Students across BC completed their first week back to school, and early attendance numbers show the vast majority of public school students did return to in-class learning.

All school districts in the province have been directed to follow the strict provincial health and safety guidelines for K-12.

Each of them is using additional funding from the federal and provincial governments to meet its individual needs, with many school districts hiring more staff.

44 public school districts and 129 independent schools have reported hiring 1,526 new staff members.

Specifically, there have been 624 teachers, 542 custodial staff, 73 educational assistants and 287 counsellors, bus drivers or administrative staff hired.

The ministry has also provided funding for 1.5 million non-medical masks, enough for every public-school staff member and student to have at least two masks.

BC officials are currently working on a one-of-a-kind mouth rinse gargle sample test for school-aged students that require a COVID-19 test.

This test won’t require a health-care professional to collect the sample, and it is intended to encourage students to get tested if needed.