Queen’s Park to announce back-to-school guidelines today

Sick Kids' Hospital issues new guidance for return to class

We find out today what the provincial government has planned for back-to-school.

A hybrid model was favoured a few weeks ago – 15 kids to a class on alternating days or weeks – but more recently the education minister has been leaning toward full-time in-class learning for all.

British Columbia has announced it will return to full-time classes, but will organize students into learning groups to reduce the number of people they come in contact with. Elementary and middle school learning groups will have a maximum of 60 students, high schools can have up to 120.

Meantime, The Hospital for Sick Children has issued updated guidance for back-to-school.

It recommends high school students wear face masks whenever physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.

As for elementary students, it says wearing of masks remains impractical, noting younger students may have challenges removing masks on their own.

The Sick Kids’ team also noted it’s important to find periods in the day when face-coverings can be safely removed, adding it’s critical to assess the use of masks on an ongoing basis.

Desks in elementary schools should be at least one metre apart, two metres in high schools.

Choir and band practices with wind instruments should be cancelled for now says the hospital.

Thirty-six experts, including pediatricians and epidemiologists, weighed in on the guidelines.