Sooke School District is set to welcome back all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 on September 8 for the 2020-2021 school year. (Black Press Media file photo)

Sooke School District is set to welcome back all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 on September 8 for the 2020-2021 school year. (Black Press Media file photo)

School district set to welcome back students Sept. 8

‘There’s a lot of anxiety out there for parents,’ says school board chair

Sooke School District board chair Ravi Parmar is impressed with the work provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Educational Minister Rob Fleming have done to prepare students to return to school in September.

But he points out classrooms will look a lot different to deal with the “new normal.” 

Sept. 8 will be the first day of classes.

Students will be organized into “learning groups,” made up of a consistent group of staff and students to reduce the risk of transmission, Fleming said.

Students will be assigned to groups of up to 60 for younger grades and 120 for high school, which means some middle and high school students will see some changes to their daily schedules.

Staff and students will also be required to assess themselves daily for symptoms of the coronavirus. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, they will be told to stay home.

READ MORE: Sooke School District loses $2 million due to lack of international students

“We’ve seen and heard about the detriment that having schools closed have done to our students,” said Parmar. “It’s fair to say that it will be easier to accommodate the restart plan [at Edward Milne Community Secondary], but a lot of work still needs to happen.”

Sooke School District is relatively diverse. Belmont Secondary, its biggest school, has hit between 1,200 to 1,300 student enrolment in previous years, while its elementary school in Port Renfrew taught 11 students last year. Port Renfrew is expecting to double that number this fall.

The province will also be giving $45.6 million in funding to schools to ensure adequate and regular cleaning of high-contact services, as well as increasing the number of available hand-hygiene stations and optional masks.

Middle and secondary schools in the district now operate on a semester system, but Parmar said those plans could be kicked to the curb if there are better options to help adhere to provincial health regulations.

Each district will have until Aug. 26 to finalize its restart plan for the province for review.

“There’s a lot of anxiety out there for parents, staff, and students,” Parmar said. “September will bring new stress that we’ve never faced before, but we are hard at work to ensure the safety of every student.”

— with files from Ashley Wadhwani

ALSO READ: Belmont grad to work at Ottawa’s House of Commons


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Belmont secondaryEMCSRoyal Bay SecondarySD62

Just Posted

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

Pacific sand dollars are a local species which belong to the same group as sea urchins. While alive, they are covered entirely by thousands of densely packed, short and slender spikes. (Photo courtesy of Louise Page)
The peculiar life of a Pacific sand dollar

UVic biology professor Louise Page offers a glace into sand dollars’ world under the water

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read