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

Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

Police looking for witnesses, video of 2:30 a.m. April 5 fire

Outreach initiative connects Sooke seniors to support amid COVID-19

Volunteers encouraged to sign up as need increases

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

Sidney senior grateful for stranger’s help during medical incident

Hendrina Welter never caught a glimpse of the woman who helped her after she blacked out

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read