'We're planning towards that': Dr. Henry hints at full return to the classroom for B.C. students
VANCOUVER -- The provincial back-to-school plan for kindergarten to Grade 12 students in September won’t be unveiled until later this week, but the provincial health officer is hinting it may be a full return to the classroom for most if not all students.
Speaking at a news conference Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said she thinks there are ways the province can get all or most children back into an in-class learning situation in the fall.
"We learned quite a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in June, and that’s put us in good stead in making sure we have plans in the future that are the safest for all involved, including teachers," she said.
But some teachers aren’t convinced.
The president of the B.C. Teachers Federation, Teri Mooring, tweeted Friday: “During June’s provincial test run, only half of B.C.’s teachers felt safe, leading over a third to feel unsure about returning in September.”
The premier said he can sympathize.
"I have a daughter-in-law who's a teacher and a niece who's a teacher, and the niece is immune compromised. She's concerned, I know. She's talked to me directly about that, so I am not surprised there are others teachers across the province who are concerned about their personal health," said John Horgan.
"Absolutely we all have some anxiety about going back full time, but I think we need to address those," said Dr. Henry. "We need to work together to make sure we have things in place."
The BCTF president also tweeted that "PPE is key to make work safe for teachers and students," but masks won’t be mandated for anyone when school resumes in September. And the premier and health officials warn the plan that will be announced later this week is only for the beginning of the school year
"That will be adapted week by week depending on the caseloads, depending on circumstances in different parts of the province," said Horgan.
Dr. Henry knows parents want concrete plans, but she stressed the importance of being adaptable.
"It is important for families to be flexible and for workplaces to think about being flexible as well as we come into the fall," she said.