B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming tours a Greater Victoria school on June 2, 2020, as classes restart amid the pandemic. (Don Craig/Government of B.C.)

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

B.C. schools were at 30 per cent of expected enrolment for the first day of in-class instruction since classes were cancelled in March.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said that equates to about 60,000 students having returned to class on Monday.

“We hope the June restart is part of something that will let us have an even stronger start in September,” Fleming said during a Tuesday (June 2) press conference.

He reiterated that school remains optional during June.

“A lot of kids have missed in-class instruction and there is really not substitute for that… it’s an option for parents. We respect whatever choice they make,” Fleming said. Families have the option, he noted, to send kids back to school later in the month, as well as to pull them out if they feel conditions are no longer satisfactory.

Attendance figures for Monday ranged from 48 per cent for Grade 6 students to 15 per cent for Grade 12s. Classes remain small in size, with kindergarten to Grade 5 students having a limited to 50 per cent of school capacity, and older students limited to 20 per cent. The younger students are on an alternating or half-time schedule, while older ones are at about one day a week.

About 90 per cent of teachers have returned to in-class instruction across B.C., with the rest given accommodations to work from home. Some teachers have been laid off, Fleming noted, per the rules of the B.C.Teachers’ Federation collective agreement.

“What we expect from most districts… they expect every teacher that is receiving a technical layoff notice today to be rehired and teach domestic, B.C. kids,” he said. “We don’t expect any layoffs will be permanent for B.C. teachers.”

Part of that curriculum will include more learning about Black culture and history in B.C., Fleming said, in light of protests against racism and police brutality in the U.S.

Fleming said every student is expected to self-monitor for symptoms prior to coming to school for the day.

Fleming said a decision about how schooling would look like in the fall would come by mid-August.

“It’s likely that we will have to have a hybrid system again until we have a vaccine, until the pandemic is officially over.”

Speaking at a press conference later on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she couldn’t predict how the virus would evolve over the summer months.

”We don’t know what’s going to happen between now and then,” she said, adding that it was “very likely” that some learning would continue to be remote and online.

“I think it will be different than what we are seeing right now.”

Correction: The initial report said that 30 per cent of B.C. students had returned to classes. In fact, it is 30 per cent of expected enrolment due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures.

READ MORE: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doctor urges caution for protesters amid 24 COVID-19 cases, 1 death in two days


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

British ColumbiaCoronavirusEducation

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Cumberland wants more done to stop drug deaths

Motions include writing Dr. Bonnie Henry, holding naloxone workshop

Courtenay theatre gets support for livestream ‘hybrid’ shows this year

Island Coastal Economic Trust funds help Sid Williams Theatre with infrastructure, training

Military police training in Comox Valley

Latest quarterly session for training is July 6-8

Solar, seismic work among Comox Valley school district requests

District also wants to get a new roof on top of Mark R. Isfeld Secondary

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read