Student washing hands in a classroom. (flickr.com)
The numbers are in from the first day of in-class instruction across British Columbia.
The province reopened schools to all students on Monday, with about 60,000 students coming back.
That’s roughly 30 per cent of expected enrolment.
At the high end were Grade 6 students at 48.3 per cent, while Grade 12 students were at the low end with 14.5 per cent.
These numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning.
The province expects other students to gradually be back in their classrooms over the course of this week.
As part of Stage 3 of B.C.’s return to schools, all families have been given the option to have their children back in classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
Kindergarten to Grade 5 students are limited to 50 per cent of the school’s capacity, with a half-time or alternating schedule.
Grade 6 to 12 classes are limited to 20 per cent of the school’s capacity and approximately one day a week.
Children of essential service workers, and students who need more support will continue to be offered full-time classroom instruction.
Families who choose not to send their children to school are still being supported by teachers remotely, the province said. Schools are designating specific time for teachers to focus on remote education.
Families that change their minds about in-class learning are asked to contact their child’s school as soon as possible.
All school districts have health and safety plans approved by the Ministry of Education that follow strict guidelines provided by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC.
Some of these health and safety measures include:
- limiting the number of students in school, avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas and taking students outside more often;
- regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;
- staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time; and
- asking staff and students (or their parents/guardians) to assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19, with clear policies not to come to school if unwell. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to be returned home.