BC STUDENTS RETURNING TO SCHOOL IN SEPTEMBER
B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming and Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the province’s plans for school in September yesterday. Starting September 8, we will be moving to Stage 2 of the Education Restart Plan - full-time in-class learning.
Students will be organized into learning groups, a consistent group of staff and students. This will reduce the number of people each student or staff member will come into contact with, reducing the risk of transmission and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities. For elementary and middle school students, this will be a maximum of 60 people. Secondary students will have a maximum of 120 people in their learning groups.
All boards of education and independent school authorities will continue to be required to implement a suite of health and safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the recently updated guidelines from the BC Centre for Disease Control.
The province will be investing $45.6 million to support school districts and independent schools for the start of the school year. This includes more staff and staff time for cleaning schools, improving access to hand hygiene, cleaning supplies, and reusable face masks for staff and students.
More updated health and safety measures include:
Increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, keyboards, desks and chairs; increased hand hygiene with all students, staff and visitors being required to clean their hands before boarding school buses and entering school buildings, before and after eating, using the washroom and using playground equipment.
School districts may also install transparent barriers for people who have more contact with others, such as front desk staff, bus drivers or food services staff, where appropriate.
Older students and staff may use masks in situations where the person is interacting outside their learning group and cannot maintain physical distance for an extended period of time. This includes riding the bus to school where a student may be sitting next to a person outside of their household or learning group. These masks will be available upon request.
If students or staff are mixing outside their learning group for electives, extracurricular activities, sports or social clubs, they will need to maintain physical distancing of two metres, while younger students will be encouraged to minimize physical contact.
Extracurricular activities in middle and secondary schools, including sports, arts or special interest clubs can occur if physical distance can be maintained between members of different learning groups and reduced physical contact can be practised by those within the same learning group.
All students and staff who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days under both provincial and federal orders. This includes students who are attending school from abroad.
To read the full details, please visit the Ministry of Education COVID-19 website.
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.