Home Health COVID-19 K-12 schools remain under same COVID restrictions in May-June 2021

K-12 schools remain under same COVID restrictions in May-June 2021

Changes to the K-12 guidelines will continue to be made in consultation with the COVID-19 education steering committee.

Tuesday May 25, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends

Today the BC Government announced a 4-Step Plan to ease BC out of the COVID pandemic from now through to a target date of September 7 where things can get back to normal.

However, we are still in the pandemic, underscored by the fact that the State of Emergency was extended for another two weeks (to June 8, 2021).

Steady as she goes for K-12 schools:

Dr Bonnie Henry, May 25 2021
A happy day for Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry, announcing steps to re-opening society during the ongoing COVID pandemic in four steps, during May 25, 2021 media session.

Nothing has changed for K-12 schools in BC during the transition from the circuit-breaker that was in place until today May 25 through to the end of the current academic school year.

K-12 is mentioned in today’s re-start news release, but not itemized at all in the graphics or live presentation that given today. Its absence was loud, if nothing else than to underscore that the pandemic continues.

Established process:

The Ministry of Health today released these statements to Island Social Trends, clearly showing the management of schools during the pandemic as a separate plank of public health management:

•            “In-class K-12 education will continue to operate under existing safety protocols for steps 1 and 2. In preparation for the return to classes in the fall, the COVID-19 education steering committee will work with public health officials to update safety guidelines.”

•             We already have an established process to determine required health and safety guidelines for schools, working with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the Provincial Steering Committee.

•             Changes to the K-12 guidelines will continue to be made in consultation with the COVID-19 education steering committee, made up of education staff, administrators, parents, Indigenous rights holders and public health officials.

•             We will keep moving forward carefully, informed by data and guided by public health advice. The safety of students and education staff is our top priority.

Careful and safe restart:

Willway Elementary, SD62
COVID public health protocols will remain the same for K-12 schools in BC through to June 30, 2021. [Island Social Trends photo: Willway Elementary School in Langford, May 2021]

With now 63.8% of adults vaccinated with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations steadily declining, BC officials says the province is moving forward with the cautious first step of a four-step plan for what it calls a “careful and safe restart”.

Calling it a “slow and gradual return to a more normal life”, the plan includes safety and health protocols such as mask wearing and physical distancing remaining in place (in fact as mandatory during the initial two steps of the plan).

The announcement about the new 4-step restart plan was led today by Premier John Horgan, along with Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon, together with Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.

COVID, economic recovery, four steps
A four-step plan was released by the BC Government today [click here for the full PDF], toward economic and social recovery in BC while still living with COVID-19 as an infectious disease. [May 25, 2021 | BC Government]

This morning, professional media got a one-hour tech briefing, followed by the 1 pm public livestreamed media teleconference.

4 steps, COVID recovery
Key criteria for moving through 4 steps of reopening the BC economy during the continuing COVID pandemic. [May 25, 2021 – BC Health]

What remains the same:

“What will remain the same — no matter what — is the importance of washing our hands, staying home and staying away from others when we are ill, and getting tested should we develop any symptoms of COVID-19,” said Dr Henry today about the days to come as BC settles in with COVID as ‘just another respiratory virus’ to be dealt with during fall and winter.

In some respects that is wishful thinking — because people’s personal habits are hard to break. But hopefully a pandemic is powerful enough to force the change.

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===== LINKS (provided by BC Government)

To view the May 25, 2021, media presentation on BC’s Restart, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCRestartPlan.pdf

To learn more about BC’s Restart – a four-step plan to bring B.C. back together, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc

To learn about B.C.’s current travel restrictions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/covidtravel

To learn about current PHO restrictions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/COVIDrestrictions

To get registered to get a first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.html

For technical immunization information, visit the BCCDC’s website: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine

For more information on what to expect when you go to get vaccinated for COVID-19, visit: www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/getting-a-vaccine