No current plans for class over summer: Dr. Henry

By Goat staff

Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, BC Minister of Health say plans are being formulated for re-opening BC – but it won’t be rushed.

“Through the commitment and hard work of all British Columbians, we are now making plans to ease restrictions and find our ‘new normal’ in the coming weeks,” Dix and Henry said in a joint statement April 27th.

“Our focus is to provide a consistent framework for sectors to operate within, as we have done with the many essential businesses.”

They said the guidance published April 25 for retail food and grocery stores is an example of the approach they will take to ensure appropriate physical distancing and proper hygiene.

That guide stipulates signage and barriers, among other things, to prevent the spreading of germs.

“To ease restrictions, we need to know that businesses are looking after your teams … to ensure employees can safely do their jobs while at work, and equally important, are not penalized by staying home when ill.”

The pair was asked by reporters about re-opening schools. Quebec has announced students will return to class in some format starting early May.

“Quebec has their own pandemic and approach,” Dr. Henry said. “We have been working with the [BC Education Ministry] to come out with our rational plan for what we are planning on doing. We don’t have a date, but we need to make sure that we are able to provide the educational services needed, particularly for those younger children who can’t stay home if their parents are returning to work. There are lots of discussions on how this could happen – and we’ll have a plan for that soon.”

She added later that the focus will be on the coming weeks and months.

“We’re not thinking so far about school over the summer. But we want plans that address all of our issues for the fall.”

“I think we have an opportunity to support the children of essential workers, to do it on a small scale, to understand how it could work.”

On Monday she added that ensuring sick people can stay home from work is critical to the response.

“It’s one of the most important things people don’t do during COVID-19 when there is no vaccine.”