Students make their way to the first day of school at Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. Students returned to classes for the first time since June following the province wide teachers strike. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

‘It is a pandemic’: B.C. health minister defends school plan, but says cases are inevitable

Multiple cases have popped up in schools since classes started on Sept. 10

The province’s health minister acknowledged Tuesday (Sept. 15) that there will “inevitably” be COVID-19 cases in B.C.’s schools, even as he defended the sharing of that information.

“Everyone wants children back to school and everyone wants to do that as safely as possible,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

He said that cases – at least three of which have already emerged – would continue to pop up in the province’s schools “because there are cases in society.”

“There are tens of thousands of people who work in school, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who go to school,” Dix said.

“Inevitably there will be people who work in school or go to school who have COVID-19. It is a pandemic.”

B.C. has mandated masks for middle school and high school students, as well as teachers and other staff, in high traffic areas. Students will be divided into learning groups of 60 to 120 students, and are supposed to physically distance from those not in their cohorts.

Dix defended how B.C. tells the public about cases at schools. Unlike Ontario, which makes cases available through a list on the government’s website, only an outbreak would lead to a public notification. Otherwise, school communities and parents are notified privately, although these letters often leak to the press.

“We provide information every day in British Columbia,” Dix said.

“There’s a broader debate about releasing information that would be identifying for individuals. We believe we have to invite people to engage with us… so anything identifying has to be not be there.”

READ MORE: B.C. reports 317 new COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths over the weekend


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Farmers’ market harvests successful season

Community steps up, supports vendors

School demolition brings up memories

Darlene ‘Dar’ Hastings couldn’t wait to attend the new 100 Mile High when it opened in 1960.

Volunteering ‘best way to expand your bubble’

Val Severin serves the community as a way to give back

Old Timers Hockey league seeks players

The Old Timers Hockey Association is looking for players and increased community… Continue reading

Work begins on Clinton seniors’ living facility

Work has recently begun on a 20-bed seniors’ living facility in Clinton.

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Most Read