SD67 students will be heading back to school in a near-normal in class instruction. (File photo)

Back to school closer to normal, says SD67 superintendent

No more cohorts but masks for grade 4-12

Students in School District 67 Okanagan Skaha will be returning to near normal in-class instruction on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

“We understand how important it is for students to attend school with their peers, and want to advise that this year, there will be no cohorts or learning groups in place, and school schedules and course offerings will be much closer to normal,” said SD67 Superintendent of Schools Todd Manuel.

Masks will once again be required for all staff and students from Grade 4 to 12 while indoors at school. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged to wear a mask while at school.

District staff will also continue to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least once per day, have directional signage to manage traffic flow, support daily self-health checks for students and staff and increase outdoor learning opportunities wherever possible.

During the summer, all school ventilation systems were inspected, and mechanical adjustments were made to ensure all sites are prepared to support a safe, healthy learning environment, said Manuel.

Updates to ventilation systems include increasing the frequency of filter replacements, mechanical adjustments to boost the airflow intake into schools, and where necessary, re-engineering of ductwork to allow for improved filter systems.

High school sports will be returning for the 2021-22 school year under the guidance of both the Provincial Health Authority and Interior Health.

Currently, schools are able to run practices following the health and safety guidelines, and they are able to plan for inter-school competitions.

Manuel said they will also be increasing counselling availability.

From the Ministry of Education COVID-19 Recovery Plan grant funding, SD67 has added additional counselling time as well as learning impact support teacher time.

“As we look to welcome students back and support both their social-emotional learning needs as well as help provide additional support to student academic learning gaps.”

“I would like to add that we know that our safety protocols worked well last year, and we now have an additional layer of protection through vaccination. I would echo Dr. Henry’s advice in encouraging everyone that is eligible to please get vaccinated. Ensuring everyone eligible has two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective protective measure against COVID-19,” said Manuel.

READ MORE: BCTF wants COVID testing in schools

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