B.C.’s Premier John Horgan won’t set a date for schools to re-open, but says that if COVID-19 cases start to lessen it could be an option. (Pixabay photo)

Preliminary talks underway for ‘potentially’ reopening schools, pending OK from B.C.’s top doc

Premier John Horgan said it depends on how COVID-19 progresses in the coming weeks

B.C. premier John Horgan says preliminary discussions are underway to discuss how officials would “potentially” reopen schools, but that decision depends on how the number of COVID-19 cases change in coming weeks.

During a news conference on Wednesday (April 15), Horgan was asked when he will start to look at easing current pandemic restrictions, including the reopening of public and private schools.

He said the province would only allow kids back into classrooms if health officials were to see a downward trend in the number of daily positive cases.

“But I look at my colleagues across the country who’ve set arbitrary dates for a return before the data was in, before the science was confirming that, and we’re not going to follow that lead,” he said. “We’re going to look at the numbers as they emerge over the weeks ahead before we make those determinations.”

WATCH: B.C. doing better on COVID-19, Premier John Horgan says

B.C. suspended in-class learning in mid-March with advice from health officials who were seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases being confirmed. Similar measures were taken in other provinces, such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, where a majority of Canadians who have tested positive for the virus reside.

But since then, Quebec Premier François Legault has said that schools could reopen before the planned May 4 date. That comes despite that province seeing the most confirmed COVID-19 cases of any region in the country – a total of 14,860 as of April 16.

Ontario, where there has been a total of 8,447 confirmed cases, announced this week it wouldn’t be reopening as it hoped to by May 4. This is the second time the province pushed the date back due to the pandemic.

In the meantime, B.C.’s education ministry has been working to get virtual learning onboarded across every school district.

“We’ve seen some really good success, and, again, a level of collaboration between educators, superintendents, school board trustees, parents, children – the whole continuum of components of our K to 12 system working cooperatively to try and find a way forward through this virtual period,” Horgan said.

Earlier this week, B.C. extended its ongoing provincial state of emergency for another 14 days. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has told the public to expect at least some of the social contact restrictions to stay in place for awhile.

“We’re not anywhere near the end of what we’re going to do with this, and normal is going to look quite different for some time,” she said during a separate news conference.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

New gazebo for Victoria Quay opens with help from Alberni Rotary club

A new gazebo that has been erected at Victoria Quay is the… Continue reading

New Vancouver Island airline eyes Alberni’s airport for charter flights

ACRD has work to do to support air operations, says GM of environmental services

True crime podcaster on mid Island inspired by case of missing Island woman

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of 21-year-old Lisa Marie Young

Alberni Valley Community Foundation releases second round of emergency funding

The Alberni Valley Community Foundation will provide $75,000 to support local charities… Continue reading

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

B.C. drive-in theatre shuts down to await appeal of car limits, concession rules

Business owner Jay Daulat voluntarily closed down the theatre awaiting a health ministry decision

Huawei executive loses court ruling, extradition case continues

Judge says allegations against Meng Wanzhou could constitute a crime in Canada

Most Read