FILE – B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Finance Minister Carole James at the B.C. legislature in November 2019. (Province of B.C.)

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

News comes as four deaths and more than 100 cases reported in B.C.

British Columbia is suspending K-12 classes indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier John Horgan said Tuesday.

The news comes as the province has seven deaths and at least 185 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Gatherings of 50 or more people have been banned and health officials are telling people to stay in Canada. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians to “stay home” if at all possible. The province declared a public health emergency just hours after announcing the suspension of classes.

“This is a crisis situation, there’s no making that sound any better,” Horgan said. He said a decision on when classes return will be made in the future.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said all students who are currently on track to move onto the next grade, or to graduate, will do so and the province is working with post-secondary institutions.

Arrangements will also be made to help provide school meals for at-risk students, he noted.

Although the vast majority of students are on spring break currently, Fleming said students who are still in class – Nechako Lakes students and some independent schools – will be told close immediately.

“We’ve urged schools and school districts to begin planning now to ensure a continuity of learning while in-class instruction is suspended in B.C. schools indefinitely,” Fleming said.

Horgan said childcare will remain available but did not provide details.

“Schools are not boarded up,” he said, and can be used for something other than K-12 instruction.

Some schools will remain open so kids of essential workers can still receive care, Fleming said. He said the province was gathering information about how many of the province’s students would qualify.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said this was “the right decision” to protect teacher, staff and students.

READ MORE: B.C. School Sports suspends spring season

READ MORE: New phone lines, self-isolation guide for COVID-19 in B.C.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

READ MORE: ‘It’s going to be hard’: B.C. bans gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

READ MORE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at B.C. care home, as number of cases grows to 103

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

MP Morrison ‘disappointed’ in six-week delay for wage subsidy support

Kootenay-Columbia MP says small businesses and employees need financial help now

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

LETTER: Ophthalmologist still needed in Nelson

Reader Kurt Hilger says the Star’s March 12 story was misleading

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Most Read