School is officially back in session come September. The 2020/2021 school year will see kids split into learning groups, schools with enhanced hygiene, and much more. Despite some changes, B.C.'s back to school plan will aim to make classes as close to normal as they can get.

In a statement on Wednesday, August 12, B.C. confirmed that schools will restart on Thursday, September 10, two days after their previously planned start date.

These classes will be full time and separated into "learning groups" to keep everyone safe. This will be the norm for schooling until B.C. enters stage 4 of their recovery plan.

Here's what class will look like.

Learning Groups

According to the BCCDC, students will be put into bubbles of at most 60 people in elementary and middle school. These will be expanded to 120 in high school.

These students will interact mostly with each other throughout the school year, semester, or quarter, without having to keep two metres apart. The groups can be made of one class or multiple classes that work with each other.

As a result, all K-12 schools will be based on a classroom model, where everyone in a learning group takes classes together with the same staff. For electives outside of the homeroom, they'll need to practice social distancing.


COVID-19 has a "very low infection rate in children" according to the BCCDC, but they'll still make sure everyone's washing their hands frequently.

However, unlike other provinces, masks are not mandatory. They're still recommended when students can't social distance with someone outside of their group, but "no student is required to wear a non-medical mask if they do not tolerate it," according to Worksafe BC.

Cafeterias will still serve food, though sharing snacks are strongly discouraged.


When kids return to class on Thursday, September 10, they'll get an orientation to introduce all the big changes.

"Students will be assigned to their class, find out who is in their learning group, practise their new routines and familiarize themselves with how to safely move from the class to outdoor and common areas of the school," according to a release.

While the broad strokes of the plan are in place, health authorities and education staff are still hammering out the final details. They'll have more detailed guidelines out by Monday, August 17.

In the meantime, they're trying to ensure kids will have as normal a school experience as they can get in these times.

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