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“We need to be prepared,”: BC Education Minister on possibility of COVID-19 cases in schools

The return to class is still being met with some anxiety for parents and students.

The first day back at school for the majority of kids is today (Thursday).

In an exclusive interview with Vista Radio, BC Education Minister Rob Fleming was asked about how school districts are using the 242-million dollars in funding that was made available by the province.

“A number of districts are all making investments in remote learning programs for those kids who come from an immune-compromised  family or aren’t ready to return to school to support additional teaching support and teaching positions so that every kid is supported in the learning program.”

“I think some districts will choose additional resources related to cleaning, there’s a number of districts that are hiring significant human resource staff for custodial positions. Rural districts in some cases are hiring attendants to assist the bus driver to get kids safely to and from school to make sure they stay in their assigned seating with their learning groups.”

Many people are also wondering how the province will handle a potential outbreak of cases that may occur at a school.

Fleming admitted all hands will need to be on deck.

“Look, with 16-hundred schools in BC it would be the best thing possible to not have a single case or a single outbreak but we know from our friends in Denmark you have to be prepared and there will be some instances where will need to step in and make sure all kids are safe.”

The Education Minister also touted the province’s testing strategy, where up to 20,000 thousand tests per day are expected to be performed under the government’s fall and winter preparedness plan.

“The testing availability in British Columbia as I mentioned through 80 different sites is well supported in communities around British Columbia and we have almost instant test results within 24 hours or less.”

“Regional medical health officers are the liaisons to the school system and are part of the occupational health and safety planning that is going on in schools around BC and I think Dr. Henry will tell you the most important thing is to isolate and do an investigation of any case that presents itself in a school where we do things like contact tracing and where required, have people self-isolate if there is deemed to be an exposure risk.”

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