Rob Fleming the British Columbia Minister of Education has announced that schools will be open for class June 1.
Parents will be able to bring their children to school on a voluntary basis. In order to ensure a safe learning environment. The number of students in school each day will be reduced, with most receiving in-class instruction part-time. School districts will determine scheduling for classes and transportation arrangements. For kindergarten to Grade 5, this means most students will go to school half time (such as alternating days), while grades 6 to 12 will go to school about one day a week. Children of essential workers will still be able to their children to school on a full-time basis.
All boards of education and independent school authorities must implement the following
- desks spaced apart and avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas;
- regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like doorknobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;
- students, educators and staff will be required to clean their hands before entering school property, and there will be more hand-sanitizing and cleaning stations available, with well-stocked supplies;
- staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time;
- staff and students (or their parents/guardians) must assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to be returned home;
- one student per seat on school buses, unless children are from the same house. Consider using plexiglass to separate the bus driver from students; and
- students or employees should not share food or personal items like phones, pens or pencils. Clear protocols also need to be in place for the safe and healthy handling of all food items.
This going to be a gradual approach with 5 stages and each school district must submit a return-to-class safety plan. Each plan is subject to approval by the Ministry.
Childcare providers must follow these guidelines
- maintaining the physical space requirements set out in the Child Care Licensing Regulation. Child care centres have sufficient space to support physical distancing between staff without reducing the number of children in care at any one time.
- organizing children into smaller groups and/or spreading children out to minimize direct physical contact.
- cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at least twice a day. General cleaning of the centre should occur at least once a day with common cleaning and disinfectant products.
- setting up hand-hygiene stations at the entrance, so children can clean their hands when they enter. If a sink with soap and water is not available, provide hand sanitizer but keep out of children’s reach and supervise its use. Additional hand-hygiene opportunities should be built into the daily schedule.
- staggering the timings of pickup and drop-off. A daily check at drop-off may be conducted by asking parents and caregivers to confirm their child does not have symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19 or other respiratory disease. There is no role for screening children or staff for specific symptoms, checking temperatures or COVID-19 testing. Such activities are reserved for health-care professionals.
- having children outside often, including for learning activities, snack time and play time.
- ensuring each child has their own individual meal or snack. Reusable utensils must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
- asking parents and caregivers to only bring personal comfort items (e.g., stuffies) if they are clean and can be laundered at the end of each day.
Listen to the Press Conference here.