SD71 Health and Safety Coordinator says staff have been ‘planning for a possible return’ since start of COVID-19.

It’s been a tough couple of months for students in the Comox Valley.

The province first suspended classroom instruction back in March as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving kids to pick up classes via online learning methods.

Now that a plan is in place to get them back into the classroom on June 1st, Comox Valley Schools Health and Safety Coordinator Paul Berry said staff have been hard at work right from the start to make sure everything would be ready for when they return.

“We’ve actually begun planning for a possible return right from the very onset of this COVID-19 outbreak,” Berry said.

“To ensure the safety of all, the district will follow very rigorous protocols that are sanctioned and have been approved both by Worksafe BC and the provincial health officer.”

“Our custodial and operations staff began right away because of course we had the opportunity of two weeks of spring break and that gave us the time to get into the buildings and do a very deep cleaning,” he added. “We’ve maintained our schools at very low populations throughout this time, some staff have been in since coming back from spring break but for the most part, areas have been sealed and sanitized for many weeks, now.”

Berry said the district is planning to take many health precautions to help ease the minds of parents including introducing routine health screenings for all staff and students and having smaller class sizes, along with vigorous cleaning protocols and procedures.

He also explains that the hope is that when instruction resumes in June, kids will know what to do to make sure they stay safe.

“We will open the schools and ensure that they are safe, but we need parents to feel that their children will be safe as well. There are still lots of unknowns, what we hope is that parents will very much encourage children to follow the social distancing guidelines, encourage them to be washing their hands and maintaining those good hygiene practices.”