Nearly 30 per cent of B.C.’s total school population returned to class under new health and safety guidelines.

More than 157,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students were back in the classroom for the first week of the province’s gradual return to in-class instruction.

“B.C. is fortunate to be in a position where we can welcome students and staff back to schools in greater numbers under the guidance of public health experts who have put in stringent and thorough health and safety measures that make it safe to do so,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “The opportunity for part-time in-class instruction between teachers, support staff and students has been welcomed by families who have exercised that choice.”

“And those connections have been valuable for a significant number of B.C. families,” Fleming added. “We value the collaborative approach with school districts, education unions, principals and vice-principals, parent organizations and WorkSafeBC all working together to keep schools safe for students and staff, now and into the future.”

As of June 1st, kindergarten to Grade 5 students have the option to attend school half-time, while students in Grades 6 to 12 can attend school the equivalent of one day a week.

READ MORE: Nearly 60,000 students return on first day of in-class instruction

Students attending schools are limited to current density targets of 50 per cent for kindergarten to Grade 5, and 20 per cent for Grades 6 to 12.

Children of essential service workers and students who need additional support are still welcome to attend schools full-time this month.

All B.C. school districts have publicly available health and safety plans that reinforce the guidelines set out by the provincial health officer, WorkSafeBC and the Ministry of Education.

If families change their minds about in-class learning, they are asked to contact their child’s school as soon as possible so the school can plan to support the child.