May 30, 2020

We know that you might have a lot of questions about transitioning to Stage 3 of B.C’s K-12 Education Restart Plan. With that in mind, we’ve put together the answers to the six most frequently asked questions we’ve received from educators to date about Monday’s gradual return to in-class instruction.

If you’re curious about the rationale behind Government’s decision to expand in-class instruction, we invite you to read Friday’s edition of Learn before you go through the questions and answers below.  We also invite you to watch this video message from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to educators and school staff thanking them for their ongoing efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Will there be non-medical masks available for students and staff?  Will students and staff be encouraged to wear masks?
Based on advice from the Provincial Health Officer, the use of non-medical masks isn’t needed in a school environment.  For this reason, students and staff won’t be required to wear one.  That being said, wearing a non-medical mask is a personal choice.  If you or some of your students feel more at ease by wearing one at school, this decision will be respected.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, will still be available for staff who are using it as part of regular precautions based on the hazards of their regular work duties.

How will teachers be supported to ensure a balanced workload?  Have teachers been consulted?
School districts have developed return-to-school instruction plans in order to move to Stage 3 on June 1.  As part of these plans, school districts are outlining the work they’ve done in collaboration with their local union to determine classroom schedules and approaches.  The goal is to balance workloads for teachers to ensure there is appropriate time for teaching in-class and supporting students learning at home.

How many students will be allowed in a school at a time?
School density targets have been established to ensure the number of students in a school at any one time is safe and manageable.  These targets have been reviewed by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and align with public health and safety protocols established by BC Centre for Disease Control.  Please see B.C.’s K-12 Education Restart Plan for the school density targets at each grade level.

How will students and teachers practice physical distancing while at school?
The BCCDC public health guidelines for K-12 school settings recognize that physical distancing can be challenging in a school setting and offer several different methods for teachers and school staff to consider.  See pages 6 and 7 of COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Setting for more information.  As children are at low risk of COVID-19 infection, the focus should be more on minimizing direct physical contact rather than keeping young children 2 metres apart.  Check with your school principal if you’d like to learn more about the specific approach in your school.

Will teachers continue to prepare a report card for June?
Yes, teachers will continue to prepare report cards for their students for June. The Student Reporting Policy provides significant flexibility for schools regarding the content and format of report cards.  Teachers also have the professional autonomy to decide how grades are best determined for their students using both pre- and post-spring break learning. Since many students may not have easy access to specific learning resources aligned to the curriculum, summative assessment should focus on the development of competencies and key literacy and numeracy skills, rather than mastery of specific content.

Does the Provincial Health Officer’s 50-person maximum rule apply to schools?
The Provincial Health Officer’s order is intended to prevent large groups of people from gathering in close quarters with one another.  In the context of schools, it’s safe for more than 50 students and staff to be in a school at any given time if they aren’t all in one area and are practicing physical distancing.  As such, large assemblies of staff and students in schools won’t be held.

This publication may include articles authored by individuals who are not employees of the Province of British Columbia.  The views and opinions expressed in those articles are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Province.  The Province makes no representations or warranties of any kind in relation to this publication, and is not responsible for damage or loss of any kind whatsoever in connection with it.


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Coming Events
  • Happy Summer Holidays!
  • Sept 7: Labour Day (schools are not in session)
  • Sept 8: First Day Back to School (partial day)
  • Sept 23: Business Cttee Mtg
  • Sept 23: Education Cttee Mtg
  • Sept 25: District In-Service Day (schools are not in session)
  • Sept 30: Regular (Public) Board Meeting

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