Students in Prince Rupert and Port Edward will return to full-time in-class learning at local schools on Sept. 8, Andrew Samoil superintendent of School District 52 said on Aug. 7, however what classroom learning formats will look like is yet to be determined.
“In-person learning best meets the social and emotional need of students,” Samoil said. “We will be working very hard over the summer to ensure that parents and students will know what to expect when they return to school in September.”
Board office staff will be working over the next month to prepare local schools for the safe return of district students in September, a press release issued on Aug. 6, by SD 52 said.
“The Board is pleased the Ministry has provided early notice of the plans for school in September,” James Horne, Prince Rupert District School Board chairperson said, referring to a Ministry of Education (MOE) back to school announcement released on July 29.
“Our staff will develop a plan that will ensure the safe return of students while continuing to ensure that each student completes their education with a sense of hope, purpose and control,” Horne said.
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Samoil told The Northern View that parents, teachers, principals and the public are all asking the same questions regarding back to school plans. He said back to school restart pans have to be filed, by each school district, with the Ministry of Education no later than August 21, with the Ministry responding back no later than Aug. 26.
“The problem is it’s so early and none of the principals are at work, none of the teachers are at work, so there is not a lot … So all we have is the press release from the Ministry of Education,” he said.
Samoil said School District 52 will start to contact the school principals once the learning guideline template is released by the Ministry on Aug. 10.
“It’s our job as administers of the system to see that it (education and restart plans) meets all the guidelines – but we don’t have the guidelines. We can’t write a plan if we don’t know what the guidelines are,” Samoil said.
“We still have to think about numeracy and literacy. Regardless of the format that we go back in, our duty is to continue educating students,” Samoil said. “We have a variety of other programs that we want to continue, because we know students enjoy those programs.”
Enhanced safety measures and additional resources will be able for most students in grades K-12 to return to school as the province enters Phase 2 of the Restart Plan.
One of the safety measures will be the creation of learning groups or co-horts which will be a consistent group of students and staff. These groups will minimize the risk of the virus spreading. Other safety measures will include increased cleaning protocols and the provision of cloth masks for those who want to use them. Use of masks is not mandatory.
“We couldn’t even give the specifics of what a classroom (will) look like because we don’t have the definition. We have the broad definition of what the learning co-hort will be, but we’re waiting for the Ministry to tell us.”
Further information will be available on the Ministry of Education’s website and on the district’s website, www.rupertsschools.ca and its social media pages.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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