The B.C. Ministry of Education has released a guide for its K-12 Education Recovery Plan. The plan lays out broad guidelines for districts to deliver programs and supports in the 2021/2022 school year that are in line with the province’s over all pandemic recovery efforts.
In addition to releasing the plan, Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside also announced $14.4 million in funding to districts specifically dedicated to health & safety efforts, including cleaning and supplies. CUPE welcomes this news as it reflects progress in the extensive and on-going efforts of our Locals to ensure the maintenance of daytime custodial staff.
CUPE, through the K-12 Presidents Council, looks forward to continuing work with the BC government to ensure the necessary resources are in place to help enact this comprehensive recovery plan for the 2021/2022 school year, and to build on this investment in keeping schools safe and healthy for kids, staff and communities.
Recovery Plan Overview
Drafted with the input of education system partners and stakeholders, including CUPE, the plan is based on five guiding principles:
- Fully re-engage all students through high-quality in-class instruction and innovative approaches to learning.
- Align health and safety procedures with public health guidance to support student and staff wellness, with a focus on mental health.
- Focus supports to address unique student and staff needs, recognizing the pandemic has impacted individuals and communities differently.
- Consult and work with First Nations, Metis and Inuit to address the unique educational and learning needs of their communities.
- Engage and collaborate with parents/caregivers, staff, unions and community partners to develop local solutions.
Health & Safety Guidelines
The guide, and the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12, will be updated in August 2021, prior to the start of the 2021/2022 school year, to address specific topics in schools and to provide additional resources. The additional topics to be covered in the August 2021 update include guidance with:
- Gatherings and events
- Sports and extracurricular activities
- Field trips
- Cleaning protocols and personal protective equipment (including masks).
Until the update is released, the current Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 (dated April 16, 2021) will continue to apply.
Mental health & well-being
The recovery plan will also include particular attention to mental health and well-being. The guide offers a broad overview of the Ministry of Education’s approach to addressing mental health and well-being in relation to the pandemic and includes links to currently available resources. An additional Mental Health Actions and Resources supplement will be released in July 2021 with recommended areas of focus in response to the pandemic, as well as specific actions and resources to support recovery efforts.
CUPE will provide updates when the mental health supplement is released next month, and for the August 2021 updates to the K-12 Education Recovery Plan and the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12.