will return to school next month and can look forward to full-time, in-person learning and resuming sports, music and other extracurricular activities, while mask requirements and other health and safety measures remain in place to keep schools safe.
“We know how excited students and families are about being back in school with extracurricular and sports programs and how important it is for children to be connected to their teachers and friends on a full-time basis,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “We also know we can do this safely, even as the pandemic continues to present challenges. B.C. was one of the few jurisdictions in Canada to keep schools open and safe last year thanks to the monumental efforts of everyone in the education system. The precautions we are announcing today allow students to continue learning in school with safeguards in place, so they have every opportunity to achieve their best.”
Research by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) last year noted a significant impact on students from remote learning, including interrupted learning, increased child stress, decreased connection, increased loneliness and mental and emotional health effects.
Studies by the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and Fraser Health Authority showed that after a resumption of in-class learning, schools were not significant sources of COVID-19 transmission.
In addition to the continuation of indoor mask requirements for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4 to 12, changes to the health and safety measures also include the ability for health authorities to introduce additional regional measures specific to individual schools or school districts in instances where community transmission rates are higher.