Parents will have the choice of bringing their children back to class this school year.

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming announced that in-class instruction will resume on a part-time basis June 1st with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

This is as part of BC’s Restart Plan, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September if it’s safe to do so.

“British Columbians have worked hard to flatten our curve,” Horgan says. “As we move into the next phase of our pandemic plan after the May long weekend, the science shows us that we’re ready to bring students back to school safely on a gradual and part-time basis.”

Horgan added that this will be “welcome news for many families who have struggled to adjust to remote and online learning, and for parents who are going back to work.”

“At every step, we will move slowly and make health and safety our top priority. B.C. has done well under the guidance of our provincial health officials, and now is the time to take this next step together,” Horgan says.

To make sure schools are safe for students and staff, the number of students in school each day will be reduced, with most receiving in-class instruction part-time.

School districts will determine scheduling for classes and transportation arrangements.

For kindergarten to Grade 5, this means most students will go to school half time (such as alternating days), while Grades 6 to 12 will go to school about one day a week.

Children of essential service workers and students needing additional supports will have the option to attend school full time.

Families that decide not to send their children to class may continue learning from home.

“School is the place where kids learn how to connect with others and grow together, and it’s incredibly important for students who need extra support to get more time with their teachers and support workers,” says Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

“We’ve looked at what measures other jurisdictions are putting in place and we’re taking direction from our provincial health officials, so students, educators and staff know we’re taking every precaution to protect their health and safety,” Fleming adds.

The Ministry of Education has developed a five-stage approach to operate schools, depending on risk of transmission.

Schools will also have plans in place for each stage, ensuring they are ready to make changes if there is a risk of transmission, a second wave or a community outbreak.