Fall is on the way for 2020. (Citizen file)

Fall is on its way, and change is in the air

The B.C. Back to School plan was released on July 29

Congratulations to everyone for making it to the 186th day of March, 2020. Somewhere within that time seasons gave way from spring to summer, and soon they’ll change again.

In B.C., kids head back to school on Sept. 10. This will be the first test of the provincial government’s Back to School Plan that will see students split into learning groups. Although the provincial government has expressed confidence in their plan, the B.C. Teacher’s Federation has continued to express concerns around the plan — specifically saying that more needs to be done to prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools.

The B.C. Back to School plan was released on July 29, when COVID-19 cases in the province numbered 259. This week active cases hit over 1,000 — the highest number of active cases since the pandemic began. Back in March, schools closed after B.C. reached more than 200. How is it that despite a vast increase in cases, schools are safer in September than they were in March?

For that matter, how is it any safer to go out in public? Despite record high cases, the province remains in Phase 3 of the Restart B.C. Plan.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that public health officials understand the virus much better now than back in March, and argued that shutting down businesses again would not be an effective way to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Shutting down businesses like bars and restaurants could also lead to an increase in private gatherings, which have been a leading cause of COVID-19 transmission. Shutting down businesses again could also have devastating impacts on an already suffering economy. So, for now, it appears B.C. will remain in Phase 3. Only time will tell if that will change too.

Perhaps the biggest change of all could come on Sept. 23 when parliament resumes. The Liberals will present a new Throne Speech and face a test of confidence in the House of Commons following the fallout of the WE Charity scandal. If their Throne Speech does not pass, it could trigger a snap election in the fall.

Canadians would have to head to the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and could elect a new government during one of the most severe national crises in decades.

There are only four months of March left in 2020, and they could prove to be the most challenging of all. Change is in the air folks, and fall is on its way.

— Cole Schisler

Black Press Media

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