Many students across B.C. go back to school today, and though the province will be doing everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID, Education Minister Rob Fleming suggested some new cases are inevitable.
“Look, with 1600 schools in BC it would be the best thing possible to not have a single case or a single outbreak but we know from our friends in Denmark you have to be prepared and there will be some instances where will need to step in and make sure all kids are safe,” Fleming told Vista Radio.
The minister said school districts will use the $242 million in funding that’s been made available to them by the province to hire staff for extra cleaning, new attendants to help bus drivers, invest in remote learning for immune-compromised children and take other measures to contain coronavirus.
Rapid testing will ensure that the cases that do appear don’t spread, Fleming said.
“I think Dr. Henry will tell you the most important thing is to isolate and do an investigation of any case that presents itself in a school where we do things like contact tracing and where required, have people self-isolate if there is deemed to be an exposure risk,” he explained in the interview.
Nevertheless, many teachers and children are feeling worried as a deeply uncertain school year begins.
“I feel like kids’ anxiety is going to be at an all-time high, because not only are we going to have school to worry about, but we’re also going to have this added level of stress,” one 15-year-old told CTV.
In the Skeena region, the RCMP is urging parents to keep safety in mind if their children choose to walk to school instead of taking the bus. Some schools are taking additional time to reopen. Haisla Community School in Kitamaat Village will be opening on September 14, explaining that “The safe re-opening plan at HCS is comprehensive and we don’t want to have missed any details before we welcome back students.”