Elementary students are set to return to schools in B.C. starting on June 1 for two days of in-class instruction per week, if they choose to return. Ripple Rock Elementary School is seen in this file photo from April 29, 2020. Photo by Marissa Tiel – Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River School District prepares for partial, volunteer return to schools

Kindergarten to Grade 5 students can return for two days a week in June

Spaced desks, staggered drop-off times and hand-cleaning before entering the building are some of the protocols that will be in place when the Campbell River School District moves to optional in-class instruction for students on June 1.

In a May 15 letter to parents and guardians, district superintendent Jeremy Morrow said they were preparing for the shift, which is a move to Stage 3 from Stage 4 of the Ministry of Education’s restart plan.

“The return to in-class instruction is completely voluntary for parents and we understand that it is a difficult decision for many to make,” he said.

So what will change with the shift?

The district is in the midst of preparing its return-to-class plan, which will have to be approved by the ministry. The school district already has health and safety protocols and direction from the ministry and public health, which it says schools will be following closely. The plan will be posted on the school district’s website once it is complete.

RELATED: COVID-19: B.C. schools to being part-time class instruction June 1

As outlined in the ministry’s plan, not all students will be returning to class full-time.

Students in Grade 6 through 12 will continue with their remote and online learning. But there could be access to more school-based supports like tutorials, or the ability to work on projects at school, but only if deemed necessary by parents and teachers. There won’t be more than 20 per cent of middle or high school-aged students in the building at any time.

Students in kindergarten through Grade 5 will only be attending school for two days a week and there won’t be more than half a class at a time. The number of students is being reduced to “make sure that schools are safe for students and staff,” writes Morrow.

RELATED: Campbell River school superintendent says current learning opportunities not the new normal

Children of essential service workers in kindergarten through Grade 5 that have been accessing childcare through the school district will still have the option to attend school full-time. Students that have been identified as vulnerable will also continue to have in-school supports five days a week.

Remote learning opportunities for students in kindergarten through Grade 5 will be paused the week of May 25 as all school staff return to their schools. Morrow said it’s to allow them time to settle back into their classrooms and schools and to become familiar with the new health and safety protocols.

The remote learning opportunities for these grades may take a different shape as teachers also balance in-class learning.

Parents and guardians of elementary school-aged kids should have received an online survey last week asking if they would be sending their kids back to school in June. The deadline for the survey was extended to midnight on May 19.

RELATED: Pre-existing woes might deepen after COVID-19 for remote Vancouver Island schools

The survey is also to help with preliminary planning, said Morrow. He’s asking that if parents’ plans change as more details about the return to school plan are shared, to contact their child’s principal.

“We know that you might have some apprehension in sending your child(ren) back to school,” he said. “This is voluntary; no matter which option you choose your child will continue to receive support through this next phase.”


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