SD5 releases back to school plans online

SD5 releases back to school plans online

Each individual school has back to school plans up online as staff, students prepare for new semester

The Ministry of Education has approved the Southeast Kootenay school district COVID-19 protocols as students and staff prepare to return to the classroom in two weeks.

Jason Tichauer, the Safe Schools Coordinator for SD5, says the district put together working groups made up of district staff, teachers, support staff, parents and other stakeholders, to create plans for elementary, middle and secondary school students. From there, school-specific plans were drawn up, according to Tichauer.

The district has released it’s COVID-19 protocol guidelines, a 47-page document, on its website, while each individual school in Cranbrook should also have their own guidelines posted online for parents and students to review, added Tichauer.

“I think that was one of our challenges, is that we’re not building plans that are best for our kids or our staff, we’re building plans that are best for our students and our staff within these [COVID-19] guidelines, if that makes any sense,” Tichauer said. “So that was a lot of the challenge, if I say, ‘well, I don’t think this is best’ — you’re right, it’s not. We would never do this in normal times, because in the end, learning in guidelines takes a backseat to health and safety.”

Those individual plans include outlining the ‘shape of the day’ — what a typical day of instruction will look like, along with staggered times for recess, lunch, and further health and safety protocols for students, staff and parents.

Staff and students will also be required to complete health checks by filling out a daily yes/no questionnaire asking if anyone is experiencing a litany of cold or illness symptoms.

The start of the school year will be slightly delayed, as staff will meet over two days between Sept.8-9 to review COVID-19 protocols, while students will have two days of orientation on Sept. 10-11 and be introduced to the new school routines and schedules.

Elementary and middle schools will feature learning groups of 60, including staff, while secondary school learning groups include 120 students and staff.

Each level comes with unique challenges, according to Tichauer.

For parents with elementary school students, Tichauer said learning groups will likely be organized by grade.

“At the elementary level, parents can expect to see not a lot of difference because primarily elementary classes are with a teacher most of the day, maybe they go to band or something like that for an elective, but for the most part it’s the [one] elementary teacher they see all day,” Tichauer said.

“So that is really going to be unchanged. I think at the elementary level, you can pair two classes together, that can be a learning group.”

However, middle and secondary schools posed some more significant timetable changes.

Middle schools also have learning groups of 60, including students and staff, however, there are additional challenges in delivering some elective courses, such as band or trades instruction.

“Sometimes there might be a need to bring another teacher in for prep coverage or specific electives that is outside of that learning group because they may see other kids as well,” Tichauer said. “So those would be subject to more stringent health and safety guidelines, around social distancing, around PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] usage, but for the most part, they’ve been able to honour the learning group model for the kids.”

Secondary school students will be organized into learning groups of 120, including staff, as timetables were significantly altered, Tichauer said. Students will have two classes a day for 10 weeks in a quarter system.

As with middle school electives, there may be off-timetable courses outside of a learning group where increased health and safety protocols are needed, such as social distancing or wearing masks.

Grad requirements will remain the same, he added.

Under the Stage Two model the Ministry of Education is working under, there won’t be a hybrid remote and in-class learning environment such as what students and teachers experienced last June.

If parents are feeling any trepidation sending their kids to school, options include independent distributed learning or home-schooling. However, the distributed learning model is a separate delivery option from in-class instruction; it’s one or the other, according to Tichauer.

Tichauer said he encourages any parents with questions to review individual school plans and to contact administrators at a particular school if those questions aren’t answered.

“I think when you see those plans online and the fact that they’ve been pulled together within a week and the kind of breadth and depth of what people have pulled off…is truly amazing,” he said. “I don’t pump our tires too often, but I think our folks have done an amazing job of reconfiguring our buildings to adhere to these guidelines and really, to have students and parents feel safe about coming back.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Wolf photo by Brian Hay
2020 hunting season review and wildlife update: Part III

This is Part III of a three-part series by F.J. Hurtak, looking at the issues of the 2020 hunting and wildlife management season

It happened this week in 1914

Jan. 10 - 16: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Piling in place along Innis Avenue in Cranbrook, part of the new Broadstreet Properties development. David Humphrey photo
Innis Avenue to close to all traffic starting January 18

Avenue facing new development will be closed from Monday, Jan. 18 to Thursday, Jan. 21, for sewer connection

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read