Vancouver: Most B.C. students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will return to class full time in September, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced Wednesday.
Fleming said, on the advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, students will be organized into “learning groups” to reduce the number of people they come in contact with, cutting the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.
Henry said elementary and middle school learning groups will have a maximum of 60 students, while those in secondary school will have up to 120. Fewer students will be allowed in the learning groups for younger students, as it is more difficult for them to practise safe physical distancing and proper handwashing, she said.
Henry said students in the same learning group will have opportunities to socialize outside of the classroom in shared spaces like hallways and cafeterias, calling the plan a “balancing act” to ensure students have the opportunity for social interactions without creating an environment where the virus could rapidly spread.
The provincial government is putting up $45.6 million to ensure safety measures, including increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces, an increased number of hand-hygiene stations and the availability of masks.
About 200,000 students went back to classes in June, which Fleming said gave officials important information on how to safely welcome students and staff back.