B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming speaks in the legislature, Feb. 26, 2020. (Hansard TV)

COVID-19: B.C. schools expanding video classes, lending computers

20,000 teachers set up for Zoom, print materials distributed

Virtual dance and band practice are part of the efforts of B.C. school districts to reach students across the province with education help during the COVID-19 pandemic, education officials say.

The province has lent out 23,000 computers and has 20,000 teachers set up with Zoom video conferencing software to provide teaching, Education Minister Rob Fleming said April 28. For rural and remote communities, schools are being used for wifi access and printed materials or flash drives are being distributed.

Fleming said there is no date set for B.C. schools to reopen, and the plan is to “dial up” attendance at schools, starting with offering classroom instruction to essential retail and other workers as well as emergency and health workers with young children.

Hygiene and distancing procedures are being worked out, and a return to classrooms may not be ready before the traditional end of the school year, Fleming said. Summer school options are also being developed as health and education officials track efforts to control the novel coronavirus.

The Zoom program is available to teachers responsible for 275,000 students, and other technologies are being used with the help of ministry information technology staff to reach as far as possible. There are currently 550,000 students in K-12 education in B.C.

RELATED: Students collect clues to identify mystery reader

RELATED: Learning from home a challenge for young children

Stephanie Higginson, president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, said the challenge for her and other parents is to help their kids at home and not try to be their teachers as well.

“Please, don’t be too hard on yourselves,” Higginson advised parents. “What you do is good enough.”

Fleming said advice and resources continue to be added to B.C.’s Keep Learning website, which has had 300,000 unique views since it was launched at the end of March.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hope Mountain Centre shuts down summer programs amid COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Difficult to maintain physical distance, safety of attendees and staff, at popular summer events

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

Drug-pricing petition garners thousands of signatures

Petition started by Chilliwack mom also drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Ken Monkhouse, ‘Monkey’ on Highway Thru Hell TV show, passes away

Monkhouse passed away Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Chilliwack school board censures trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial Facebook post

Board chair issues statement on censure but little else regarding Facebook post controversy

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

BREAKING: Langley Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35-year-old nightlife hotspot

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read