Many of you will have seen the announcement from the province regarding school opening in September. In School District 64 (Gulf Islands) we are following the advice from Public Health to begin organizing our schools to follow a “learning group” model to promote the safety of our students and staff. This model organizes students into consistent groups that limit daily contacts (elementary/middle = 60; secondary = 120). Stage 2 of the provincial plan is built from an understanding of how schools and districts can best organize so that students receive the education they need while following the guidelines set out for British Columbians to ensure responsible and effective management of COVID-19.
Some notable changes in the province from the schooling experience in June are:
- learning will return to the regular in-class model
- blending of remote and in-class options will be discontinued
- talking about learning groups rather than limits to density of class numbers
Some items that will stay the same:
- enhanced cleaning of schools will continue
- routines for entering the school will involve sanitizing procedures for all
- schools will communicate directly with families as they work toward a successful opening on September 8, 2020
Again, over the coming weeks, our local schools will be making adjustments to reflect the new guidelines, and principals will be in contact with individual students and families as plans and details become available. For now, all students can expect to be back at school in September. The school day will be adjusted to ensure that the learning groups remain consistent throughout the day. This means that there may be staggered pick-up and drop-off times, recess and snack breaks may vary throughout the day, and class activities will be organized to minimize physical contact(s) and group activities.
Please check our district website at sd64.bc.ca for updates expected from the province in the coming weeks and continue to monitor the regular methods of school communications.
Each of our schools and staff look forward to welcoming students back in September. We understand that there will be questions and concerns mixed with the excitement of getting back to school. The district is working with Public Health and the Ministry of Education to ensure that our local procedures are consistent with the best guidance for safety – our primary concern.
Scott Benwell, PhD
Superintendent of School/CEO