Sunday August 23, 2020 | South Vancouver Island, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
School districts are planning their Return to School strategies, which the Ministry of Education says are to be made public on their websites by August 26, 2020.
Those plans were to respond to a plan first released on July 29. It required mandatory attendance but with students, teachers and staff assigned to learning groups (cohorts). In elementary and middle schools those learning groups are to a maximum of 60 people; in high schools the maximum is 120.
Meanwhile, on August 21 the BC Back to School Plan was updated online on August 21, 2020. “Students in B.C. will return to in-class learning September 2020. B.C.’s plan includes new health and safety measures, increased funding for protective equipment like masks and new learning groups to help keep everyone safe.”
Four foundational principles:
B.C.’s Back to School Plan is built on three core principles that they say are to keep everyone safe.
Details on the BC Back to School website:
Health and Safety measures and resources such as posters (PDFs) are available on the BC Back to School website.
Currently $45.6 million for health and safety:
An additional $45.6 million will help schools implement new health and safety measures. That’s about 2% of the provincial education budget.
Details of health and safety include wearing a mask (only mandatory for middle and secondary school students and only in common areas like hallways), physical distancing strategies, riding a school bus, using shared items (surfaces like door knobs), practicing hand washing, cleaning the school (daily specialized cleaning in addition to usual cleaning), installing physical barriers (like in reception areas and cafeterias), and controlling traffic flow (e.g. floor markings, exits, etc).
The investment includes:
- $23 million for more staff and staff time for cleaning schools
- $9.2 million for hand hygiene
- $5.1 million for cleaning supplies
- $2.2 million for reusable face masks for students and staff
- $3 million to support remote learning, including:
- Technology loans
- Software to support students with disabilities or complex needs
- $3.1 million to independent schools
BC Back to School Plan (August 21, 2020 last update)
BCTF Petition asking for better protections in schools (August 22, 2020)
South Vancouver Island school districts (SD61, SD62, SD63, SD79) – Links to their local area plans.