Tuesday June 3, 2020 ~ BC
by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News
Today Education Minister Rob Fleming pitched a happy view of ‘back to school in June’ with an on-site media event at a middle school in Oak Bay.
The outdoor event on the grounds of Monterey Middle School included a tour inside the school with a couple of Grade 7 students.
Staggered attendance formula across the grades:
- During this Phase 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC, elementary school students (Kindergarten to Grade 5) are attending in-class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Middle school students are attending across the week: Grade 6 on Mondays, Grade 7 on Wednesdays, and Grade 8 on Fridays.
- High school students (Grades 9-12) may attend 20% of the time (approximately one day per week); in some school districts — such as SD62 on the west shore — that has been organized by timetable blocks – A on Monday, B on Tuesday, C on Wednesday, D on Thursday.
Kindergarten to Grade 5 students are limited to 50% of the school’s capacity, with a half-time or alternating schedule. Grade 6 to 12 classes are limited to 20% of the school’s capacity and approximately one day a week.
About 30% expected province-wide:
The Government of British Columbia reopened in-class instruction to all students on Monday, June 1, 2020, with about 30% of expected enrolment in attendance.
All attendance at schools is optional during Phase 3 of the Restart BC economic recovery. Remote learning continues at home. Teachers are managing their 2019-2020 classrooms in both respects, with a hybrid of educational offerings following the BC Curriculum.
The highest interest was seen among Grade 6 students at 48.3% of expected enrolment said Fleming, while Grade 12 students were at the low end at 14.5%. These numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning, it was stated in a Ministry of Education news release.
SD62 numbers (west shore):
On the west shore, the SD62 Sooke School District saw 19% of Grad 6 students in attendance in-class on Monday June 1. Superintendent Scott Stinson is expecting 5% of middle school students to return (based on parent feedback).
By contrast, the first day of elementary in SD62 saw about 23% of K-5 students back in class, said Stinson today.
Parents, teachers, students and administration:
The entire back to school process has involved much of the spectrum of community. Parents who are also workers or possibly under employed or unemployed, teachers who must return (with some case-by-case exceptions) under their collective agreement, students who are naturally concerned about the impact of disruptions on their education, and administration at all levels (principals/vice-principals, senior administration, and other departmental leadership) have had more than a full plate.
Most school board trustees have — by comparison — been keeping a fairly low profile during COVID-19. Perhaps most parents and students don’t observe school politics at the board level — and trustees — while connected and involved — really aren’t seen much in the schools on any regular basis. But other than participating in virtual board meetings during this pandemic, at least in SD62 the muted community presence by board chair and trustees has begun to be noticeable.
Children of essential service workers and students who need more support will continue to be offered full-time classroom instruction.
Families who choose not to send their children to school are still being supported by teachers remotely. Schools are designating specific time for teachers to focus on remote education.
If families change their minds about in-class learning, they are asked to contact their child’s school as soon as possible so the school can plan to support the child.
Health and safety plans:
All school districts have health and safety plans approved by the Ministry of Education that follow strict guidelines provided by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC.
Some of these health and safety measures include:
- limiting the number of students in school, avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas and taking students outside more often;
- regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;
- staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time; and
- asking staff and students (or their parents/guardians) to assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19, with clear policies not to come to school if unwell. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to be returned home.
Local safety plans are posted on each school district’s website for parents to access.
Students, parents, guardians and teachers can find health and safety guidelines, learning resources and accurate, timely information about schools, programs and educational services, including regularly updated frequently asked questions at: www.gov.bc.ca/SafeSchools/
To find a local school district, visit: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/schools/bcmap.htm
In the west shore (for schools in Langford, Colwood and Sooke) the SD62 website is www.sd62.bc.ca