B.C. had laid out its educational strategy for the fall of 2020. On Wednesday, July 29, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, and Rob Fleming, the Minister of Education, announced that students will be returning to school in September. But a bunch of changes will be taking place to make the B.C. school plan safe for students and staff.
"The classroom is an essential part of a child’s social, academic, and mental development, and that’s why we are working hard to ensure students can safely spend the next school year with their teachers and classmates," said Fleming in a public address.
B.C. is implementing a five-stage plan for its education system amidst COVID-19. Both high school students and K-7 students will be headed back to school full time. Previously, the Stage 2 document stated high school kids would only be going back to school for two days a week, but it has since been updated.*
The government is also putting in place the system of "learning groups." The groups aim to help students maintain physical distancing while within school premises.
According to the government, learning groups are a "group of students and staff who remain together throughout the school quarter, semester or year and who primarily interact with each other."
Students do still need to maintain physical distancing when they're hanging out with their learning group.
Basically, it's so you can interact with a fraction of the student body instead of the entire school.
The B.C. government is also trying out a staggered approach. This means there will be breaks, lunch, and classroom times to maximize physical distancing among students and staff.
Neither students nor staff are required to wear masks while in school, reported Global. But the government is making masks available to staff should they request it.
"We ask for families and workplaces to continue to be flexible as we come into the fall. We’ve put a lot of thoughtful work and consideration into reopening schools this fall and in making sure we’re supporting children in ways that keep them, the people who teach them, and our communities safe," said Dr. Henry.
Students will be getting "full time instruction" this fall, as per the government, but the curriculum and learning activities will be designed to maintain space between students and staff.
While everyone will be getting full-time education one way or another, it sure will look different.
*This article has been updated.