Dr. Bonnie Henry tells post secondary institutions to prepare for on-campus learning this fall

Colleges could return in fall

It appears as if post-secondary institutions across B.C. will be welcoming students back to campus in the fall.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry paved the way Monday, telling institutions to be prepared for a full return to on-campus education this September.

Advanced Education and Skills Training Minister Anne Kang made the announcement.

Calling it an incredibly hard year for students, faculty and staff, Kang said the announcement is just the beginning of the process.

In the coming weeks, she said, planning will begin for a safe return to the classroom.

"The guidelines will provide high-level guidance to post-secondary institutions for a safe resumption of on-campus learning. Institutions will then work with their local medical health officer and WorkSafeBC to develop more detailed safety plans for each institution," she said.

In a separate statement, the BC Federation of Students says they are thrilled with the announcement, saying students have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news to so many students who have struggled to be successful in an untested online learning environment while managing the health, safety and economic realities of the pandemic,” said Tanysha Klassen, chairperson of the federation.

"We welcome the opportunity to engage with public health officials and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to ensure that the return to school is a positive experience for the entire post-secondary system.”

As long as it's safe to do so, Klassen says students are eager to return to the classroom.

“Students are eager to return to the classrooms so long as it is safe to do so.

“I and the BC Federation of Students are optimistic that student’s needs will continue to be taken into account every step of the way.”

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