Education

Enhanced safety measures for K-12 schools

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Education

Enhanced safety measures for K-12 schools

Media Contacts
Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963
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Media Contacts
Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963

Backgrounders

Information about updated guidelines, federal funding

Strengthened health and safety guidelines also include these updates:

  • Activities that include prolonged physical contact should not be a part of physical education or any other classroom learning. For example, activities like tag or touch football are lower risk, since students may only come into contact with each other briefly, whereas activities like wrestling or partner dancing should be avoided.
  • All K-12 staff are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering when they are in a classroom and they are away from their individual desk or workstation.
  • Staff should be assigned to one learning group whenever possible. Staff interacting without a transparent barrier and with more than one learning group, or with students in more than one school, are to practice physical distancing.
  • Staff must practice physical distancing and wear non-medical masks for any face-to-face meetings or interactions, including in the staff room. Staff also must hold meetings virtually whenever possible.
  • Any visitor to a school is required to wear a non-medical mask.
  • Even when wearing a mask, students and staff must still practice physical distancing whenever possible. Exceptions will be made for people who do not tolerate masks for behavioural or health reasons.

Within learning groups, physical distancing should also include avoiding physical contact and minimizing close, prolonged, face-to-face interactions, while spreading out as much as possible within the space available. There should be no crowding, gathering or congregating of people, even when non-medical masks are worn.

School districts and independent schools will be able to spend the second instalment of federal funding in the following areas, based on local needs:

  • hiring teachers to deliver education programs, including extended transition programs;
  • hiring and training custodial and administrative staff to support students in their safe return to schools and to implement school safety plans;
  • purchasing additional non-medical masks or other personal protective equipment;
  • improving ventilation and air systems in schools;
  • increasing hand hygiene, including additional handwashing and hand-sanitizing stations;
  • cleaning equipment and supplies;
  • mental health support;
  • software and computer or tablet loans for students learning remotely; and
  • additional transportation costs to accommodate additional routes and enhanced cleaning.

The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) will distribute the $8.2 million for Indigenous students living on-reserve who attend public schools. This will be used to promote continued learning opportunities and address extraordinary COVID-19 related student needs, while protecting the health, safety and well-being of their citizens during the pandemic. FNESC will be required to report to the Ministry of Education about how the funding is used.

An education steering committee with membership from all education partners, including teachers, school staff, parents, Indigenous rightsholders, trustees and school leaders, has been meeting regularly throughout the pandemic. In January 2021, the committee was expanded to include staff from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control and WorkSafe BC. A provincial co-ordinator has also been appointed to continue to improve COVID-19 processes and make sure COVID-19 related health and safety guidelines are implemented consistently throughout the education system.

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