School District 71 superintendent Tom Demeo says teachers and staff are eager to welcome students back to classes on Monday.
Demeo said preparing for a return of in-class instruction for the first time since before spring break has been a long process.
“We’ve got a group of dedicated staff that have spent an incredible amount of time preparing our buildings, and our teachers preparing their classrooms, ready to welcome students back. We know there’s going to be a lot of anxiety coming back but our schools are safe, and we’re ready for our students and we welcome them back and can hardly wait for them to walk through the doors.”
Demeo said students’ safety “has been our priority since day one.”
For parents still on the fence, the window is still open to send their child back to school.
“Just contact your school principal,” Demeo said.
“The reason we ask is that the principals and teachers have been taking classes, and dividing them into two groups to make sure that we are addressing the density issue in classrooms. Just contact them and say ‘I’m interested in coming back and they’ll look up their schedule and schedule your child in the appropriate group and away they go.”
With a return to school just around the corner, Demeo thanked valley families for their patience.
“This is a new one for us as we go through (it) and we’re prepared,” he said. “Our schools are safe and I really want to reiterate that with everyone.”
Meanwhile, in a letter to parents, BC Education Minister Rob Fleming and Andrea Sinclair, president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, outlined what school-life will look like starting on June 1st.
Safety measures include:
- Students will be spaced apart and gatherings in hallways will be avoided,
- each school’s population will be limited to 50 per cent of its normal capacity,
- there will be staggered drop off, recess, and lunch breaks, with increased outside time,
- students and staff will be asked not to share food and personal items like phones, pens, and pencils, and
- students, teachers, and staff will be required to wash their hands before they enter school property.
Kindergarten to Grade 5 students will have the option to attend school half time (or two to three days a week).
Grade 6 to 12 students will have the option to go back roughly one day a week.