Standing between Health Minister Adian Dix and Finance Minister Carole James, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced on Tuesday that public schools in the province will close due to the COVID-19 crisis. (File photo)

Cowichan Valley schools shut down until further notice

“We have a responsibility to keep our students and staff as safe as possible”

Students in the Cowichan Valley will not be going back to class after their spring break ends this week.

In-class instruction in public schools in the Valley, as well as across B.C., are to be postponed until further notice due to the growing COVID-19 crisis.

Standing next to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Finance Minister Carole James, Education Minister Rob Fleming made the announcement on Tuesday.

Fleming said the government needed to take quick action because the crisis is evolving quickly.

“We have a responsibility to keep our students and staff as safe as possible in our schools, and the decision we have come to is well thought out and supported by our teachers and other stakeholders,” he said.

“Planning is now being made as to how we can continue education and to coordinate initiatives within each school district, and announcements will be made when those plans are developed.”

B.C. has now joined all the other Canadian provinces in closing its schools due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Fleming assured Grade 12 students who are planning to graduate this year that their graduations will proceed, as the required courses that they need have already been completed in Grades 10 and 11, and all other students looking to move into the next grade next year will do so.

He said school districts will face challenges as to how to deal with “vulnerable” students, including schools that provide day-care and meals programs, and they will work to deal with them.

“We don’t have all the answers right now as it’s a fast-moving situation,” Fleming said.

“The actions we are taking are temporary and we look forward to continuing regular school life sometime down the road.”

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