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  • Tracy Sherlock

B.C. schools planning 'near normal' return for fall

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside announced today that B.C. schools are planning a fully in-person return in September. (Photo: B.C. government Flickr)

B.C. students will be back in the classroom for full-time in-person instruction in September, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside announced today. Cohorts and learning groups will no longer be used, she says.

“It will be a near-normal return to school in September,” Whiteside said. “B.C. is one of the few jurisdictions that has kept schools open all year despite the pandemic, thanks to the enormous collective efforts of everyone in the K-12 education system, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to them all.”

Online education is available, as it was before the pandemic, meaning students would have to leave their schools and register for an online school.

Student schedules are expected to be running as usual and extracurricular activities should be able to resume.

Everyone will still be required to do health checks, wash their hands and stay home when sick, she said. The rules about masks will be determined closer to September.

If COVID-19 cases occur, they will be managed and contact tracing will occur, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

Whiteside also announced an additional $43.6 million for schools, including $18 million for learning impacts from the pandemic and $25.6 million in one-time funding.

The one-time funding includes:

- $14.4 million for health and safety, cleaning and supplies

- $5 million to support First Nations students and build capacity within First Nations Education Steering Committee and Métis Nation BC

- $5 million for mental health services

- $1.2 million for independent schools

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