Vancouver fleshes out plan for elementary students' return to school

Aug 19 2020, 6:59 pm

The Vancouver School Board revealed a back-to-school plan for elementary students Wednesday that included pandemic precautions such as eating lunch in classrooms and mandatory masks outside the learning cohort.

“We want to hear their laughter in the halls and see their smiling faces,” Deena Kotack Buckley, director of instruction with the Vancouver School Board, said at a news conference Wednesday.

Students will be required to wear masks in hallways and other areas where they can’t physically distance starting in Grade 6. They won’t need to mask up when they’re with their learning group, however — which is a group of up to 60 students and staff.

Kotak Buckley anticipates learning groups will form from two “buddy classes” that will pair up to use facilities.

Students will either eat lunch in their classroom or outside. Common lunchrooms where students from different grades mix will remain closed in September, Kotak Buckley added. Students will either eat lunch outside or in their classrooms.

Many elementary students in BC are heading back to in-person classes in September for the first time since schools across the province closed in March to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Families should expect their first communication from their school on August 24. The next week, they’ll receive more detailed information about an orientation for students to learn the new coronavirus precautions.

By September 9, families should hear from their child’s teacher with more details about what the new school year will look like.

September 14 will be the first full day of face-to-face instruction for students in Grades 1 to 7. Kindergarten students will also start gradually coming to school that day.

Vancouver families who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back in September have the option to either homeschool their kids or continue distance learning.

The board’s plan still needs approval from BC’s Ministry of Education.

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