School District 10 has released its back-to-school plan for staff, students and parents.
The plan outlines how SD10 staff will mitigate the threat of COVID-19 and ensure physical distancing is met when Kindergarten to Grade 12 students go back to school.
Getting on the school bus
When students get on a school bus, alternate seating arrangements and spaced seating will be implemented to ensure students are physically distancing.
It will be mandatory for Grade 6 to 12 students to wear masks on the bus.
Students in grades K to 5 must wear masks when sitting next to someone outside of their learning group or household.
Students will be placed in small learning groups whenever possible while at school to mitigate the threat of COVID-19.
Students will have to load the bus from the back to front during school bus pick-up times and leave the bus from front to back during school bus drop-off times.
Each school will have different learning group sizes when students are in class.
Nakusp Elementary School will have four learning groups, Lucerne Elementary School will have three learning groups and the remaining schools will have one learning group.
You can look at the different learning group sizes for each grade in every school in the district’s back to school plan.
Students will be asked to wear masks in hallways and certain areas of the school when they can’t physically distance outside of their learning groups.
Students will notice markers and tape along floors in the school to let them know which way they should enter, walk through and leave the building. Tape will be placed in school offices to let students know where they should stand and physically distance.
Cleaning protocols will be stepped up and more hand sanitizing stations and touchless paper towel dispensers will be installed in each school. Janitors will also disinfect commonly-touched surfaces in schools at least twice daily.
Officials are recommending windows remain open to increase air circulation inside schools.
Whenever possible, outdoor learning will take place for students in the district.
COVID-19 protocols and precautions
Staff and students are asked not to go to school if they show any symptoms of COVID-19.
Parents will need to help their children perform daily health checks using a self-assessment tool. The results from the check will be shared with school staff.
School officials will be tracking absences closely and will report unusually high absence rates to the school district office. The office will report these absence rates to Interior Health’s medical health officer.
Health rooms will also be put in every school in case students start to show possible symptoms of COVID-19. Students will have to wait inside the room until they’re picked up their parents.
Not all students will have to go into the health room if they’re not feeling well, according to SD10 superintendent Terry Taylor.
“Students will be put in the room based on their own personal circumstances,” said Taylor.
“We’re asking parents to be in contact with their school principal or office to let them know if their child could be experiencing allergies.”
Taylor said there will also be options for students to learn remotely if they don’t want to be in a classroom.
“Student can enroll in our Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning Centre instead of their neighbourhood school. We’ve already had a couple of parents request to do that” said Taylor.
“That gives parents the option whether it’s for part of the year or for the entire year to support their children’s needs in a remote setting.”
The school provides home-based learning for students and follows the the normal B.C. school curriculum.
Two reusable masks are being purchased for every student and staff member in the district.
Face shields are being purchased for all bus drivers and staff who work at different schools or who’ll be exposed to multiple learning groups.
Plexiglas barriers will be ordered for all secretaries, library clerks, executive assistants and other school staff to put around their work stations.
Gloves will be also be available at at all schools and on school buses.
Superintendent response to plan
Taylor said school staff feel good executing the plan as students head back to school next month.
“The plan was informed with our educational partners like our unions, our pact presidents, Indigenous elders, parents, our school board and all of our principals and vice-principals. It was all a very thoughtful an in-depth plan that we created in a short amount of time,” said Taylor.
“Overall, we feel really good about it.”
Taylor notes that over 70 per cent of students also already went back to school in the district in June.
Small class sizes will also help the district through the COVID-19 crisis, according to Taylor.
All students will head back to school on their regular bus routes on Thursday, Sept. 10.