Students in Prince George will soon be returning to in-class learning, as School District No. 57 (SD57) joins the province in phase 3 of the restart plan on June 1.
Superintendent Anita Richardson provided more details of what that will look like at SD57's board of education meeting last night (May 27).
She noted that the province has recommended ‘one plan’ for restarting, so SD57’s approach will be similar to the approach of other school districts:
- Grades Kindergarten to five guidelines recommend 50 per cent capacity, or two days per week in school per student, in order to meet the density goal
- Grade six through 12, guidelines recommend 20 per cent capacity, or one day per week per student, would meet that goal
- Essential service workers and students needing additional supports are able to continue attending up to five days a week as needed
“The 50 per cent and 20 per cent density targets are based on school enrollment not grade enrollment,” said Richardson.
“Parents should expect a phone call from their schools indicating which days their children are eligible to attend, if they indicated on the original survey that they intended to return their students to onsite learning.”
Students will be divided alphabetically by family groupings at the school level.
She says for grades kindergarten to five, students will be divided into two groups so at any given time there would be a maximum of 50 per cent of students in the building.
“Each group would then have two days in the building. For instance, group 'A' would have Monday, Tuesday in the building and group 'B' would have Thursday, Friday in the building.”
Richardson says Wednesdays will be reserved as a day to focus on remote learning supports.
High schoolers will follow similar groupings, but with the 20 per cent density targets throughout Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday again reserved for remote learning.
“Secondary school students would expect to see on the day they attend their regular time table," adds Richardson, "but the bell schedule may be adjusted slightly to stagger those break times and keep densities in check.”
She says the district is currently working with local municipalities and school staff on safely reopening playgrounds as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has indicated that playgrounds should be able to be opened safely.
When students return to the building, they will also not have access to lockers or bins, and will be discouraged from sharing or borrowing items from other students. Richardson says students should only bring the materials they need for the day that can be stored in a backpack.
Parents are also encouraged to transport their children to school, if they are able, in order to decrease the density on school buses.
Students on buses will not be able to share seats unless they are sharing with someone from their own family grouping.
“Schools will maintain a safety plan in accordance with SD57’s operational guidelines and expectations,” said Richardson.
“This will be done by a completion of a site based joint health and safety committee which follows a COVID health and safety checklists to ensure all aspects of health and safety are being considered at each and every one of our school sites and are able to meet the criteria set for them.”
As of this publication, there are 62 cases of COVID-19 in northern B.C., including 61 recoveries and one person in ICU.