This fall, it will truly be back to school for B.C. postsecondary students.
That's because this week, Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang encouraged them and their families to start planning for in-person instruction on B.C. campuses in September.
Kang issued a statement on this topic after the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, advised the presidents of all public postsecondary institutions to do this.
“This year has been incredibly hard, and I’ve heard from many students, faculty and staff who are eager to return to campus when it is safe,” Kang said in her statement. “That’s why I’m encouraged by Dr. Henry’s advice that a return to in-person instruction can be done safely this fall for all students, staff and faculty. In fact, it’s important to do so for people’s well-being.
“I also know some people will be feeling nervous,” Kang continued. “Your safety is our top priority. At every step, we’re going to be working with Dr. Henry and all our partners to make sure the right measures are in place to keep people safe.”
Last month, the B.C. government has published a 26-page document called "COVID-19 Go-Forward Guildelines for B.C.'s Post-Secondary Sector".
It addresses risks, prevention measures, and protocols in a wide variety of areas, including athletics and recreation, campus transportation, the delivery of education, international students, libraries, performing arts, and retail services, to mention a few.
“The guidelines will provide high-level guidance to postsecondary institutions for a safe resumption of on-campus learning," Kang said. "Institutions will then work with their local medical health officer and WorkSafeBC to develop more detailed safety plans for each institution.
“It has been a challenging year for postsecondary students, faculty and staff," the minister added. "I would like to acknowledge the significant efforts public colleges and universities made to continue meeting the needs of students during the pandemic, while successfully preventing the spread of COVID-19 on B.C. campuses."
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that all Canadians who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will have this done by the end of September. Trudeau also said that it’s possible to do this even earlier than that, depending on the delivery of vaccines and how many are approved by Health Canada.
On March 5, Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine became the fourth to be green-lit in Canada.