Students throughout BC will return to school on Sept. 10 after deliberation by provincial authorities.

This gradual restart aims to allow extra time for students and staff to learn about new health and safety measures.

“Schools are going to look different in September,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming. “Staff, students and parents need time to get familiar with all the new health and safety procedures that are designed to keep them safe and confident in their school settings.”

Starting Sept. 8, staff will meet with their school’s health and safety committee to receive instructions about how the updated guidelines, developed with the BC Centre for Disease Control and provincial health officer, will work in their school. This will also allow time for educators and staff to adjust to their new routines, finalize plans for learning groups, review health and safety protocols, and confirm lesson plans that align with the new normal in schools.

Students will be welcomed back by Sept. 10 and will begin by getting familiar with new classroom layouts. Students will be assigned to their class, find out who is in their learning group, practice new routines and familiarize themselves with how to safely move from their classroom to other areas of the school.

Additional guidelines will be available by Monday (Aug. 17) to support school districts with their restart plans. These guidelines will include information about children who require extra support, hybrid instruction for large urban high schools, minimizing physical contact within learning groups, and before- and after-school child care.

“By working collaboratively with leaders in our education system, we are making sure students and staff are safe, ready and welcome when they return to school in September,” Fleming said.

Teri Mooring, president of the BC teachers’ federation, said she’s still looking for more details from the provincial government.

“The plans are still underway but there aren’t enough details and information right now for folks,” she said. “It’s understandable that there’s a high level of concern and stress about what it’ll look like in schools in September.”

Mooring emphasized that the safety of staff and students is the top priority.