B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming tours a Greater Victoria school on June 2, 2020, as classes restart amid the pandemic. (Don Craig/Government of B.C.)

B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming tours a Greater Victoria school on June 2, 2020, as classes restart amid the pandemic. (Don Craig/Government of B.C.)

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

B.C. schools were at 30 per cent of expected enrolment for the first day of in-class instruction since classes were cancelled in March.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said that equates to about 60,000 students having returned to class on Monday.

“We hope the June restart is part of something that will let us have an even stronger start in September,” Fleming said during a Tuesday (June 2) press conference.

He reiterated that school remains optional during June.

“A lot of kids have missed in-class instruction and there is really not substitute for that… it’s an option for parents. We respect whatever choice they make,” Fleming said. Families have the option, he noted, to send kids back to school later in the month, as well as to pull them out if they feel conditions are no longer satisfactory.

Attendance figures for Monday ranged from 48 per cent for Grade 6 students to 15 per cent for Grade 12s. Classes remain small in size, with kindergarten to Grade 5 students having a limited to 50 per cent of school capacity, and older students limited to 20 per cent. The younger students are on an alternating or half-time schedule, while older ones are at about one day a week.

About 90 per cent of teachers have returned to in-class instruction across B.C., with the rest given accommodations to work from home. Some teachers have been laid off, Fleming noted, per the rules of the B.C.Teachers’ Federation collective agreement.

“What we expect from most districts… they expect every teacher that is receiving a technical layoff notice today to be rehired and teach domestic, B.C. kids,” he said. “We don’t expect any layoffs will be permanent for B.C. teachers.”

Part of that curriculum will include more learning about Black culture and history in B.C., Fleming said, in light of protests against racism and police brutality in the U.S.

Fleming said every student is expected to self-monitor for symptoms prior to coming to school for the day.

Fleming said a decision about how schooling would look like in the fall would come by mid-August.

“It’s likely that we will have to have a hybrid system again until we have a vaccine, until the pandemic is officially over.”

Speaking at a press conference later on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she couldn’t predict how the virus would evolve over the summer months.

”We don’t know what’s going to happen between now and then,” she said, adding that it was “very likely” that some learning would continue to be remote and online.

“I think it will be different than what we are seeing right now.”

Correction: The initial report said that 30 per cent of B.C. students had returned to classes. In fact, it is 30 per cent of expected enrolment due to COVID-19 physical distancing measures.

READ MORE: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doctor urges caution for protesters amid 24 COVID-19 cases, 1 death in two days


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

British ColumbiaCoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

There still has been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing into the deaths of Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie on Christmas Eve, 2019. Police are asking for the public’s assistance in solving the crime. This memorial, located near Trunk Road and Canada Avenue where the crime occurred, still stands at the site of the double homicide. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Investigation continues into Duncan double murder

Police ask anyone with information on Christmas Eve, 2019, crime to contact them

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Extensive water on No. 4 and 5 at the Mount Brenton Golf Course following heavy rains earlier this month. (Photo submitted)
Mount Brenton Golf Course does a booming business in 2020

A total of 15,000 more rounds played than the previous year

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read