While many prevention measures are the same, there are a few key things that are different this year:
Widespread Vaccination: Most people in B.C. are protected from COVID-19 because they are vaccinated. Schools reflect what is happening in the community. By having many people vaccinated, the risk in communities and schools is lower. Vaccines are the most effective prevention measure against COVID-19, and are providing the protection needed to allow schools to be closer-to-normal this year.
Regional Recommendations: Local Medical Health Officers will provide regional recommendations for schools in areas with increased risk. These are likely to be similar to measures that were in place last year, like restricting gatherings and events, focusing on individual activities, and limiting certain activities. Regional recommendations are decided by the local Medical Health Officer. This allows the measures in place to be relative to the risk in the community.
More Types of Learning & Extracurricular Activities Allowed: Schools can return to classroom and learning environment activities that best meet the learning needs and preferences of students and educators. Extracurricular activities, including inter-school sports events, can happen in line with any related local public health orders and recommendations (if any are in place).
No Learning Groups/Cohorts: Learning groups were recommended for the 2020/21 school year to reduce the number of different interactions a person had. We learned the type of interaction is more important than the number of interactions. Learning groups also significantly impacted learning and extracurricular opportunities. Schools will return to normal groupings of students and staff.
Physical Distancing/Space Arrangement: Practicing physical distancing is no longer expected. Schools will continue to spread people out in the available space, and ensure there is enough room to prevent unintentional physical contact. Everyone is encouraged to respect others' personal space.