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  • Tracy Sherlock

How does B.C.'s school plan compare to Ontario's plan or the Harvard recommendations?

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Schools in B.C. will return in September under Stage 2, the definition of which was changed prior to this week's announcement.

The provinces of B.C. and Ontario announced their back-to-school plans this week, while Harvard University's Chan School’s Healthy Buildings Program released a comprehensive set of guidelines as well.

As the Harvard plan notes, schools cannot stay closed forever.

"Keeping schools closed comes with massive, long-term individual and societal costs. Many children cannot effectively learn, grow, engage, socialize, be active, eat healthy food, or get support until schools reopen. Parents and caregivers cannot go back to work until children go back to school," the plan's authors note.

They also acknowledge that a risk-reduction strategy is different from having a goal of zero cases.

"There is no such thing as ‘zero risk’, in anything we do, and certainly not during a pandemic," they write. "However, scientific evidence indicates that risks to students and staff can be kept low if schools adhere to strict control measures and dynamically respond to potential outbreaks.

"There is no perfect plan to reopen schools safely, only ‘less bad’ options."

The three plans are all slightly different and I've compared them here.

UPDATE: A reader from Ontario has rightly pointed out that it is only "designated" high school districts that will run with hybrid systems. There are 24 designated districts, including Toronto. Another reader suggested I add the per student extra funding to make it clearer. Ontario's extra funding is approximately $154 per student and B.C.'s is approximately $83 per student.

I would love to hear your thoughts about B.C.'s return to school plans, or the chart above. If I've missed something, let me know.

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