Two weeks – or one full “incubation period” – after schools reopened for in-classroom instruction in BC, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday that there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the province connected to the reopening.
“We knew that it was going to be a challenging thing, but the schools have gone really well,” Henry said during a press conference on Monday. “I’ve been really pleased with the reports I’ve heard, it’s not been perfect by any means, and we’re figuring it out.”
And with classrooms now back in session, Henry said she has received “lots of cool notes from happy children who have gone back and have at least been able to see their friends, and I think the measured way that we’ve done it has made it easier for everybody to learn how to adapt.”
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She conceded that new coronavirus cases could still arise within the school system, “but so far… it’s going well, and I think we’re learning some really important things that will help us prepare through the summer and into the fall, and that’s a very important thing as well.”
In the meantime, Henry said she is “extremely proud of all of the staff and the educators in the school system. There are children who absolutely needed to be back in that in-classroom environment and this has been incredibly important for them.”
Under Phase 2 of the province’s restart plan, schools reopened on June 1, and Education Minister Rob Fleming said that 60,000 students returned to the classroom the first Monday back.
“We hope that the June restart is part of something that will help us have an even stronger start to school in September,” said Fleming at the time. “We know that a lot of students have struggled at home … and I know teachers have done incredibly innovative things to make learning fun and engaging, but a lot of kids have missed in-class instruction, and there really is no substitute for that.”