The former Sundance school that is currently home to Ecole Beausoleil of the Francophone school district, will possibly reopen in 2021 as a catchment elementary school in the Greater Victoria School District. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

The former Sundance school that is currently home to Ecole Beausoleil of the Francophone school district, will possibly reopen in 2021 as a catchment elementary school in the Greater Victoria School District. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Sundance school to restart with students at Willows

School district delays Sundance reopening due to COVID-19

The reopening of Sundance elementary school will still happen, but not at the campus until September 2021.

The Greater Victoria School District 61 confirmed this week that it has told the families of 18 students that they can start in a classroom at Willows Elementary in September or delay their child’s start until 2021.

“While we were ready for the September opening of Sundance, with new furniture and resources ready for delivery, COVID demanded that we review our planning for the incoming students,” SD61 associate Colin Roberts said.

READ ALSO: Sundance elementary closure splits school board vote

READ MORE: School board to consider reopening Bank, Sundance schools

Willows has an available classroom for the 2020-21 school year that can accommodate the Sundance students and, should they choose, the families of the Sundance students can continue on at Willows, he said.

Ultimately, it comes down to logistics due to COVID-19 and that École Beausoleil (of Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique) has been there since 2015 and is leased to use the Sundance building until June 2021.

“Relocating the Sundance kindergarten class to Willows increases our ability to provide a safe environment, as it would be more challenging to ensure safety protocols are being followed in a facility shared with another organization,” Roberts said.

Shaun Kellett-Lemon’s son is one of the 18 students who are registered for Sundance in the fall. He said the school was going to start in a portable. He’s not upset about registering at Willows, but his family was excited as they live three blocks away and could walk there.

“My son plays in the field there, he knows the area, there is a sense of familiarity,” Kellett-Lemon said. “Willows is far enough away [about 2.2 km] that we will need to drive or take the city bus. I don’t want to do either, and the prospect of having to take the city bus in the COVID age is not appealing.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria School District’s new catchment boundaries eliminate programs of choice

As it stands, there are still questions as to when SD61 will do the estimated $5 million, or more, in seismic upgrades for Bank Street and where École Beausoleil can relocate to.

The SD61 board of trustees voted in June 2019 to reopen a combination of the century-old Bank Street School and the Sundance elementary buildings, which share the same land, for the purposes of a new elementary school. It was a key piece of the puzzle to complete the district’s shuffle of catchment boundaries, a change that was introduced to address population density in the core areas of Victoria and Saanich. The Bank/Sundance reopening is to create space that became unavailable when trustees chose to keep Victor School in Fernwood, a school with a capacity of 151 kids, dedicated to students with special needs.

SD61’s population is currently about 20,000 students. That number has been as high as 30,000 in the 1970s and as low as 17,500 a decade ago.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

sd61

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

Just Posted

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read