B.C. government to outline plan on bringing more kids into schools this year

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming are expected to provide details Friday on the optional return of more K to 12 students to classrooms in the province.

The province has been grappling with welcoming more students back to school on either May 25 or June 1, based on the transmission of COVID-19 cases in the school districts. Health officials must sign off on any school district’s plan to return to school.

The government’s announcement will be carried live at 10 a.m. PT on BC1, CKNW, the Global Facebook page and here on the Global BC website.

The return is expected to focus heavily on students from kindergarten to Grade 5. Students will either return on Monday and Wednesdays or Tuesday and Thursdays.

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Students from grades 6 to 12 will continue to rely on virtual learning with some options for in-class time.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has raised concerns around what happens if a student starts showing COVID-19 symptoms while at school. Teachers have also expressed concern about doing both virtual and in-class teaching at the same time and whether there will be personal protective equipment for them.

Students, teachers and staff will be expected to wear non-medical masks when doing group activities. Kids who do not return to classes will be assured they are receiving the tools necessary to keep up with their classmates.

Horgan said last week that the province will be expanding access to child care and in-class learning.

“We understand that parents have questions about the safety of their children as they return to school,” the premier said then. “It’s OK for parents to be concerned. I want to reassure you that many schools are already operating safely with in-class learning for the kids of essential workers.”

Horgan says the goal is to have a “full resumption” of classes in September.

Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen will also be part of the announcement.

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