Students will also be provided bus service with cleaning and hygiene protocols in place. (Priyanka Ketkar photo)

School District 91’s back-to-school plan approved: Here’s what to expect

Hand hygiene, learning groups and screening, among the many new protocols to be implemented

School District 91’s back to school plan was approved last week by the Ministry of Education and the school has now updated their website with the plan along with health and safety guidelines.

On Aug. 26, Education Minister Rob Flemming announced the ministry’s approval for the back to school plans submitted by all 60 school districts in the province.

“We’ve had a chance to review each of these plans, and I’m impressed by the thoughtful, considerate and innovative local solutions that we see within those plans,” said Flemming during the announcement adding that each school district’s plan would differ based on the size, space, parental feedback and staff agreements.

The elementary schools under School District 91 (SD 91) will be running full time with all students getting in-person instruction. Students will be divided into learning groups up to 60 students and staff, but the students’ individual class would be the main learning group to maintain consistency and reducing pysical contact.

The cohorts at the secondary schools would be limited to a maximum of 120 students and staff as per the BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines. The secondary schools would also vary in the way they deliver the coursework with Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) following the usual semester system with four courses per day, while Fort St. James Secondary (FSJS), Nechako Valley Secondary (NVSS) and Fraser Lake Elementary-Secondary (FLESS) will be moving to a quarter system with two courses every 10 weeks.

Students with special needs and those who won’t be able to attend school due to disability or COVID, would be given alternative options through their individual schools.

Students will also be provided bus service with cleaning and hygiene protocols in place.

The school district also outlined their health and safety guidelines in the back to school plan which include having several hand washing stations, wearing non-medical masks for staff and students whenever possible within their cohorts or at places where social distancing is not possible, leaving windows open as often as possible for fresh air circulation and screening for symptoms upon arrival.

LDSS has already released their individualized plan on their website with details on the different cohorts, timings and cleaning protocols. The cohorts or learning groups at LDSS have been divided as Lakes Learning Center, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10-12 one group based on common courses and Grade 10-12 second group. The schedule for these groups would be staggered by including the morning start and staggered class changes or dismissals.

LDSS also mentions in their plan that elective options would be limited at least in the first semester as teachers would be interacting within their own learning groups and the school would focus on core academic subjects and required electives at least during the first semester.

As previously announced, all SD 91 teachers will be returning to schools on Sept. 8 for two days of orientation on health and safety and planning, before students return on Sept. 10 for a similar two-day orientation.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Skinner said, “Staff have been working for the past several weeks to meet all the new safety regulations and protocols and we are excited to welcome students back in less than two weeks.”

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