B.C.’s Premier John Horgan won’t set a date for schools to re-open, but says that if COVID-19 cases start to lessen it could be an option. (Pixabay photo)

Preliminary talks underway for ‘potentially’ reopening schools, pending OK from B.C.’s top doc

Premier John Horgan said it depends on how COVID-19 progresses in the coming weeks

B.C. premier John Horgan says preliminary discussions are underway to discuss how officials would “potentially” reopen schools, but that decision depends on how the number of COVID-19 cases change in coming weeks.

During a news conference on Wednesday (April 15), Horgan was asked when he will start to look at easing current pandemic restrictions, including the reopening of public and private schools.

He said the province would only allow kids back into classrooms if health officials were to see a downward trend in the number of daily positive cases.

“But I look at my colleagues across the country who’ve set arbitrary dates for a return before the data was in, before the science was confirming that, and we’re not going to follow that lead,” he said. “We’re going to look at the numbers as they emerge over the weeks ahead before we make those determinations.”

WATCH: B.C. doing better on COVID-19, Premier John Horgan says

B.C. suspended in-class learning in mid-March with advice from health officials who were seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases being confirmed. Similar measures were taken in other provinces, such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, where a majority of Canadians who have tested positive for the virus reside.

But since then, Quebec Premier François Legault has said that schools could reopen before the planned May 4 date. That comes despite that province seeing the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any region in the country – a total of 14,860 as of April 16.

Ontario, where there has been a total of 8,447 confirmed cases, announced this week it wouldn’t be reopening as it hoped to by May 4. This is the second time the province pushed the date back due to the pandemic.

In the meantime, B.C.’s education ministry has been working to get virtual learning onboarded across every school district.

“We’ve seen some really good success, and, again, a level of collaboration between educators, superintendents, school board trustees, parents, children – the whole continuum of components of our K to 12 system working cooperatively to try and find a way forward through this virtual period,” Horgan said.

Earlier this week, B.C. extended its ongoing provincial state of emergency for another 14 days. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has told the public to expect at least some of the social contact restrictions to stay in place for awhile.

“We’re not anywhere near the end of what we’re going to do with this, and normal is going to look quite different for some time,” she said during a separate news conference.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

New library to be built in downtown Kaslo

The building will cost $3 million

Nelson lacks enough supporting housing to meet homeless demand: report

The annual study shows permanent shelter is needed for people experiencing homelessness

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Nelson outdoor photo exhibit reflects physically distanced life

Portraits of a Pandemic runs until Oct. 15 at Lakeside Park

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read