The Comox Valley Schools is sharing its 2020-2021 restart plan.

It’s part of Stage 2 of the five-stage framework for K-12 education.

The district says the year will start the week of Tuesday, September 8 “as an orientation week to familiarize students, staff and families of the protocols and procedures to ensure learning environments are safe and fully prepared for in-class, full-time instruction.”

Elementary and middle level students will be back to full days while operating within a cohort model of a maximum of 60 students for breaks and unstructured time. 

At the secondary level, the cohort size is a maximum of 120 students and teachers.

Superintendent, Tom Demeo, says the plan was prepared in consultation and collaboration with the district’s educational partners, school administrators and Island Health.

“Our plan was developed using the direction from the Ministry of Education’s B.C.’s Back to School Plan and the guidelines developed by the Provincial Health Officer,” Demeo said.

“Our plan is presented under the cohort/learning group model and clearly lays out the delivery of instruction for elementary schools, secondary schools and for students with diverse abilities and disabilities.”

Highlights include:

  • Elementary school cohorts will be made up of two divisions to keep numbers below 60. Cohorts will work together on projects, interact and play together during recess and lunch break.
  • Elementary schools will have designated zones for cohorts which will rotate so that students have access to multiple play areas throughout a school week.
  • Maximum use of outdoor activities so students should come prepared for the weather.
  • Secondary schools will follow the Copernican Model ( or quarter system).
  • Secondary students will have two blocks a day of roughly two-and-a-half hours each for 10 weeks.
  • Students will have the choice to wear a mask in the classroom.
  • Students 11 years of age and older are required to wear a non-medical mask while riding the bus.
  • Ventilation systems in all school sites have been updated and comply with COVID protocols for schools and universities. Buses will operate with mechanical and natural ventilation at all times.
  • All staff will be trained and must pass a knowledge test on the updated District Health and Safety Requirements and Protocols.

The district anticipates that the majority of students will attend school and have face-to-face instruction, however, some families may opt for home schooling or distance learning.

At their Aug. 20 board meeting, trustees passed a resolution that school placement will be held for students while they opt for an alternative delivery of education. 

A student’s placement will be held at the school until September at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

“Families that choose an alternative delivery model and then decide to return to school are always welcome back at any time during the school year,” Demeo said. 

“We ask that families connect with their school first before pursuing another option and have a conversation with the principal.”

The district has put together a Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs) document available on its web page, Return to School 2020

FAQs will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.