B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming washes up during a visit to a Victoria middle school for the reopening of part-time classroom instruction, June 2, 2020. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming washes up during a visit to a Victoria middle school for the reopening of part-time classroom instruction, June 2, 2020. (B.C. government photo)

Lots to learn in COVID-19 orientation week for B.C. schools

Schools step up ventilation, expand to outdoor spaces

Different entrances, different bells and different organization of courses will give students in B.C. schools a lot to get used to as B.C. resumes in-class education in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students return Sept. 10 after two days of staff orientation for the procedures and equipment that have been put in place. Education Minister Rob Fleming says the schools are prepared with improved ventilation, hand sanitizing and in some cases outdoor spaces for breaks and instruction. School districts have been contacting families to prepare them for changes to create learning groups and provide masks for riding buses and navigating hallways.

“I know as a parent I’ve been getting all kinds of emails from the school principal about which entrances and exits your student must use, and staggered start times,” Fleming told CFAX radio in Victoria Sept. 8. “So there’s a lot to absorb. Washing your hands, using portable hand sanitizing stations, paying attention to the bell schedules because they’re different for different students, staying in your learning group, physically distancing wherever possible, both in the classroom and especially in common areas, and wearing a mask if you’re a middle or secondary student who is needing to practice physical distancing outside of the learning group.”

RELATED: B.C. schools create learning groups for COVID-19

RELATED: Return to B.C. schools delayed for orientation

Federal and provincial funds specific to COVID-19 preparations are being used in some districts to set up tents and outdoor structures. The extra money can also be used to cover higher heating bills that will come in as indoor ventilation is maximized and cooler weather sets in. B.C. school heating systems have been fitted with specialized filters to clear air.

If a coronavirus case is suspected, designated on-site staff isolate the student or staff member, and regional public health authorities are the “de facto medical health officers” for each school district they serve, Fleming said. Once a case is confirmed by testing, public health investigators contact everyone who may have been exposed to the infected person.

“We definitely hope we’re not going to see that, but we have 1,600 schools in B.C. and we need to be prepared in case we do see that,” Fleming said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

JJ Belanger is running for mayor in Tofino’s March 6 byelection. (Photo courtesy of JJ Belanger)
Belanger enters Tofino’s mayoralty race

Belanger is former chair of Tourism Tofino and current general manager of Crystal Cove Beach Resort.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Janice and Martin Green are grateful for their town’s community paramedicine program. (Photo courtesy of Janice Green)
Community paramedicine program a lifesaver in Tofino-Ucluelet

“It makes us feel more comfortable here knowing that we do have emergency services that kick in.”

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read