In September 2020, all schools will reopen in Stage 2 of the Five Stages Framework for K-12 Education. The 2020/21 school year will look different for students, teachers and parents. Detailed information is available on the Province of British Columbia's COVID-19: Return to School website.
Stage 2 is a full return to in-class instruction for all students for the maximum time possible within learning group limits. Parents will be contacted by their school or school district/authority to confirm the educational program options available for September 2020.
Most K-12 students will have access to full-time, in-class instruction in September and schools will be ready to welcome them back.
- Parents of children with complex medical conditions or underlying risk factors should consult with their health care provider to determine their child’s level of risk regarding return to school.
- Protective self-isolation is only recommended for children with severe immune compromise, on a case-by-case basis.
Parents will continue to have choices regarding their child’s educational program.
- Parents who do not want to their child to attend in-person classes at a public or independent school have the option to register their child for online and distributed learning (based on program availability) or home-schooling
All students who have travelled outside of Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days under both provincial and federal orders. This includes students who are attending school from abroad.
Enhanced Health & Safety Measures
Schools will continue to be cleaned more frequently, including classrooms and high touch areas like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks. Other changes include:
- Organizing students into learning groups
- Increased spacing between students in classrooms
- More individual and smaller group activities
- Limitations on assemblies and other large gatherings
Review the COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings (PDF) for more information on K-12 health and safety measures.
- Monitor your child daily for symptoms
- Don’t send your child to school if they are sick. Anyone who is sick will not be allowed in school
- Encourage your child to minimize physical contact with their friends
- Wash your hands frequently, including before coming to school and before and after eating and breaks
- You will have access to hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available
- Label your personal items and do not share them
Students and staff are not required to wear masks in schools.
- Wearing a mask is a personal choice that will always be respected
The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) advise that masks are not recommended for use by young children.
- In young children, masks can be irritating and can lead to increased touching of the face and eyes
For older students and staff, non-medical masks will be provided upon request for use in situations where the person is interacting with someone from outside of their learning group and cannot maintain physical distance for an extended period of time.
- This includes riding the bus to school where a student may be sitting next to a person outside of their household or learning group
Riding the Bus
The BCCDC public health guidelines for schools include the following recommendations for student transportation on school buses:
- Buses should be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with BCCDC guidelines
- Buses should be loaded from back to front and offloaded from front to back
- If space is available, each student should have their own seat unless sharing with a member of their household
- Middle and secondary school students should wear non-medical masks,
- No student should be required to wear a mask if they do not tolerate it
- Schools and school districts can consider a transparent barrier to separate the driver from the students
- Schools and school districts should use consistent and assigned seating where possible,
- Schools and school districts should keep up to date passenger lists to share with public health if contact tracing needs to occur
If You Feel Sick
The BCCDC guidelines for schools are firm. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms of a cold, flu or COVID-19, they must not attend school.
- If a student or staff member develops symptoms at school, protocols are in place for the person to be isolated and returned home as soon as possible
- Custodial staff would then clean and disinfect the area where the person had been isolated and any areas used by them
- Public health would be notified immediately of a potential case
If anyone at school tests positive for COVID-19, provincial measures are in place for public health to work with school administration on contact tracing.
- Public health officials will also work with school administration to determine what actions should be taken and if suspending in-class learning is necessary
- If any staff or student has been in contact with a COVID-positive person, they will be notified by public health officials and must self-isolate
In the Classroom
Student Learning Groups
Students will be organized into learning groups for in-class instruction. This helps to limit contact and potential exposure.
In-Class Instruction & Supports
Schools will be returning to full-time, in-class instruction provided that all required health and safety measures can be accommodated. This includes:
- A focus on mental health and well-being supports for students returning to school
- Full-time instruction for students with disabilities/diverse abilities and students requiring additional support
- Options for students with underlying complex medical needs
- Alternative methods of delivery, jointly determined by boards of education and First Nations, for students from First Nations that remain closed and will not be sending students back in September
Curriculum, Assessment & Report Cards
The return to full in-class instruction in September will include the following:
- Provincial curriculum for all students at all grade levels
- Regular report cards
- Regular assessments at the classroom and provincial level
Outside the Classroom
Extracurricular activities in middle and secondary schools including sports, arts (including band and choir) or special interest clubs can occur if physical distance can be maintained between members of different learning groups and reduced physical contact can be practiced by those within the same learning group.
- Health and safety plans developed by school districts and independent schools will determine how extracurricular activities will be implemented at schools
Inter-school events like competitions, tournaments and festivals should not occur at this time.
- These events will be re-evaluated mid-fall
Work Placements & Apprenticeships
School districts and independent school authorities will assess and determine if it is safe for students to remain on work placements and apprenticeships.
- For work placements that cannot continue in person, districts and schools will determine if alternate methods to continue learning or accumulate volunteer hours for work placements are possible
- Students are encouraged to talk to their teachers about work placements and apprenticeships
School Meal Programs
School districts with existing meal programs will continue to work with community partners to provide meal support to families in need, in alignment with current public health guidelines.
Messages from the Superintendent
- July 31, 2020 – (PDF)
- June 25, 2020 – (PDF)
- May 19, 2020 – (PDF)
- May 12, 2020 – (PDF)
- April 20, 2020 – (PDF)
- April 3, 2020 – (PDF)
- March 27, 2020 – (PDF)
- March 17, 2020 – (PDF)
- March 13, 2020 – (PDF)
- March 9, 2020 – (PDF)
- February 7, 2020 – (PDF)
- January 29, 2020 – (PDF)
Messages from the Board of Education
Statements from the Provincial Health Officer & Minister of Health
Up-to-date information, including joint statements from the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health, are posted on the Government of B.C. website at https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health.
Continuity of Learning
Teachers, educational assistants, support staff and administration are developing and planning a variety of ways to support your child's learning during these uniquely complex times. Read more…
- Province of BC: COVID-19: Return to School
- SD38 WorkSafe BC COVID-19 Safety Plan
- Strategies for parents and guardians to support children through stressful circumstances
- BC Centre for Disease Control: COVID-19
- Province of BC: Safe and Healthy Schools
Have a question?
In an attempt to provide clarity to system-level questions that impact the whole school district, parents are welcome to submit system-level questions regarding COVID-19. School-level questions should be submitted directly to your school principal and classroom-level questions should be submitted directly to your child’s teacher. The district will collate all system-level questions and provide responses as soon as possible.