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B.C. educators plan back-to-school as students wind down for summer

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B.C.'s steering committee is planning what back-to-school might look like in September

Educators are dealing with the struggle of planning without knowing what COVID-19 might bring in the months ahead

The province is expected to provide details throughout the summer, with a plan expected in August

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – School may be out for the summer, but there’s no break for the steering committee planning what it’ll look like when students return in September.

The province is preparing for what’s never been done before — planning for back to school while not knowing what the next couple of months will bring.

“The science of this virus is the most important thing advising us on how to do everything safely,” Education Minister Rob Fleming says. “The science informs the health and safety protocols and the practices that we are going to use for the restart.”

He notes the committee has learned from the partial restart of schooling in June, adding what’s worked was climatizing kids to the new normal, and teaching them the dos and don’ts of safe school in a pandemic.

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Going forward, plans include looking at what kind of teaching and learning resources will be required in a school year that will be defined by expecting the unexpected. Fleming says these resources will need to be flexible if a return to school reverts back to at-home learning.

“We may have to move backwards after we plan to move forward for September. All of these contingencies need to be planned for and are being planned for,” he explains, adding “substantive” updates will be provided throughout the summer.

“Probably toward the second or third week of August we will talk and brief the public on exactly what the schedule is like for the restart.”

Fleming admits one area that needs work is increasing the number of high school students returing to class. That age group had the lowest in-school attenance in June.