B.C.’s Premier John Horgan won’t set a date for schools to re-open, but says that if COVID-19 cases start to lessen it could be an option. (Pixabay photo)

Preliminary talks underway for ‘potentially’ reopening schools, pending OK from B.C.’s top doc

Premier John Horgan said it depends on how COVID-19 progresses in the coming weeks

B.C. premier John Horgan says preliminary discussions are underway to discuss how officials would “potentially” reopen schools, but that decision depends on how the number of COVID-19 cases change in coming weeks.

During a news conference on Wednesday (April 15), Horgan was asked when he will start to look at easing current pandemic restrictions, including the reopening of public and private schools.

He said the province would only allow kids back into classrooms if health officials were to see a downward trend in the number of daily positive cases.

“But I look at my colleagues across the country who’ve set arbitrary dates for a return before the data was in, before the science was confirming that, and we’re not going to follow that lead,” he said. “We’re going to look at the numbers as they emerge over the weeks ahead before we make those determinations.”

WATCH: B.C. doing better on COVID-19, Premier John Horgan says

B.C. suspended in-class learning in mid-March with advice from health officials who were seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases being confirmed. Similar measures were taken in other provinces, such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, where a majority of Canadians who have tested positive for the virus reside.

But since then, Quebec Premier François Legault has said that schools could reopen before the planned May 4 date. That comes despite that province seeing the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any region in the country – a total of 14,860 as of April 16.

Ontario, where there has been a total of 8,447 confirmed cases, announced this week it wouldn’t be reopening as it hoped to by May 4. This is the second time the province pushed the date back due to the pandemic.

In the meantime, B.C.’s education ministry has been working to get virtual learning onboarded across every school district.

“We’ve seen some really good success, and, again, a level of collaboration between educators, superintendents, school board trustees, parents, children – the whole continuum of components of our K to 12 system working cooperatively to try and find a way forward through this virtual period,” Horgan said.

Earlier this week, B.C. extended its ongoing provincial state of emergency for another 14 days. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has told the public to expect at least some of the social contact restrictions to stay in place for awhile.

“We’re not anywhere near the end of what we’re going to do with this, and normal is going to look quite different for some time,” she said during a separate news conference.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Health and safety regulations to be followed by schools as they reopen Monday

Ministry of Education wrote a letter to parents dated May 28.

B.C. Court of Appeal upholds lower court decision on western boundary of Treaty 8

Several first nations believe the western boundary was and always has been at the Rocky Mountains

School will look a lot different, says Fort St. James Secondary School principal

The principal wrote a letter to parents informing them about what to expect at school on June 1.

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read