Education minister Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are set to provide details on Thursday about back to school for the K to 12 sector in September.
The announcement at 9:30 a.m. will be carried live on this website and on BC1.
Students in British Columbians have remained in K-12 classrooms for the entire year with COVID-19 safety measures in place.
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The B.C. Teachers Federation is calling on the province to continue many of those measures, including mask-wearing for older students, into September.
“We don’t want to hear that everything is going to be normal in the fall. We do understand all adults would have had the availability of being vaccinated. Not all students will be,” BCTF president Teri Mooring said.
“There will still be a need for safety measures to be in place in the coming year. Cleaning will need in place. What we saw this year is due to the cleaning and hand-washing specifically. There was a big reduction in communicable diseases generally. We see there will still be a need for masks and physical distancing.”
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Mooring says the hope is to start with the same safety measures but ease them as the school year goes on.
The BCTF is also calling for the funding to remain in place for cleaning, which the union says was underfunded before the pandemic.
School districts have been experiencing a significant drop off in funds due to international students not enrolling because of travel restrictions. The BCTF is asking the province to provide financial support to avoid enrollment related lay-offs.
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“It is really important boards hear about funding now while they are still planning because hearing information about funding in September means dollars have already been allocated and perhaps taken from other programs,” Mooring said.
“We are advocating for short-term funding so districts don’t have to lay off teachers.”
The union is also calling for trauma informed practice and anti racism training. Other public sector employees have been given skills based training to deal with the issues.
“We think there are many indicators showing this training is very much needed,” Mooring said.
“We are really hoping for some information about that as well.”
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