classrooms if health officials were to see a downward trend in the number of daily positive cases.

“But I look at my colleagues across the country who’ve set arbitrary dates for a return before the data was in, before the science was confirming that, and we’re not going to follow that lead,” he said. “We’re going to look at the numbers as they emerge over the weeks ahead before we make those determinations.”

WATCH: B.C. doing better on COVID-19, Premier John Horgan says

B.C. suspended in-class learning in mid-March with advice from health officials who were seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases being confirmed. Similar measures were taken in other provinces, such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, where a majority of Canadians who have tested positive for the virus reside.

But since then, Quebec Premier François Legault has said that schools could reopen before the planned May 4 date. That comes despite that province seeing the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any region in the country – a total of 14,860 as of April 16.

Ontario, where there has been a total of 8,447 confirmed cases, announced this week it wouldn’t be reopening as it hoped to by May 4. This is the second time the province pushed the date back due to the pandemic.

In the meantime, B.C.’s education ministry has been working to get virtual learning onboarded across every school district.

“We’ve seen some really good success, and, again, a level of collaboration between educators, superintendents, school board trustees, parents, children – the whole continuum of components of our K to 12 system working cooperatively to try and find a way forward through this virtual period,” Horgan said.

Earlier this week, B.C. extended its ongoing provincial state of emergency for another 14 days. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has told the public to expect at least some of the social contact restrictions to stay in place for awhile.

“We’re not anywhere near the end of what we’re going to do with this, and normal is going to look quite different for some time,” she said during a separate news conference.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

Panthers star running back dies on May 21, cause of death not yet known

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

VIDEO: Suspected drunk driver caught on dashcam in Abbotsford

Police say they located vehicle, nearby intoxicated man, but couldn’t tie him to the driver’s seat

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read