Greater Victoria schools to reopen with one-way hallways, rotating class schedules

Most students will have rotating schedules for June 1 return

Arrows on the floor mark the one-way directions for students walking the hallways of Monterey middle school.

The return to school isn’t the same, and no one expected it would be.

“If you want to go the bathroom, you might need to do a lap around the long way,” Monterey principal Ken Andrews explains. “We are lucky here, the way the school is set up, we can organize the hallways into loops.”

These traffic pattern guidelines come from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and the district’s own Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee.

READ ALSO: During COVID-19 think of parents as facilitators, not teachers, says school board chair

It’s all in preparation for the Greater Victoria School District’s (SD61) June 1 return to school, when it welcomes back all students on an optional basis. These are in addition to the current student population of 1,100 (of 20,000 total) whose parents and guardians are essential service workers (ESW), or whose livelihood and education has been particularly vulnerable during COVID-19.

Some schools are currently at 80 for ESW children while some are below 10.

“They’ll grow as businesses open,” Green said.

However, not all are expected to return, and for those who do, school will be part-time on a “rotational basis,” said superintendent Shelley Green. Children of essential service workers can attend full time, if needed, while rotational students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 can attend two full days a week. Grade 6 to 12 rotational students will be invited to attend around 20 per cent of the week, which is one day or could be two half days.

That number will vary based on needs, Green added.

“It’s not necessarily based on a maximum of students per room, but rather it’s based on space between students, traffic patterns and total numbers,” Green said. “The students will experience things [such as] how you line up outside the grocery stores.”

For instance, not all students are expected back.

Students at Monterey middle school pass the soccer ball around a circle on May 22, one of the approved interactive games. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

“[We’re hearing] some families are happy to keep the kids, they’re in a nice routine and will finish the year from home,” Green said. “So we’re anticipating that we’ll have enough space.”

While schools in SD61 did remain open throughout the COVID-19 crisis to the children of essential service workers, all schools reopened May 19 with an expanded list of students in ESW families. It’s this transition period that directional lines and other protocols can be tested to ensure spacing.

And for students struggling with difficult high school courses or children who have additional learning needs, schools have made efforts to provide additional learning time, Green said. There were already vulnerable children brought back to Monterey and other schools, “those kids who weren’t coping well,” Andrews said.

There are many cases of teachers checking in regularly who will also be able to provide additional face-to-face teaching for those struggling with challenging classes.

“Some of the more specific courses are challenging,” Green said. “I think about what it was like in Math 12 for me, and others, who need that additional tutoring. It’s been difficult probably for some of our high school students to stay on target, so they might have an opportunity to come in for that added time.”

While there is also concern about the financial impact on the district’s international student program, which is a revenue generator, what those impacts are is still to come, Green said.

READ MORE: About 80 children of essential workers attending school in Greater Victoria

“We didn’t lay anyone off, we kept all staffing intact and worked through [the COVID-19 pause] with everybody,” Green said. “With international students, [COVID-19] has curtailed the number of students. We’re still receiving interest [for the program] and will follow safety guidelines for that.”

Until then, the district is hoping the number of staff retirements this summer could offset the losses from the international revenue, Green said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read