COVID-19: SD67 plans restart program for Penticton, Summerland students

District following provincial guidelines as students return to classrooms on June 1

Students in School District 67 (SD67) are slowly starting to return to school, with new precautions and guidelines in place.

Acting superintendent Todd Manuel presented the school district’s restart plan during their regular board meeting on Monday, May 25.

As of May 25, teachers have been welcomed back into schools to prepare for the voluntary return of students on June 1.

An initial survey showed that 2,236 parents identified interest in voluntary face-to-face instruction for their students, about a third of students in SD67.

In-class instruction for Kindergarten to Grade 5 students will be available two to three days per week. For Grades 6-7, one day per week. For Grades 8-12, also one day per week.

The district is currently in stage three of their restart plan, meaning that they are open to allowing 50 per cent of students in Kindergarten to Grade 5, and 20 per cent of students in Grades 6-12, back into the schools, at one time.

Elementary, middle school, and secondary school students are being divided into groups, to allow for distancing. Elementary students have been split into two groups; group A will be onsite Monday and Tuesday, and group B will be onsite Thursday and Friday.

Middle school and secondary school students have been divided in four groups; one group per day, with the exception of Wednesday which has been designated as remote learning day for all grades.

Five days per week of in-class instruction are available for children of essential service workers, students with disabilities or diverse abilities, or students who require additional supports.

Children of essential service workers and vulnerable learners may have different schedules.

The district says they are following PHO recommendations, which includes twice a day disinfecting on high contact points, once a day general disinfecting. The district is increasing daytime custodial services, buses will undergo deeper cleaning on remote learning days (Wednesdays.)

All staff, the district explained, will complete a COVID-19 orientation on education and safety protocols, aligned with WorkSafeBC, prior to welcoming students back on June 1.

Many of the district’s international students have gone home, but about an equal number have chosen to remain in Canada. Forty-five of 95 international students have left SD67; 40 went home urgently during spring beak, 50 remained and five went home slowly. Seventeen were fairly new arrivals from Japan, who chose to stay here, made the decision to, “weather the storm”

End of the year celebrations for international students will take place June 4, a drive-through celebration at the Pen High Bus Loop, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The set target is to bring in 100 international students, and there are currently 74 ‘on the books’ for 2020/21.

Right now a student cannot take online courses if they are not in B.C. Principal Cann explained that schools are working, as a province, to amend a provincial rule to allow online learning for students in foreign countries, until they can come back.

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