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‘There is no rigid plan’: B.C. premier says he’s willing to adjust back-to-school measures

Click to play video: 'Premier John Horgan says province’s school plan remains flexible' Premier John Horgan says province’s school plan remains flexible
Premier John Horgan told reporters on Thursday the school restart plan is just the beginning and the province is willing to adjust to keep kids, teachers and staff safe – Sep 3, 2020

Premier John Horgan says what B.C. schools look like next week could be much different than what they will look like next month under COVID-19.

Taking questions from reporters, Horgan said his government is looking at ways to address the issues raised by parents, teachers and staff.

“Teachers will be back at the beginning of the week and then we will start the process of developing the plan that will get us through next week, next month, and into the spring,” he said.

“This is not about ‘here is the plan, we are sticking with it.’ Here is the start and we will amend the plan as we need to in order to address safety and provide a quality education for our kids.”

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Province announces how it will spend federal funds to reopen schools – Sep 3, 2020

Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming met with B.C. Teachers’ Federation President Teri Mooring and the union executive on Wednesday.

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Read more: BC Teachers’ Federation pushing for clearer mask policy, more remote learning options

Horgan says the province is willing to look at remote learning options in an attempt to allow for physical distancing in the classroom.

“I believe we have ample time to make the changes we will need going forward,” he said.

“This government will focus every day to ensure children are safe and families are safe and those that work inside our school system are safe. There is no rigid plan, other than the plan to get started.”

Click to play video: 'BCTF calls for smaller class sizes, stricter mask mandates' BCTF calls for smaller class sizes, stricter mask mandates
BCTF calls for smaller class sizes, stricter mask mandates – Aug 19, 2020

Horgan said about 80 per cent of parents across the province are ready and able to send kids back to school next week.

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The BCTF is advocating for hybrid and remote options in every school district to help reduce class sizes and school density as well as protect students and staff members, or their family members, who are more vulnerable because of existing health concerns.

The union is also calling for assurances that students who choose remote learning can remain connected to their school, and space will be available to them if they opt to return to the classroom in-person.

Click to play video: 'Premier John Horgan calls back-to-school in September an ‘unprecedented challenge’' Premier John Horgan calls back-to-school in September an ‘unprecedented challenge’
Premier John Horgan calls back-to-school in September an ‘unprecedented challenge’ – Aug 6, 2020

Fleming has previously said school districts will have control over how the money is spent but indicated the funding can be used to support remote learning options.

The Vancouver School Board has said around 30 per cent of parents surveyed wanted an at-home or hybrid option for their kids.

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