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

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

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

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read