FILE – B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Finance Minister Carole James at the B.C. legislature in November 2019. (Province of B.C.)

FILE – B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Finance Minister Carole James at the B.C. legislature in November 2019. (Province of B.C.)

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

News comes as four deaths and more than 100 cases reported in B.C.

British Columbia is suspending K-12 classes indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier John Horgan said Tuesday.

The news comes as the province has seven deaths and at least 185 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Gatherings of 50 or more people have been banned and health officials are telling people to stay in Canada. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians to “stay home” if at all possible. The province declared a public health emergency just hours after announcing the suspension of classes.

“This is a crisis situation, there’s no making that sound any better,” Horgan said. He said a decision on when classes return will be made in the future.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said all students who are currently on track to move onto the next grade, or to graduate, will do so and the province is working with post-secondary institutions.

Arrangements will also be made to help provide school meals for at-risk students, he noted.

Although the vast majority of students are on spring break currently, Fleming said students who are still in class – Nechako Lakes students and some independent schools – will be told close immediately.

“We’ve urged schools and school districts to begin planning now to ensure a continuity of learning while in-class instruction is suspended in B.C. schools indefinitely,” Fleming said.

Horgan said childcare will remain available but did not provide details.

“Schools are not boarded up,” he said, and can be used for something other than K-12 instruction.

Some schools will remain open so kids of essential workers can still receive care, Fleming said. He said the province was gathering information about how many of the province’s students would qualify.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said this was “the right decision” to protect teacher, staff and students.

READ MORE: B.C. School Sports suspends spring season

READ MORE: New phone lines, self-isolation guide for COVID-19 in B.C.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

READ MORE: ‘It’s going to be hard’: B.C. bans gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

READ MORE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at B.C. care home, as number of cases grows to 103

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

In years past in-person ceremonies have been held for International Women’s Day. This year the observance is going online on Monday, March 8, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (file photo)
Virtual ceremony for Women’s Day in Cowichan on Monday

Audrey George, manager of the Ts’i’ts’uwatul’ Lelum assisted living facility, will be keynote speaker.

North Cowichan councillor Rob Douglas is advocating for a pilot project that would see the forest industry on Vancouver Island and the coast managed regionally. (File photo)
N. Cowichan councillor continues push for regional management of forestry

North Cowichan councillor wants pilot project established

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
NDP tables dental care program

Millions of Canadians don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

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

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read