K-12 students in BC are set to go back to school on Monday, with reinforced safety measures.
Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside said those include measures to reduce crowding, staggering break times, shifting to virtual assemblies and staff meetings, restricting visitors to schools, and the provision of 3-layer disposable masks.
“We’ve been advised by public health that masks are an important layer of protection, and that students and staff will continue to use this important layer of protection while they’re in schools,” Whiteside said.
She added students will be given a refresher on how to wear a mask properly on Monday.
Whiteside said it was also critical for students to complete a daily health check, and stay home if they have any symptoms.
In terms of communicating with the school community, Whiteside said the new system is going to look very different.
“Individual case management and contact tracing is no longer a helpful tool for us in tracking cases in schools,” Whiteside explained.
“We need a proxy to understand what may be happening with COVID and schools, and that proxy will be school attendance. Schools will be monitoring attendance rates closely, and will notify public health and the school community if attendance dips notably below typical rates for this time of year.”
She says parents are also encouraged to share rapid test results with public health, and inform schools if their children are staying home with illness.
“It is essential and it is a priority for all of us that we keep schools open and functioning for our children,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“It’s also important to remember that the structured settings that we have in school have proven to be places that they can learn and interact with others, and have that important emotional, physical, and intellectual growth and development in a way that is safe for everybody in that setting.”
Henry also announced one new Public Health Order. All businesses are now required to have a COVID-19 safety plan.
“As an employer, we know that you have an obligation to do all you can to keep your employment environment safe and your employees safe.