Plan in place to get students resuming classes

A contingency plan has been put into place for the 500 students who were displaced after the devastating fire at South Okanagan Secondary School.

Firefighters douse hot spots amongst the charred debris of what was once Oliver’s South Okanagan Secondary School. Parents

A contingency plan has been put into place for the 500 students who were displaced after the devastating fire at South Okanagan Secondary School.

“This plan will include having seniors back to school on Monday, we have portables coming that will be here on the weekend, but it may take another week to have the Grade 8s and 9s coming in. They will be coming in on Monday as well though to be collecting work packages for their academic areas and set up a tutorial where they can stay and work if they like, get assistance or they can go home and do their work. That, I am hoping, will only last for a week to 10 days,” said Bev Young, superintendent of School District 53.

School district staff was working with Fortis and Telus to restore power, phones and Internet on Wednesday. All grade 10 to 12 students will be resuming classes on Monday using the existing portables on the SOSS site, the new Tech Ed building and the Catholic church.

This will accommodate all (grades 10 to 12) classes, including electives. Physical education classes, for now, will be outside and in community facilities.

Grade 8 to 9 students with academic courses this semester (English, social studies, math, French and science) are asked to come to the Catholic church on Monday between 8:30 a.m. and noon to pick up packages that teachers and staff have put together to continue studies for a week to 10 days. Buses will run for morning and noon pickup. The church will be set up and staffed with teachers to provide assistance to students from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Students can continue to also work at home. A bus will run at noon to transport Grade 8 to 9 bus students back home until the portables are on site and ready to go.

Young said nine portables are on their way to Oliver and will hopefully be set up on the existing SOSS site by this weekend. Crews and district staff will then work to have power, plumbing and Internet set up.

“As the coming days and weeks go by, we will have more access to areas spared by the fire. We felt that this is the best possible solution for our students and staff and we are committed to doing everything we can to continue a quality educational program for our students and to build a sense of community and school pride,” said Young.

A meeting regarding resuming class for SOSS students was held last night at Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School for parents, students, community members and partner groups to answer questions on any of the details of the plan for students.

Counselling services are available for students, staff and community members in the special services annex of the school board office in Oliver until 2:45 p.m. today. For more information contact 250-498-3481, ext. 104 or 106.

“It is staffed with counsellors and critical incidence workers for students, staff or anybody who needs to have assistance in processing this, dealing with loss or just dealing with the tragedy,” said Young.

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