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What is the province’s Back to School plan? Are students returning to the classroom?

Updated
09, 09-2020

Back to school plans for K-12 families are now posted for all 60 school districts, so parents and families can prepare to support their children for a safe return to the classroom. Families should visit their school district website to view their local school’s plans.  

Each school district plan follows the same strict provincial health and safety measures co-developed with the provincial health officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Education. School districts are adapting their schedules and learning groups to fit within those measures based on student population and local consultation with education partners, parents and Indigenous rightsholders.

Every day, school districts are prepared to welcome all students to elementary and middle schools. For secondary schools, timetables have been modified to adhere to the health and safety requirements and ensure that all students can attend most days, with much of their instruction occurring in-class. 

The health and safety measures that all school districts will follow include:

  • masks will be required for staff, middle and secondary students in high-traffic areas, such as buses, and in common areas, or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained (exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons);
  • even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group;
  • increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces;
  • increased hand hygiene with all students, staff and visitors;
  • school districts may also install transparent barriers for people who have more contact with others, such as front-desk staff, bus drivers or food services staff; and
  • staff and students (or their parents/guardians) must also assess themselves daily for illness, including symptoms of COVID-19. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to return home.

For BC’s complete back to school plan, including safety measures, orientation information and individual school district plans, see BC’s Back to School Plan.

See HERE for a summary of BC’s back to school plan. The plan has also been translated into 11 other languages: Arabic; Chinese (Simplified); Chinese (Traditional); Farsi; French; Hindi; Korean; Punjabi; Spanish; Tagalog; and Urdu.

What is the province’s Back to School plan? Are students returning to the classroom?

Date:
September 9, 2020

Back to school plans for K-12 families are now posted for all 60 school districts, so parents and families can prepare to support their children for a safe return to the classroom. Families should visit their school district website to view their local school’s plans.  

Each school district plan follows the same strict provincial health and safety measures co-developed with the provincial health officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Education. School districts are adapting their schedules and learning groups to fit within those measures based on student population and local consultation with education partners, parents and Indigenous rightsholders.

Every day, school districts are prepared to welcome all students to elementary and middle schools. For secondary schools, timetables have been modified to adhere to the health and safety requirements and ensure that all students can attend most days, with much of their instruction occurring in-class. 

The health and safety measures that all school districts will follow include:

  • masks will be required for staff, middle and secondary students in high-traffic areas, such as buses, and in common areas, or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained (exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons);
  • even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group;
  • increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces;
  • increased hand hygiene with all students, staff and visitors;
  • school districts may also install transparent barriers for people who have more contact with others, such as front-desk staff, bus drivers or food services staff; and
  • staff and students (or their parents/guardians) must also assess themselves daily for illness, including symptoms of COVID-19. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to return home.

For BC’s complete back to school plan, including safety measures, orientation information and individual school district plans, see BC’s Back to School Plan.

See HERE for a summary of BC’s back to school plan. The plan has also been translated into 11 other languages: Arabic; Chinese (Simplified); Chinese (Traditional); Farsi; French; Hindi; Korean; Punjabi; Spanish; Tagalog; and Urdu.

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My family trial was adjourned and not rebooked. What should I do?

Date:
September 9, 2020

If your family trial was adjourned and hasn’t been rebooked, you must either rebook the trial dates or schedule a Judicial Management Conference (JMC) to be heard by phone.


See Family Law BC for instructions on how to rebook a trial or schedule a JMC to be heard by phone.

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My family is involved with MCFD in BC court. What is happening during COVID-19?

Date:
September 9, 2020

If you’re scheduled for a child protection case conference

Child protection case conferences scheduled between March 15 and May 16, 2020, have now been rescheduled and are taking place by phone or video. Conferences that were scheduled from May 19 to July 3, 2020, are happening by phone or video on the date originally set. The court will contact you with details..

Child protection trials

Child protection trials scheduled from March 15 to May 16 are being rescheduled for dates after July 6, 2020. Child protection trials scheduled from May 19 to July 3 may be able to proceed on the date scheduled (please contact the Judicial Case Manager). All family trials scheduled after July 3, 2020, will remain on the trial list on the date scheduled. Counsel and self-represented litigants should attend court in person on the date scheduled at 9:00 a.m. to tell the court if they’re ready to go ahead that day. The court will decide which trials will proceed. Witnesses and anyone who has a lawyer are to wait outside the courthouse (within a 30-minute distance) and be prepared to be called to attend court.

If your child has been removed and you have a date for a court hearing

The initial presentation hearing or protection hearing will go ahead at the scheduled time and day (or on the court “list day”) by phone.

If you aren’t sure whether you’re at a hearing or conference stage

Contact your social worker or lawyer to check if you need to attend court by phone or if court has been delayed. It’s really important you don’t miss your court hearing. If you don’t have access to a telephone, talk to your social worker or lawyer to figure out a solution.

If you need help with your case

No matter which stage you’re at in the child protection process, you can get help. If there's a Parents Legal Centre in your community, call them to get help by phone. These centres have free lawyers and advocates to help parents deal with a social worker's concerns about their children's safety. Or call the Legal Aid BC Call Centre for where to find legal aid services in your community.


If you still have questions, contact aboriginal@lss.bc.ca.

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I am a youth living on reserve in BC, and I will age out of care during COVID-19 Coronavirus. What will happen to me?

Date:
September 9, 2020

First Nation youth won't age out of care during the COVID-19 crisis. The federal government announced it will cover the costs for First Nations child and family services agencies to continue to support youth who are in the on-reserve system. To inquire further, visit the Aborigial Legal Aid in BC questions page

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Can I still visit my child in foster care during COVID-19?

Date:
September 9, 2020

At this stage of the pandemic, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has said in-person visits are permitted in these situations:

  • If in-person visits happened before March 26, 2020, you can continue them as long as you follow public health principles to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  
  • If in-person visits happened after March 26, 2020, you can continue them through regular case planning instead of by exception. These visits may increase depending on circumstances.

Social workers and the ministry have to review whether in-person visits are possible in some situations. See the MCFD bulletin for more details. To inquire further, visit the Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC questions page or  Family Law BCQ&A - Parenting

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How am I supposed to have my affidavit sworn for my family law application?

Date:
September 9, 2020

The Provincial Court will now accept unsworn or unconfirmed affidavits as part of your family application. Be very careful that your affidavit is true and accurate as you would with a sworn affidavit, as the judge will likely ask you to swear the contents of the affidavit are true if you get a hearing.  A judge or justice may later require sworn evidence and will adjourn the matter to another date for an in-person hearing. See the Provincial Court’s Announcement and the Notice to the Profession and Public for more details.

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How can I get a protection order in BC if the courts are not operating normally?

Date:
September 9, 2020

You can still apply for a protection order.The procedure is a little different because of COVID-19. Learn more about Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders.

Both the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court are only hearing matters they determine are “urgent”. If you or your child needs protection from a family member, you can apply to have your matter heard on an urgent basis. If a judge determines your matter is urgent, you will have a hearing by telephone. If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911.

How to apply

Provincial Court: Provincial Court family court filings, including protection orders,can be made by email, mail or fax. The Provincial Court is returning to the pre-COVID process for bringing matters before the court.

Family Law BC also provides a wonderful step-by-step guide for applying for a protection order.

Supreme Court: Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia. While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods. See Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details. See Notice No. 24 for how to e-file through Court Services Online. 

Both the Provincial and Supreme Court returned to their pre-COVID process for hearing urgent matters. The COVID-19 Urgent Application forms have been discontinued. All new applications can be submitted to the courts.

See the BC Family Justice’s COVID -19 Legal Questions and BC Family Law’s Q & A - Family Violence for more information and direction.

BC family duty counsel is providing service over the phone. To find contact information in your area see HERE.

For more information, see: 

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I’m worried about COVID-19 and don’t want to send my child to their other parent. What can I do?

Date:
September 9, 2020

If you, your child, or the other parent must be in self-isolation, a court is likely to agree that a child should stay where they are until the need for self-isolation has passed. Otherwise, in general, you must follow court orders for parenting time as long as it is safe and possible to do so. BC Family Law has provided updated guidance for when children should not go to their other parent. See the BC Family Law COVID-19 Q & A for Parenting. See what the courts have said about COVID and parenting HERE.

It is best that you and the other parent work out a solution together. Consider these guidelines for separated parents sharing custody during COVID-19 and see if you can come up with an arrangement that works. If you need help coming up with an arrangement, you can work with Family Justice Counsellors over the phone or online platforms. 

For more resources, Hannah DeJong, a family lawyer with Boughton Law, created COVID-19 Family Law Resources (BC), which includes general information and resources.

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I am considered an essential worker in BC. The daycare is closed during COVID-19 Coronavirus. Who can take care of my kids while I am at work?

Date:
September 9, 2020

Essential workers can request childcare for children under 12 years old. Go HERE for more information and to apply.

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Is there any financial support available for families with children in BC?

Date:
September 9, 2020

Families who receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will receive an extra $300 per child. There is no need to reapply if you are already receiving the benefit. This will be delivered at the same time you would normally receive the CCB. For a full list of Federal benefits go to the Federal Economic Response Plan.

BC Families eligible to receive MCFD Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) Family Support Services prior to March 30, 2020 are eligible to request emergency relief funding. Families eligible to receive CYSN Family Support Services can call their CYSN Worker. A final round of the short-term Emergency Relief Support fund for CYSN is available from July 1 - September 30, 2020. 

 

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