BC schools to reopen Monday with enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols
Back to school is set for Monday, January 10, and there will be enhanced COVID-19 safety measures in place as cases of Omicron continue to spread.
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside addressed the anxiety many students, teachers, and parents are facing as she announced the changes that would be in place. Whiteside called the new protocols “reinforced safety measures.”
Students will take part in an orientation on Monday, to get them adjusted to the new measures. Three-layered masks will be provided to all students who need them, and new measures will be implemented to prevent crowding during breaks.
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Whiteside also announced that BC schools would be shifting to virtual assemblies and virtual staff meetings. For the time being, school visitors will no longer be permitted.
“What Monday will look like when students come back to class is a refresher on the proper way to use a mask, the importance of using a mask, as well as a refresher on the overall safety plan,” said Whiteside.
“We will ensure that these masks are available at school for anyone who needs one, and it is critical that every single day before coming to school students complete the daily health check.”
Whiteside acknowledged that it was likely that most schools will be impacted by the Omicron variant. She also addressed the concern from parents on a perceived lack of transparency from schools, and that work was being done to communicate with the larger school community in a better way.
“I understand that parents and caregivers want to know what’s happening with COVID in schools, and so we have worked with public health on a system to ensure that we can continue to provide communication to parents. This is going to look though very different from what has been in place,” she said.
Parents will be notified of outbreaks.
Whiteside also acknowledged that there would be bumps in the road as BC schools reopen, and online learning will likely play a huge role. Online learning will be triggered based on a determination on whether enough staff are able to work.
“It’s a difficult time for students, staff and families in this pandemic continues to present challenges for all of us in our communities. ”