B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce partial reopening of schools, B.C. legislature, May 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. work, school restart can’t be rushed, John Horgan says

Albertans have right to visit while U.S. border stays closed

The return of part-time school for a few weeks in June is not a signal for a return to normal, and businesses should take care as they bring employees back during the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. Premier John Horgan says.

Taking questions after a cabinet meeting May 20, Horgan gave assurances to teachers and other employees that the province’s “phase two” reopening of the economy will have some “bumps on the road” but will be done safely.

“We want to do a dry run for teachers, for support staff for students, to see what physically distant school looks like,” Horgan said, emphasizing that each school district will make its own detailed plans to finish the school year interrupted by coronavirus restrictions.

B.C. schools have continued operating through public health restrictions, with in-class instruction for the children of essential workers. That is set to step up starting June 1, with part-time classroom instruction for kindergarten to grade five, likely alternating days, and one day a week for grade six and up.

“These are times filled with anxiety, but we’ve tried to reduce that anxiety as much as possible by putting in a plan that will allow for physical distancing for teachers and kids, as well as making sure that we’re reminding children of how joyous school can be,” Horgan said. “For those kids who are having challenges with online learning, this is an opportunity to get a little bit of face-to-face instruction.”

RELATED: B.C. to begin part-time classroom instruction June 1

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended 30 days

As restaurants, pubs, hair salons and other businesses begin to come back to operation, Horgan had advice for the operators.

“Employers should not be forcing employees to come to work if they’re not ready to do so,” he said.

Horgan was asked about the extension of Canada’s border closure with the U.S. for non-essential travel, while travel across Canada continues, including to Quebec where the COVID-19 infection rate is higher than most of the U.S. The international border restriction has been extended for at least another 30 days to June 21. Canadians have a constitutional right to travel within the country, he said.

“I’m pretty happy with the border efforts we’ve got in place today,” since B.C. government staff were sent to border crossings to make sure people returning to Canada have a 14-day self-isolation plan, Horgan said. Since then, 40-45,000 people have crossed into B.C. and only about 150 didn’t have a written plan and required government-supervised quarantine, he said.

Electronic tracking has not been necessary, and “the old telephone and knock on the door” has been enough to make sure people self-isolate, he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley Independent School students go seriously green

Huge garden and tree project undertaken by students, teachers

PHOTOS: Momma black bear and cubs spotted in Townsite

A momma black bear and her two cubs, spotted getting near The… Continue reading

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

Playgrounds and public washrooms to reopen in Kimberley Friday, June 5

This Friday, June 5, 2020, the City of Kimberley will re-open more… Continue reading

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

Most Read