After BC’s Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said recently she didn’t want to pinpoint an exact date on when students in the province may be able to return to the classroom, BC Premier John Horgan said this week that people shouldn’t anticipate “a regular return to education as we know it” until into September.
Horgan made the comments during a press conference in which he announced that BC was extending its provincial state of emergency for two more weeks.
However, “we do expect a gradual increase in the number of students in classrooms,” he said. “We’re working with all of the stakeholders, whether they be support staff, teachers, trustees, or administrators to make that happen, always focusing on what’s in the best interest of British Columbians.”
His comments reflected those of Henry’s who said officials are considering what it will look like when kids ultimately do return to school.
There is a “risk of increased transmission if large numbers of children congregate back together too soon,” said Henry.
That being said, “we have been considering how could we have physical classrooms come back together in a way that protects children and protects the staff, the teachers, the early childhood educators within the educational setting.”
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Horgan and Henry’s comments come on the heels of comments and decisions by premiers of other provinces who have announced they are planning to reopen schools as early as this month, such as in Quebec.
At a press conference earlier this week, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that primary schools throughout the province, excluding in the Greater Montreal area and Laval, are scheduled to reopen on May 11.
“Of course we will continue to follow the situation closely as it evolves,” he said.