The B.C. Government has made the call to temporarily close all K-12 schools in the province amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, Rob Fleming, Provincial Minister of Education, said that all B.C. schools will suspend classes until further notice.

“We’ve urged schools and school districts to begin planning now to ensure a continuity of learning while in-class instruction is suspended in B.C. schools indefinitely,” said Fleming.

Fleming added that school districts will be expected to maintain some services for children of workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as teachers, first responders, and health care workers.

According to Fleming, students will still receive grades despite the indefinite closure.

“I want to reassure parents and students that every student will receive a final mark, all students on track to move to the next grade in the fall will do so,” explained Fleming. “I know parents of students in grade 12 will have unique concerns, every student eligible to graduate grade 12 this year will graduate.”

Fleming added that issues faced by vulnerable students, such as meal programs and childcare services still need to be addressed. Those programs will be considered by schools as plans are made.

Fleming is urging unity between schools, parents, and the community during the unprecedented time that province is in.

“We don’t have all the answers today, we’re in a fast-moving situation. As COVID-19 evolves we must work together to meet the needs of students and school communities.”

Parents are advised to inform their children about the situation and the decisions made by the Provincial Government on Tuesday.

“Let kids know the steps that have been announced, let them know that they’re designed to best protect them and to best protect the people most vulnerable to COVID-19, elders, seniors, their grandparents.”