B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming washes up during a visit to a Victoria middle school for the reopening of part-time classroom instruction, June 2, 2020. (B.C. government photo)

Lots to learn in COVID-19 orientation week for B.C. schools

Schools step up ventilation, expand to outdoor spaces

Different entrances, different bells and different organization of courses will give students in B.C. schools a lot to get used to as B.C. resumes in-class education in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students return Sept. 10 after two days of staff orientation for the procedures and equipment that have been put in place. Education Minister Rob Fleming says the schools are prepared with improved ventilation, hand sanitizing and in some cases outdoor spaces for breaks and instruction. School districts have been contacting families to prepare them for changes to create learning groups and provide masks for riding buses and navigating hallways.

“I know as a parent I’ve been getting all kinds of emails from the school principal about which entrances and exits your student must use, and staggered start times,” Fleming told CFAX radio in Victoria Sept. 8. “So there’s a lot to absorb. Washing your hands, using portable hand sanitizing stations, paying attention to the bell schedules because they’re different for different students, staying in your learning group, physically distancing wherever possible, both in the classroom and especially in common areas, and wearing a mask if you’re a middle or secondary student who is needing to practice physical distancing outside of the learning group.”

RELATED: B.C. schools create learning groups for COVID-19

RELATED: Return to B.C. schools delayed for orientation

Federal and provincial funds specific to COVID-19 preparations are being used in some districts to set up tents and outdoor structures. The extra money can also be used to cover higher heating bills that will come in as indoor ventilation is maximized and cooler weather sets in. B.C. school heating systems have been fitted with specialized filters to clear air.

If a coronavirus case is suspected, designated on-site staff isolate the student or staff member, and regional public health authorities are the “de facto medical health officers” for each school district they serve, Fleming said. Once a case is confirmed by testing, public health investigators contact everyone who may have been exposed to the infected person.

“We definitely hope we’re not going to see that, but we have 1,600 schools in B.C. and we need to be prepared in case we do see that,” Fleming 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

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Six additional COVID-19 cases overnight in Interior Health region

The total number of cases within the region is now at 486

Controversy in Fraser-Nicola riding as NDP names their candidate

Entire riding association executive resigns after Aaron Sumexheltza wins NDP nomination

New physician unexpectedly leaves Ashcroft clinic

Dr. Stephen Akinkuni started work at the Ashcroft Family Medical Practice in March 2020

Lions want to make Smile Cookies campaign a roaring success

One hundred per cent of funds raised will go back into the community

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read