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B.C. education minister pushes for complete return to school for elementary students in September

Last Updated Jul 23, 2020 at 5:09 am PDT

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BC's education minister is pushing for a 100 percent return to school for elementary and middle students come September

Rob Fleming says there will be heightened safety precautions & hasn't ruled out making face masks mandatory for students

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s education minister says elementary and middle school students in the province may be looking at a full return to classes in September.

Speaking at the legislature Wednesday afternoon, Rob Fleming says when it comes to going back to class this fall, the province aims for full-time learning for students.

“Education professionals are thinking about how they reengage kids when they’re able to have them returned to the class setting,” Fleming said. “Certainly, for elementary and middle schools, we would like to see schools open 100% for all students.”

In June, schools returned on a part-time return basis, but Fleming said moving forward school will “be in a new normal situation [and] schools will look different.”

Fleming adds it’s still too early to say what kind of health precautions children will have to take, or if face masks will be mandatory in class.

“There’s discussion about masks and of course, continuing to anchor a plan on combating COVID-19 through very strong measures around hand hygiene self-monitoring, frequent cleaning of surfaces — so all those things in combination are the sorts of things that make our schools safe.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Three-quarters of British Columbians think masks should be mandatory for school

While there are still details to iron out, Fleming says a formal announcement from the province is expected next week.

He says Dr. Bonnie Henry will join him in next week’s address for students and parents and update on the alternate arrangements for secondary students.