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Central Okanagan School Board to allow some children to return to class on Monday

The Central Okanagan School Board has another update for families for this coming week.

After a few weeks of planning, some students will be able to do in-school learning, but students are being separated into tiers to deal with limited room.

<who>Photo credit: 123RF

On Monday, April 6, learning services centres in some elementary and middle schools will begin to accommodate the children of “Tier 1 essential service workers,” which includes healthcare providers, acute care workers, and emergency responders who submitted applications.

Teaching and support staff will provide learning and care for small groups of Kindergarten to Grade 6 children, Monday to Friday.

Tier 2 and 3 essential service workers are currently on a waitlist and the district will attempt to accommodate requests according to available space.

Public schools had to deliver on four points set out by the Provincial Health Officer
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Education Rob Fleming in order to make sure requirements such as physical distancing and hygiene were met.

Schools have increased custodial services to make sure that cleaning is done more frequently and touch points are sanitized to prevent virus transmission.

“The School District Health and Safety Department inspected the additional cleaning at schools
and established a universal standard of strong safety protocols to protect everyone who enters,” said the school district.

“As we set standards for school spaces and personal conduct, the students of essential service workers and the staff who attend schools will maintain appropriate physical distancing and abide by new guidelines for a healthy and safe environment.”

The district will also begin to distribute food packages to schools next week in order to support students experiencing food insecurity.

“We are grateful for support from community volunteers, who offered to provide food to schools. To reduce physical contact, our providers will deliver a week's worth of lunches and breakfasts at one time,” the board explained.

Teachers and support staff will reach out to families who are enrolled in these programs to determine need and arrange pickup or delivery.

Plans have also been developed for students requiring mental health services.

“ARC Programs and Child and Youth Mental Health, who partner with us in our schools, will
continue to work remotely with identified students,” said the district. “Foundry Kelowna is collaborating with us to provide enhanced support for students who may require counselling services.”

In addition, the school district, in partnership with community agencies, will offer virtual mental health educational opportunities for parents to enhance their ability to support their children during a challenging time.

“As work continues to create continuity of educational opportunities for all students, we want to
ensure that we understand each student's situation and that appropriate and meaningful learning opportunities are created,” the district added.

According to officials, families and students can expect that learning will likely involve both opportunities for students and teachers to connect in real time through technology, and independent learning.

Expectations of students will vary according to age and individual needs, and the district says they will provide more details as plans are finalized.

“Trustees have heard from many families expressing their appreciation for the
connections the teachers and school staff have made with them over the past week,” the district concluded.

“Thank you again for your patience, kindness, and support of our students as we navigate through these difficult circumstances. Together, we will continue to grow and learn.”

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