VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Parents and students will soon get a better idea of what a return to school will look like this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The B.C. government is set to release its restart plan on Wednesday, which Education Minister Rob Fleming says will have to be flexible.
Because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus and the possibility of a second wave, Fleming says the plan, developed by a team that includes parents and teachers, could be altered in the weeks to come or even after classes resume.
“If there is a so-called second wave or if there are, perhaps, regional outbreaks just as we planned to move forward in terms of a return to in-class instruction, we have to be prepared based on the circumstances of the virus and transmission to be able to nimbly move back,” he says.
Fleming notes there will be regular updates throughout the summer, however, Wednesday’s announcement is expected to give families a bigger picture look at schooling in the time of COVID-19.
“We certainly want to give certainty to parents, teachers, support staff about what the plan is going forward. We will have school districts work within the revised guidelines to provide additional details throughout the summer,” he explains, adding parents will have time to ask questions ahead of the scheduled restart date of Sept. 8. “So we have some time for that information to get out there and for parents to have discussions, to be able to answer questions both provincially and on a local level.”
Fleming has hinted that elementary and middle school students could be looking at a full return to classes in September.
Schools in B.C. resumed after a COVID-19 related shutdown on a part-time basis in June. Fleming has said moving forward, school will “be in a new normal situation [and] schools will look different.”
A recent survey shows fewer than half of parents in B.C. are planning to send their kids back to school this fall amid the pandemic, however, it’s unclear if that number will change after the province lays out its plan.
Nationally, 59 per cent of parents say their kids will be headed back to school in a couple months.
The plan to get kids back in school is set to be released at 12:30 p.m.