Northern schools roll out safety plans for 2020-21
- Judith Iron | September 24, 2020
What the 2020-21 school year will look like in the north has been the topic of conversation for many communities recently. With the announcement that school would continue normally in September many parents had a difficult time deciding whether or not they will be sending their kids to school.
First Nations and Metis communities in the north have been proactive in doing what they can to protect their people from contracting the Coronavirus since its onset.
Educators are holding meetings with parents to discuss the health, safety, and wellness of students who will be returning to school in September.
Sharon Hoffman, principal at Rossignol Elementary School in Ile a la Crosse, has covered all the bases for the new school year for the pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6 students.
“We will be staggering entry into the school using five entrances,” said Hoffman. “The janitors will be cleaning the bathrooms a lot more and doing hourly sanitizing of the high traffic areas.”
Hoffman also plans to have students wear masks when social distancing is impossible. The school will have an outdoor wellness period in lieu of the regular recess so the kids will still have a break from class while getting some fresh air.
The Northern Lights School Division #113 (NLSD 113) has a welcome alternative for hesitant parents, who will have the option of registering their kids for online school. On August 22 the division announced that online education classes would be available for Kindergarten to Grade 12 through their website at edcentre.ca.
Dean Squires, principal of the Ed Centre says, “We are very excited to offer the K to Grade 9 this year. It’s brand new to our service, but we’ve had many successes over the years.”
The Jans Bay school will practice social distancing, require masks, stagger entrances into the school, do daily sanitizing, and will increase the frequency of the cleaning of the building, said superintendent Jackie Durocher. All of the NLSD 113 schools have their own back-to-school plans based on the chief medical health officer’s guidelines and suggestions.
“We are doing everything we can to meet all safety requirements for this year’s return to school. Our main concern is the health, safety, and wellness of our students, staff, and the community,” says Durocher.
Jason Young is the Director of Education for the Northern Lights School Division. “Our focus really is how do we assist students and parents in providing them with a quality education during this pandemic? We intend to go forward in a way that is safe for students and staff because their education and health is important to us,” he said.
The consensus is that the 20-21 school year will most likely include masks, hand sanitizers, constant sanitizing, social distancing, staggered arrivals, and temperature checks.