Back to school in June?
In what has been described as a practice run for September, schools will open this Monday, June 1 on a part-time basis for 24,000 students. According to the Burnaby School District, less than one-quarter of the student population will return to the classroom on Monday.
But what will school look like for those who attend and how can parents be prepared?Many parents will be wondering whether it’s safe and practical to send their children to school. Whether it will be for one day per week for high school students to two days for elementary grades, and virtual school for the rest of the time, the school week will look different once again as the Burnaby School District grapples with new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Here is what we know about what life will be like at school starting on Monday.
District health and safety manager Terry Gomez has outlined a slew of new health and safety protocols, and guidelines the district has put in place.
- daily health checks for students and staff
- enhanced cleaning and handwashing
- food-sharing restrictions,
- school-arrival and break-time protocols
- social distancing measures in classrooms.
- desks will be spread further apart to allow for physical distancing
- high-touch surface areas in the classroom will be minimized if at all possible, so the district will be moving to the side or out of the room extra things that people can touch.
- extra hand-washing stations have been added at some schools
- school spaces have been evaluated to reduce pinch-points and discourage congregating, including in staff rooms.
- schools will also have isolation rooms - if staff suspect or see signs or symptoms of illness, that’s where a student would go while they make contact with parents
- the district has created a return-to-school staff handbook specific to COVID-19 and posters encouraging social distancing and hand-washing.
But staff will not be wearing head-to-toe PPE in schools.
Students in kindergarten to Grade 5 will go back two days a week, and students in grades 6 to 12 will go back only one day a week.
And, for high school students, the material they learn at school will be the same as that being taught online.
For kids of essential service workers and kids with disabilities or diverse needs, in-class instruction will be available up to five days a week
- With files from Cornelia Naylor and Diane Strandberg