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

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

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Morning mist clears over the Hope Slough at Camp River Road on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Sunny skies in the forecast for Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Rain and wind expected Sunday night through Monday morning, then clear skies

Email news@ahobserver.com
LETTER: A thank you from the local Legion

Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 32 thanks the community

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

File photo
Outdoor recreation generates close to $1 billion annually in Fraser Valley: report

Camping, hiking and sportfishing generate the most spending, report finds

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

Most Read