B.C.'s September return to school may still be hybrid model - InfoNews

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B.C.'s September return to school may still be hybrid model

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June 02, 2020 - 4:08 PM

Whether schools return full-time once September rolls around is anyone's guess, B.C.’s provincial health officer said today June 2.

“We don't know what's going to happen between now and then,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “I expect that there will be a hybrid model but I think it will be different than what we're seeing right now.”

Restarting some in-class learning was important to Dr. Henry because it allowed schools and health officials to understand how they could actually restart learning, logistically.

“We put a lot of thought into it and I hear it's going well, there are small numbers of children which is just fine,” she said.

On Monday, June 1, schools opened with roughly 30 per cent of expected enrolment in attendance.

At the high end were Grade 6 students at 48.3 per cent of expected enrolment, while Grade 12 students were at the low end with 14.5 per cent. These numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning. Other students will gradually be back in their classrooms over the course of this week.

Kindergarten to Grade 5 students are limited to 50 per cent of the school's capacity, with a half-time or alternating schedule. Grade 6 to 12 classes are limited to 20 per cent of the school's capacity and approximately one day a week.

“We will get comfortable with this, and we'll look at how to do it better through the summer,” Dr. Henry said. “So I can't say for sure, but I suspect we will likely have more in classroom (learning), absolutely.... But there will need to be some sort of a hybrid. We'll also need to have provisions in place for if we start to see cases arise in the school community, and we will have our public health processes to support the school communities through that as well.”

Some of these health and safety measures include:

  • limiting the number of students in school, avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas and taking students outside more often;
  • regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;
  • staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time; and
  • asking staff and students (or their parents/guardians) to assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19, with clear policies not to come to school if unwell. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to be returned home.

Local safety plans are posted on each school district's website for parents to access.

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