(Sooke school district/Google Maps)

The B.C. Ministry of Education has launched a new website providing resources for at-home learning for K-12 students after the suspension of in-classroom learning in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a challenging time for families in B.C. as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it is vital students have a sense of routine and continued opportunities to learn while they are at home,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

“These guidelines will ensure the needs, health and safety of students are put first as school leaders actively plan to serve the unique needs of their communities.”

As students will not be returning to classrooms on March 30th like they normally would at the end of the spring break, the province is developing a plan for students to have the resources they need to continue their education at home.

Over the next two weeks the government is working with all 60 school boards, independent school authorities, First Nations schools, teachers, school leaders, support staff, public health officials and all education partners on a co-ordinated approach.

For now, authorities have launched the Keep Learning BC website that provides free learning resources, at-home educational activities, and sources on how to maintain well being.

Additional care

Exceptions are being made for some parents and guardians who work in the health care sector.

Essential frontline health-care workers, like those directly involved in patient care, who need urgent care for their school-aged child during the week of March 30th are advised to contact their school principal as soon as possible to discuss care arrangements available during the first week back after spring break.

Other parents who are deemed an essential service worker and who may need child care for their school-age children can expect to hear from their school regarding care options by Friday, April 3rd.

The province is also working on programs for students who require additional supports or have disabilities, including important services like meal programs and child care services operating on school grounds.

To provide these services, the B.C. school system remains open despite the suspension of classroom teaching. Principals, Vice-Principals, Custodians and Administrative Assistant will be the only personnel physically present in schools.

Further updates about school services and programs can be found at this website. 

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

Based on the latest updates, there are now 792 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 57 on Vancouver Island.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.

This includes a $2,000/month package for four months for all Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, and $500/month assistance package for renters in B.C.

Trudeau also announced a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses and a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses, interest-free for the first year.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 594,344.

Nearly 30,000 people have died from the illness and 132,622 have made a full recovery.