SD73 Schools Prepare to Welcome Students Part-Time and Voluntarily

Posted On Friday May 22, 2020
Hallway Arrows
Arrows marking hallways at Sa-Hali Elementary

The colour of the arrows on the floor may not be the same in every school, but the safety protocols are.

And most important: Stay at home if you are ill with fever or infectious respiratory symptoms of any kind.

At South Sa-Hali Elementary, like every school throughout the district, administrators, teachers and support staff are decluttering classrooms for enhanced surface cleaning. They are separating desks, adding traffic direction markers to the floor, posting signs, and becoming familiar with the strict safety procedures now in place to ensure the safety of staff and students.

On June 1, students are returning to in-class learning, on a part-time, voluntary basis.

But it’s not a simple as grabbing your gear and heading to class. Health screening will occur every morning to assess each staff member and student.

Daily health screening is just one of a number of controls set out for schools by Public Health and WorkSafeBC. The others are:

  • Hand washing protocols
  • Respiratory etiquette protocols
  • Strict stay-at-home if sick guidelines
  • Surface cleaning and disinfection of facilities
  • Physical distancing as appropriate
  • Personal protective equipment for higher-risk student interactions

“With these controls, recommended by Dr. Henry, we are confident it is safe to have students and staff back in schools.,” said Alison Sidow, Superintendent. “Education is important. Providing students and their families the ability to regain a sense of community and connection to schools is critical as people begin to slowly return to a new normal. We are all looking forward to getting there.”

Here are some examples of what Sa-Hali staff are doing to prepare for June 1.

 Blake Buemann

Principal Blake Buemann expects students to adapt well to the changes that have been made since the students were last in school before spring break. He credits staff throughout his school for the efforts they have made to ensure the physical distancing measures are in place and the signage posted of the other safety protocols. 

 Lisa Chave

Secretary Lisa Chave will be the first line of defence in ensuring visitors (including parents) are meeting the new safety guidelines for signing in and out, and for health screening. While her work station is well positioned to meet the new physical distancing requirements, she is looking forward to seeing the students before the end of the school year as she is missing the kids and thinks it is important to for them to get back to class even for a short time before school closes for the summer.

 Andrea Schafthuizen

Library Assistant Andrea Schafthuizen is looking forward to having students using the newly renovated library. She is reshelving the 11,000 books in preparation for their return. Teacher Librarian Melissa Hunter consulted with District Library Coordinator Andrea Wallin to reimagine the space with banks of books, tables and seating areas that can be easily moved to accommodate collaborative or independent learning. A timely upgrade with new physical distancing protocols in place.

 Barb Niwa

A recent arrival to SD73, TTOC Barb Niwa is stepping in to teach Evelyne Diederichs’ grade 2 French immersion class. At least half of the desks have been moved out of the large classroom. The remainder of the desks are widely spaced into two groups. It’s a similar set up in each of the elementary schools in preparation for the voluntary part-time in-class instruction two days a week, with 50 per cent of students. 



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