The Greater Victoria School District is preparing to safely welcome students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 back to school full-time this fall.
Enhanced safety measures and resources will be set in place to enable most children to return to class, as the province moves towards Stage 2 of B.C.’s Education Restart Plan.
“With B.C.’s continued success in COVID-19 containment, and what we have heard from our learning community over the last few months, we are excited to have the guidance to move forward in having students back in our classrooms this fall,” said SD61 board chair Jordan Watters in a statement. “We know how important face-to-face connections are for our students’ learning and for their social and emotional wellness, and we look forward to supporting those connections in a safe way.”
Schools will organize students and staff into consistent learning groups, to limit the number of people each staff or student comes in to contact with. All schools will also be required to implement and follow guidelines from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
“With the announcement today, our school district can now refine its plans … We will be reaching out to our partner groups early in August to continue the consultation process as we navigate returning to school in Stage 2. We will provide on-going communication for our students and families as we get closer to September,” added SD61 superintendent Shelley Green.
The province invested $45.6 million towards supporting school districts for the start of the school year. The investment comes as part of the B.C. COVID-19 action plan, and will help ensure increased cleaning of surfaces, more hygiene stations and masks available, among other safety measures, said the province.
“We know how important it is for children to be back in school – to both support their emotional and mental health and their ability to socialize and to learn,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer in a press release. “Being back in school is also crucial to support many parents in being able to work, but we must do it safely. We ask for families and workplaces to continue to be flexible as we come into the fall. We’ve put a lot of thoughtful work and consideration into reopening schools this fall and in making sure we’re supporting children in ways that keep them, the people who teach them and our communities safe.”
Students and staff are also asked to assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to school. Families can expect to hear from their child’s school with further information and guidelines as the school year approaches.
For more information, please visit gov.bc.ca.