Monday November 16, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
Dr Henry said today that she pondered the idea of winter break for public schools coming sooner than normally scheduled, due to the continued transmission of COVID-19 in the general community.
Today she repeated the known finding that transmission is presently still lower in schools than in the general community.
Children under age 10 presently comprise 3.94% of test-positive COVID cases in BC. Youth ages 10 to 19 presently comprise 8.18% of the province’s 22,944 total cases.
A longer winter break where families are home in shared closed spaces could foster increased transmission. COVID transmits better in closed spaces with limited ventilation, and when people are in close contact and not wearing masks.
She noted that a high fever is not a common symptom of COVID-19, and that’s the reason why temperature checks are not done in schools.
Meanwhile, given that there have been outbreaks in schools in BC, the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) this weekend reiterated their call for smaller class sizes, something their president Teri Mooring has been putting to the Ministry of Education since July.
If instructional days were to be lost due to an unexpected early winter break, that would pose a challenge to school districts for how to regain those hours to meet Ministry of Education requirements. However, if remote learning were offered and continued up to the pre-scheduled winter break date, that would eliminate the challenge around meeting the required number of instructional days.