B.C. to delays K-12 school reopening to Jan. 10 for most students

B.C. to delay K-12 school opening for most until Jan. 10, with children of essential workers going back as scheduled.

File photo: Students line up outside of RSS during the 2020 school year. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

The B.C. government has announced a delay in re-opening K-12 schools in January, with most students returning a week later on Jan. 10 instead of Jan. 3-4, 2022.

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, made the announcement on Dec. 29, 2021.

She said the province would be taking a “phased” approach to reopening for the new semester. Schools will re-open on Jan. 3-4 as usual for children of essential workers and students with special needs.

The remainder of students are scheduled to return a week later, on Jan. 10.

B.C. Education Minister, Jennifer Whiteside, said the schools would be open for students whose parents are essential workers and those that need additional supports, saying parents should contact schools for specific details.

Whiteside said various school safety plan measures will be enhanced with new guidance, such as holding teacher meetings online, stopping large school gatherings, pausing extra-curricular sports tournaments, and emphasizing daily health checks. These are some of the measures; a detailed list will be added to school safety plans.

When asked if the phased approach could be further extended if conditions change, the education minister said the plan is to resume full classes on Jan. 10.

Actual case numbers 3-5 times higher than stats show

When asked how B.C. officials could know the extent of COVID-19 infection in B.C. now that testing has been severely limited, Dr. Henry said that case counts have been “probably 2-3 times” higher than reported numbers during the pandemic, and could vary by “4-5” times higher.

The response came to a question about what B.C. health authorities think the actual number of cases are now, in part in response to Dr. Henry’s statements earlier in the media conference that they can estimate infection levels using indicators other than the actual positive test count. No specific number was provided.

A record 2,944 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in B.C. in the past 24 hours.

There are 16,014 active cases in B.C., with 5,462 active in Vancouver Coastal, 7,192 in Fraser Health, 1,363 on Vancouver Island, 1,576 in Interior Health, and 431 in Northern Health.

There are 206 currently hospitalized, 66 of whom are in critical care.

B.C. test positivity is high at about 14.5%.

Five people have died in Interior Health since Dec. 24.

Aaron Orlando is the Creative Director of revelstokemountaineer.com and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's worked in Revelstoke as a journalist and editor for the past 12 years. If you have news tips on Revelstoke news, events, outdoor life, and more, contact Aaron at aaron@revelstokemountaineer.com or call/text him at 250-814-8710.