Government Says Full Time School For Students In B.C. This September

July 29, 2020 Updated: July 29, 2020

VICTORIA—Most students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are to return to British Columbia schools full time in September.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said Wednesday enhanced safety measures and additional resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will allow the province to move its education restart plan ahead.

The classroom is an essential part of a child’s social, academic and mental development, and that’s why the province is working hard to ensure children can spend the school year with their teachers and classmates, Fleming said.

On the advice of the provincial health officer, students will be organized into learning groups to reduce the number of people they come in contact with, cutting the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus, Fleming said.

The government is putting up $45.6 million to ensure safety measures, including increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces, an increased number of hand-hygiene stations and the availability of masks.

Staff and students, or kids’ parents, will be expected to watch daily for symptoms of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said students being in class is about getting important social and emotional supports as well as education.

“We know that schools can safely reopen if community transmission is low. Even though we’ve had an uptick, we know we can flatten the curve in B.C.,” Henry said.

Families will hear from their school district or independent school this summer with updated health and safety guidelines, Fleming said.

“The safety of students and staff is paramount, and government will continue to make science-based decisions, following the expert advice of Dr. Henry and her public health team.”

The minister said he understands families are feeling anxious about the return to school.

About 200,000 students went back to classes in June, which Fleming said gave officials important information on how to safely welcome students and staff back.

Henry said learning groups for elementary and middle-school students are to be no greater than 60 people and secondary school groups will be allowed up to 120.

“Looking to September, school is going to look and feel different.”