Going back to school this fall will look much different for Vancouver’s high school students, who will take fewer courses at a time to minimize their close contact with others.
The Vancouver School Board revealed its plan for students to return to school Wednesday evening, and secondary students will see a drastic departure from the schedule they’re used to because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of taking eight courses at a time for the whole school year, secondary students will move to a quarterly system where they’ll take only two courses at a time. They’ll complete a pair of courses every ten weeks.
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High school students will go to school every day, but they’ll only take one class in person at a time, explained associate superintendent Pedro da Silva. Every two weeks, they’ll switch which course they’re attending in person and which they’re pursuing online.
Da Silva shared a sample school day schedule, where a group of 15 students would attend a certain course in the morning, before having flex time to get learning support or take a special course and then go home in the afternoon to work on their second course remotely.
The board chose this option to keep class sized even smaller and to stagger arrival times to avoid crowding on public transit, da Silva explained.
Schools will create designated physically distanced spaces on campus where secondary students can access WiFi and technology to complete their coursework.
Students have the option to stay at school all day if they need to, but those who choose can go home after attending their in-person class.
“We wanted to maximize instructional time in a safe way,” da Silva said.
With the new schedule, students will have no designated lunch hour. They’re expected to eat during their flex time or after they’ve gone home for the day.
The board’s plan still needs approval from BC’s Ministry of Education.