VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Premier John Horgan announced Tuesday all schools Grades K-12 will be suspended indefinitely in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
How schools will resume has yet to be announced, and daycares will remain open for now.
Education Minister Rob Fleming said high schools are working with post-secondary institutions to help graduates move on to university or college in September.
“As the minister of education, one of my responsibilities is to make sure that kids and staff and families involved in the school communities are kept as safe as possible,” Fleming said.
“We are used to schools being safe places, where kids learn and grow and socialize. But as the global pandemic, COVID-19, is evolving quickly, and is having a growing impact in British Columbia, we have to take action today to protect our students and staff and keep our schools safe.”
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) March 17, 2020
Under the direction of the provincial health officer, Fleming is ordering all schools to suspend in-class instruction until further notice immediately.
More than 99 per cent of students are already on spring break, he said.
A small number of independent schools currently in session are also being directed to suspend operations.
“We also expect school districts and independent schools will have plans in place to maintain some level of service for children of people who are performing essential service on the front lines to combat COVID-19 – people like teachers, medical health professionals, first-responders and pharmacists,” Fleming said
He also said every student will receive a final mark.
“All students who are on track to move to the next grade in the fall will do so. For grades 10 and 11 students, graduation assessments will be postponed,” Fleming said.
“Every student eligible to graduate in Grade 12 this year will graduate. The only graduation assessment required for Grade 12 students in Grade 10 numeracy assessment.”
Fleming added school meal programs are being reviewed to ensure kids in need don’t suffer.
Horgan said daycares will remain open for now, as they have been deemed essential. But he added parents should be making plans in case that changes suddenly.
Daycares will remain open. @jjhorgan says at this point guidance they have from BCs top doc is it’s essential. But adds parents should be making plans in case this changes suddenly.
#bcpoli #covid19 pic.twitter.com/YIBJzLEESm
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) March 17, 2020