B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce partial reopening of schools, B.C. legislature, May 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce partial reopening of schools, B.C. legislature, May 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. work, school restart can’t be rushed, John Horgan says

Albertans have right to visit while U.S. border stays closed

The return of part-time school for a few weeks in June is not a signal for a return to normal, and businesses should take care as they bring employees back during the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. Premier John Horgan says.

Taking questions after a cabinet meeting May 20, Horgan gave assurances to teachers and other employees that the province’s “phase two” reopening of the economy will have some “bumps on the road” but will be done safely.

“We want to do a dry run for teachers, for support staff for students, to see what physically distant school looks like,” Horgan said, emphasizing that each school district will make its own detailed plans to finish the school year interrupted by coronavirus restrictions.

B.C. schools have continued operating through public health restrictions, with in-class instruction for the children of essential workers. That is set to step up starting June 1, with part-time classroom instruction for kindergarten to grade five, likely alternating days, and one day a week for grade six and up.

“These are times filled with anxiety, but we’ve tried to reduce that anxiety as much as possible by putting in a plan that will allow for physical distancing for teachers and kids, as well as making sure that we’re reminding children of how joyous school can be,” Horgan said. “For those kids who are having challenges with online learning, this is an opportunity to get a little bit of face-to-face instruction.”

RELATED: B.C. to begin part-time classroom instruction June 1

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended 30 days

As restaurants, pubs, hair salons and other businesses begin to come back to operation, Horgan had advice for the operators.

“Employers should not be forcing employees to come to work if they’re not ready to do so,” he said.

Horgan was asked about the extension of Canada’s border closure with the U.S. for non-essential travel, while travel across Canada continues, including to Quebec where the COVID-19 infection rate is higher than most of the U.S. The international border restriction has been extended for at least another 30 days to June 21. Canadians have a constitutional right to travel within the country, he said.

“I’m pretty happy with the border efforts we’ve got in place today,” since B.C. government staff were sent to border crossings to make sure people returning to Canada have a 14-day self-isolation plan, Horgan said. Since then, 40-45,000 people have crossed into B.C. and only about 150 didn’t have a written plan and required government-supervised quarantine, he said.

Electronic tracking has not been necessary, and “the old telephone and knock on the door” has been enough to make sure people self-isolate, he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read