Burnaby students return to school amid anti-COVID measures

About a quarter of the Burnaby school district’s students returned to school today after a two-and-a-half month COVID-19 hiatus – but the start of the school day was anything but normal.

Students across the city lined up two-metres apart and were questioned about their health before being allowed into the school and directed straight to a handwashing station.

At Burnaby North Secondary, a chemistry lab and home economics room have been converted into handwashing rooms for the time being, according to principal Dave Rawnsley, who posted a photo of the new “handwashing lab” on Twitter.

Desks in classrooms across the district are now spaced far apart, and clutter has been removed to reduce touch points.

At Sperling Elementary, Rachel Montague’s kindergarten class had only three students in it and plenty of space.

Sperling Elementary teacher Rachel Montague prepares to greet three returning students Monday. - Cornelia Naylor

“The advantage with three is that I could give them each their own bin with toys because, when they’re five, play is the most important part of their day, and being able to at least provide them with that makes me feel better,” she said.

Under the district’s back-to-school plan, kindergarten classrooms can have no more than nine students. No more than 10 are allowed in Grade 1 to 3 classrooms, and no more than 14 in Grade 4 to 7 classrooms.

Students in kindergarten to Grade 5 can now go back to school two days a week. For kids in grades 6 through 12, it’s once a week.

At Sperling, about 140 out of 527 students are now back at school, according to principal Dave MacLean.

For more about the district’s back-to-school policies during the pandemic, visit burnabyschools.ca.


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