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B.C. students head back to school, drivers warned to slow down

Hundreds of thousands of students across British Columbia are heading back to school Tuesday.

It’s expected to be a busy day on the roads and police are reminding drivers to slow down.

Thirty kilometre per hour speed limits around schools are in effect once again.

Police agencies across the province say they'll have extra officers on patrol making sure drivers remember to pump their brakes.

“We have discretion and we will enforce the Motor Vehicle Act as it relates to school zones and playground zones and speed limits,” said Sgt. Steve Addison of the Vancouver Police Department.

That means drivers could be given a warning or a fine.

“We don't necessarily want to be out there writing tickets, so we're encouraging people to plan ahead, slow down and give yourself lots of time,” said Addison.

The fine for those caught going too fast can range from $196 to $253.

Officers were out front of Delview Secondary Tuesday keeping a close eye on drivers.

“Really pay attention, lots of distractions, lots of kids flitting around and running around being excited. So be careful. Second thing: distracted driving. Make sure that you pay attention to distracted driving, it's not the time to be checking your phone for texts and phone calls,” said Chief Neil Dubord, of the Delta Police Department.

TransLink is also expecting to see an uptick in trips across its system and is increasing service in response.

"Routes that serve post-secondary schools are also being adjusted to ensure their schedules match the times that students most often travel to and from class," wrote the company in a statement.


Back to school may look a little different for students in the Central Okanagan, Shuswap, and the South Chilcotin regions due to wildfires.

Several schools remained closed Tuesday as the threat to communities continues.

“I know they are also coming up with some ways some hybrid options, making that available to the students so that the students don't lose out that important time learning time,” Educatino Minister Rachna Singh said.

One school in the Shuswap and one in Gold Bridge are located in areas currently under wildfire evacuation orders.

The Ministry of Education said the Shuswap students will be able to attend another nearby school beginning next Monday and the students in Gold Bridge will be supported through online learning. 

Central Okanagan Public Schools says it's ready to welcome students back on Tuesday and is grateful to first responders who have saved the community.

“We are aware that some families remain on evacuation order and some families have experienced the loss of their homes. We encourage you to contact your school principal if you need supports from the school. We will work to do what we can,” wrote Kevin Kaardal, superintendent and CEO of Central Okanagan Public Schools, in a letter to parents.

Several schools in West Kelowna are on alert as wildfires continue to burn in the region.

“As always, our staff will use trauma-informed practices to ensure that children affected by the crisis will have the support they need,” wrote Kaardal. 


Disruptive pandemic measures are not expected to come back into effect this school year, despite the BC Centre for Disease Control recently detecting Canada's first known case of new COVID-19 variant BA.2.86.

Local doctors have said there’s no need to panic and parents do not need to make big changes.

A new COVID vaccine is expected to be released soon.

This year’s respiratory illness season is not expected to be as bad as last year, but doctors urge everyone to still get a flu shot.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Ben Miljure Top Stories

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