The Vernon School District has issued its return-to-school plan as students across B.C. prepare to head back to classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
School District 22 released its 100-page Pandemic Plan and Exposure Control Plan Tuesday, Aug. 25, which follows the guidelines of the provincial health officer and WorksafeBC, with approval from the Ministry of Education.
“Some of our students have been out of school for over 190 days and we are looking forward to seeing them,” superintendent Joe Rogers said in a letter sent to students, parents and staff Wednesday.
“Our top priority is health and safety – including the mental health of our students and staff.”
Principals and staff will meet on Sept. 8 and 9 to take part in a health and safety orientation course before students arrive on Sept. 10, where they’ll be given time to adjust to their new class environment.
Specific plans for each school have not been released, but Rogers says those details will be sent out early next week. Principals will also work with their parent advisory councils to schedule online meetings to answer parent questions regarding their school’s restart plan.
Learning groups will be established in elementary schools with a maximum of 60 students per group. Students will stay with their groups during class time, as well as on recess and lunch breaks.
Meanwhile in secondary schools, the schedule for the year will be divided into four quarters. Students will take two courses per quarter— one in the morning and one in the afternoon — for approximately 10 weeks.
At Charles Bloom and Kalamalka secondary schools, learning groups will be organized by grade to a maximum of 120 students per group, and students will attend all day with lunch breaks organized by cohort.
The learning group size limits will be the same at at Clarence Fulton, W.L. Seaton and Vernon Secondary schools, but for these larger schools the schedule will look a little different. Grade 8 and 9 students will attend all day, while half of students in grades 10 through 12 will be bused home at lunch time when cohort sizes and distancing can’t be maintained.
“This allows us to continue to offer the full range of courses students require in the graduation program while reducing class size for physical distancing,” Rogers said.
Masks for grade 6-12 students are required on buses, in common areas and other areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Buses will be cleaned after each route and pick-up/drop-off times will be staggered.
The full plan can be viewed on the Vernon School District’s website.