B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce partial reopening of schools, B.C. legislature, May 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announce partial reopening of schools, B.C. legislature, May 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. work, school restart can’t be rushed, John Horgan says

Albertans have right to visit while U.S. border stays closed

The return of part-time school for a few weeks in June is not a signal for a return to normal, and businesses should take care as they bring employees back during the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. Premier John Horgan says.

Taking questions after a cabinet meeting May 20, Horgan gave assurances to teachers and other employees that the province’s “phase two” reopening of the economy will have some “bumps on the road” but will be done safely.

“We want to do a dry run for teachers, for support staff for students, to see what physically distant school looks like,” Horgan said, emphasizing that each school district will make its own detailed plans to finish the school year interrupted by coronavirus restrictions.

B.C. schools have continued operating through public health restrictions, with in-class instruction for the children of essential workers. That is set to step up starting June 1, with part-time classroom instruction for kindergarten to grade five, likely alternating days, and one day a week for grade six and up.

“These are times filled with anxiety, but we’ve tried to reduce that anxiety as much as possible by putting in a plan that will allow for physical distancing for teachers and kids, as well as making sure that we’re reminding children of how joyous school can be,” Horgan said. “For those kids who are having challenges with online learning, this is an opportunity to get a little bit of face-to-face instruction.”

RELATED: B.C. to begin part-time classroom instruction June 1

RELATED: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended 30 days

As restaurants, pubs, hair salons and other businesses begin to come back to operation, Horgan had advice for the operators.

“Employers should not be forcing employees to come to work if they’re not ready to do so,” he said.

Horgan was asked about the extension of Canada’s border closure with the U.S. for non-essential travel, while travel across Canada continues, including to Quebec where the COVID-19 infection rate is higher than most of the U.S. The international border restriction has been extended for at least another 30 days to June 21. Canadians have a constitutional right to travel within the country, he said.

“I’m pretty happy with the border efforts we’ve got in place today,” since B.C. government staff were sent to border crossings to make sure people returning to Canada have a 14-day self-isolation plan, Horgan said. Since then, 40-45,000 people have crossed into B.C. and only about 150 didn’t have a written plan and required government-supervised quarantine, he said.

Electronic tracking has not been necessary, and “the old telephone and knock on the door” has been enough to make sure people self-isolate, he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read