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Prince George school district closes its playgrounds amid COVID-19 pandemic

Signs set to be put up soon advising residents to stay off
Van Bien Elementary playground
Van Bien Elementary school's playground as seen in the summer off Upland Street in Prince George. (via Google Maps)

School District 57 (SD57) has taken another step in hopes of flattening the curve on coronavirus (COVID-19).

All playgrounds within the Prince George district’s region are now closed to the public until further notice to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, explaining this is being done in the interest of keeping the community safe and healthy.

In a statement, SD57 Superintendent Anita Richardson says this is also in response to the B.C. government’s request for social distancing and hopes students and families can respect today’s (March 23) decision.

“Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated late last week that kids mingling together on playgrounds is ‘not what we need right now,’” the SD57 release reads, “and encouraged the public to practice social distancing while spending time outdoors walking.”

Signs are expected to be posted soon instructing Prince George residents where they can not go and play.

However, as playgrounds close, SD57 says school fields are still free to use so the outdoors can still be enjoyed.

“We are in unprecedented times and it is clear now is the time to pull together and put our community’s health and wellbeing at the forefront by stopping the spread of the virus,” said Richardson at a news conference last Wednesday (March 18) outside of the board office in Prince George.

“We also continue to be concerned about our vulnerable students with the need for unique supports. We recognize that many families rely on our school system for a variety of supports and we will continue to work on our plans to provide the supports that are required during these challenging times.”

Today, a new COVID-19 case was announced for Northern Health, bringing its total to five of B.C.'s 472.

More information can be found on the SD57 website, which will soon include a question and answer section.

The district has also set up a dedicated email address for COVID-19 questions as they relate to SD57 (

- with files from Hanna Petersen, PrinceGeorgeMatters