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

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

‘I just don’t get it’, Wash Me on Ludlow suffers thefts and abuse of services

Owner Michelle Nischi is concerned for her health and her business

Ladysmith businesses carry on in the time of COVID-19

Local businesses struggle to stay open and serve the public

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read