Although the province’s focus is on the next school year, some students could return to classrooms before summer starts, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday (April 27).
Henry said health officials have been working with the education ministry to come up with a plan, but said specific dates were unlikely to be unveiled this week.
“We don’t have a date,” the provincial health officer said. “The decision has not been made about how much, and what, will happen in the near term.”
Henry’s comments came as Quebec announced its Montreal-area elementary schools and daycares will re-open on May 19, with those outside the greater Montreal area set to open a week earlier, on May 11.
In-class instruction, especially for younger students who cannot stay home alone, will need to be in place before parents go back to work, Henry said.
“I expect there will be some children coming back to school before the end of this session,” she said, even if in-person school is for children of essential workers only.
Henry said there would be challenges around physical distancing in schools in the fall, when B.C. is expecting a second wave of COVID-19. She did not rule out face masks altogether.
“It is something we can consider in our circumstances… particularly where you cannot maintain the physical distancing.”
However, no matter how late, and if, school re-starts this year, Henry said the province is not looking at classes over the summer.
Plans for the fall are being made, Henry said, and could include distance learning and “small scale” in-person classes.