COVID-19 Diary – Day 182

Today marks the first day back to school, with most children in BC returning to in-class sessions, and others preferring to remain with online or distance based education options. I have not found any specific numbers or percentages associated with these options however. Today also marks a new record for a single day report of new COVID-19 infections in the province, at 139, beating the previous record of 124 from August 28th.

The Fraser Health Authority has released a “Back to School Guide” to help students and parents better prepare for the new school normal. Which also includes a useful Q&A section. Unfortunately I was unable to find similar guides or pages from other BC Health Authorities.

For the students returning to in-class schooling, some arrived to a well planned out first day with processes to prevent grouping up, and even complimentary masks and bags branded with the school’s name. CBC News had a team at one such school to get student reactions to their new experience and first day back at school.

Unfortunately the same can not be said for the Grade 8 experience at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School in Surrey, where lack of prior knowledge of the school’s layout likely caused mass grouping at the school’s front entrance. All students were requested to use the entrance closest to their assigned classroom, but for most Grade 8’s this would be their first experience with the building.

According to Ritinder Matthew, the Communication Services Manager for the Surrey School District, the problem was resolved by the afternoon before Grade 9 students began arriving. News 1130 has additional information.

In today’s conference live stream, Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked if she could think of any situation that would cause the school system to be shut down again in the future, due to COVID-19. Her response was that she didn’t foresee anything that wide spread, because it “would mean that we were in dire straits in many other aspects of our community. And that’s what we are trying to absolutely avoid”. She later explained that in situations where an outbreak among teachers occurs, it is possible a school may need to close if not enough staff remain out of isolation to safely allow it to operate.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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