School begins for British Columbia students Monday, with the province's top doctor laying out plans for keeping children safe as COVID-19 infections surge.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says it is essential to keep schools open for the emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of children.
Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside says safety measures include virtual assemblies, visitor restrictions, staggered break times and access to three-layered masks as they navigate this wave of COVID-19.
Whiteside says school attendance will be monitored and an unusual dip will trigger a response from public health, which may include an investigation, the use of rapid tests or a temporary shift in how students learn.
Teri Mooring, the head of the BC Teachers' Federation, says she would like to see teachers prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine boosters and N95 masks available for use in schools.
Henry also told businesses to redeploy their COVID-19 safety plans to help reduce crowding and protect workers and customers while keeping their operations running through the surge.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2022.
The Canadian Press