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Education minister questioned on coronavirus

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 5:05 PDT, Thu March 12, 2020

BC Education Minister Rob Fleming came to Richmond this morning to deliver news about provincial funding for seismic upgrades. But he wound up fielding several questions about coronavirus and how it may affect students.

Fleming stressed the importance of working with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and federal public health agencies. When making major decisions, he said, these authorities will work together.

Fleming said in schools, students are washing their hands repeatedly throughout the day. They’re also told not to share food and to wear a mask if they have symptoms like a cough.

“Of course any child that may feel sick is directed to stay home,” he said.

While many families have cancelled Spring Break travel plans, some are still planning trips. Those travelling over Spring Break should research travel advisories.

“(Families) should be fully understanding that they might have to self-isolate upon their return,” said Fleming.

The provincial government is not considering shutting down schools at this time. Some regions of the province still have no confirmed cases, and the risk in the school system continues to be assessed as low.

“At this point in time, we have not sought or considered extending Spring Break, but I think a two-week break in the school system is probably well timed,” said Fleming.

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