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B.C. parents still unclear if kids will return to school amid virus outbreak

Last Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 12:28 pm PDT

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Summary

Parents in B.C. still don't know if their kids will return to class after Spring Break ends

The province is expected to provide an update and direction amid the COVID-19 outbreak on Tuesday

It's expected B.C. will follow most other provinces in keeping Kindergarten to Grade 12 students at home

UPDATE: Premier John Horgan has announced schools Grades K-12 will be suspended indefinitely in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 virus. Read more here.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Parents in B.C. are anxiously awaiting direction on what to do with their kids when Spring Break ends.

They could get some answers as early as Tuesday when Health Minister Adrian Dix provides an update and further direction, likely around noon.

Coquitlam parent George Kovacic says principals, nurses and teachers all want to close the school his children attend but have been told they don’t have the authority to make that decision unilaterally.

“The principals, the public health nurse want to cancel classes but they’re all saying that they don’t have the authority to cancel classes,” he says.

“The principal says [kids] can stay at home so some parents have others have not. I’m worried about the kids being still in school.”

He says his kids will be kept at home no matter what today’s decision brings.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has banned groups larger than 50 people, so sending kids to back to school may not even be an option in two weeks.

On Monday, Dix hinted he’s been talking with his counterparts at the Ministry of Education. However, in a statement to NEWS 1130 Tuesday, the ministry could not confirm when an announcement would be made or what exactly it would entail.

It’s expected B.C. will follow most other provinces in keeping Kindergarten to Grade 12 students at home.

There’s no word yet what will happen in daycares, which remain open across the province. Similar facilities are closed in most of the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta

There have been more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., with more than 420 reported across the country. A total of five people have died in Canada.

The outbreak has forced a temporary shutdown of a number of events nationally, internationally, and locally, with authorities urging people to practice social distancing and stay home.

In Vancouver, restaurants and bars are being forced to close for would-be St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Whistler Blackcomb has closed for the season, as have theatres, gyms, yoga studios and more due to the COVID-19 outbreak.