Keeping them open is the "highest priority."
School is starting in B.C. next week and Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that they are not a major source for COVID-19 transmission.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Henry said that it is a top priority to keep schools open for the mental and emotional health of children. She also said that they are keeping them open because they "know that schools are safe. They're the best and safest place for our children and they are essential."
Last week, the government announced that schools would have a delayed return and would need to implement additional safety protocols in response to the Omicron variant.
According to the government website, all schools have to follow certain protocols, such as doing health checks, wearing masks, and reducing crowding.
The website said that schools "with consistently implemented prevention measures have proven to be lower risk throughout the pandemic."
During the press conference, Henry said that she gave schools the task of preparing "plans to safely operate over the coming months with the potential for reduced staff and keeping children safely in school."
Preparing for reduced staff due to COVID-19 was something that she also told businesses to keep in mind, as many have seen significant shortages due to people being sick.
As for why schools are open while many businesses are closed, Henry said that schools are essential to keep open, "just as we've kept grocery stores and pharmacies and hospitals open."
She said that schools "are not a major source of transmission."
"We've seen this consistently and there's no reason to think it will be different now," she said.
She also noted that COVID-19 continues to be mild in most children, but said that if a child is high-risk, parents should consider pausing extracurricular activities.
This article's right-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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