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B.C. students head back to class on Monday

B.C.’s education minister shared the details of what school will look like when K-12 students return to in-person classes next week, with a number of updates to the safety plan.

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said students will be attending in-person, with virtual classes when needed, similar to before. That said, a few things will look different.

“Schools will be open on Monday with reinforced safety measures in place, including the provision of three-layer disposable masks,” said Whiteside. “There will be measures to reduce crowding, to stagger break times, we will be shifting to virtual assemblies and staff meetings and we will be restricting visitors to schools for the time being.”

Whiteside said the masks are the same ones school districts have been supplying to students throughout the pandemic, but extra attention will be paid to ensure supply.

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Staff and students are also being asked to pay close attention to their health.

“It is critical, that every single day, before coming to school, students and staff complete a daily health check and stay home if they have any symptoms,” said Whiteside.

“While our goal is to have students learning in classrooms, we recognize that there will likely be temporary shifts in how and where some students learn.”

Communication with parents on the spread of COVID-19 through schools will be changed, as well.

“Schools will be monitoring attendance closely and notify public health and the school community if attendance dips notably below typical rates for this time of year,” explained Whiteside. “That will trigger a response from public health, which may include an investigation and rapid testing to get a better understanding of what’s going on on the ground.”

Parents are urged to report rapid test results to public health, and notify the school if their child is staying home because of an illness.

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