Sooke School District is set to welcome back all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 on September 8 for the 2020-2021 school year. (Black Press Media file photo)

School district set to welcome back students Sept. 8

‘There’s a lot of anxiety out there for parents,’ says school board chair

Sooke School District board chair Ravi Parmar is impressed with the work provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Educational Minister Rob Fleming have done to prepare students to return to school in September.

But he points out classrooms will look a lot different to deal with the “new normal.” 

Sept. 8 will be the first day of classes.

Students will be organized into “learning groups,” made up of a consistent group of staff and students to reduce the risk of transmission, Fleming said.

Students will be assigned to groups of up to 60 for younger grades and 120 for high school, which means some middle and high school students will see some changes to their daily schedules.

Staff and students will also be required to assess themselves daily for symptoms of the coronavirus. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, they will be told to stay home.

READ MORE: Sooke School District loses $2 million due to lack of international students

“We’ve seen and heard about the detriment that having schools closed have done to our students,” said Parmar. “It’s fair to say that it will be easier to accommodate the restart plan [at Edward Milne Community Secondary], but a lot of work still needs to happen.”

Sooke School District is relatively diverse. Belmont Secondary, its biggest school, has hit between 1,200 to 1,300 student enrolment in previous years, while its elementary school in Port Renfrew taught 11 students last year. Port Renfrew is expecting to double that number this fall.

The province will also be giving $45.6 million in funding to schools to ensure adequate and regular cleaning of high-contact services, as well as increasing the number of available hand-hygiene stations and optional masks.

Middle and secondary schools in the district now operate on a semester system, but Parmar said those plans could be kicked to the curb if there are better options to help adhere to provincial health regulations.

Each district will have until Aug. 26 to finalize its restart plan for the province for review.

“There’s a lot of anxiety out there for parents, staff, and students,” Parmar said. “September will bring new stress that we’ve never faced before, but we are hard at work to ensure the safety of every student.”

— with files from Ashley Wadhwani

ALSO READ: Belmont grad to work at Ottawa’s House of Commons


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Belmont secondaryEMCSRoyal Bay SecondarySD62

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before the fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read