It might not have been quite like the first day of school in September, but on June 1, excitement was present nonetheless, says the superintendent of School District 83.
Superintendent Peter Jory and other senior administrators posted an online thank you to communities regarding the ‘restart’ on Monday after the B.C.-wide closure which began March 17.
“The first day has gone well and the overall feeling was one of excitement to be back in session. We think as people see the protocols that are in place and talk to others who have their children in school that the number of students attending may grow,” the notice stated.
Approximately 1,000 students across the North Okanagan-Shuswap district returned on June 1, one-sixth or 16.4 per cent of the 6,100 students who attend the district’s 24 schools.
Because students in different grades attend for varying numbers of days, it is complicated to determine just how many students in which schools and which grades are returning to school.
Kindergarten to Grade 5 students can go two days per week; grades six to 12 can attend one day a week (different students go on different days) and children of essential service workers or vulnerable students can attend up to five days a week.
That has meant a lot of organizing not only for school and bus schedules but also regarding safety protocols and health checks.
“Our staff were delighted to have students back in our schools, and really appreciate our communities’ help and support,” Jory remarked.
He said there was was some anxiety during the lead-up time about students and staff returning to classes, especially after the good job that had been done telling everyone to stay home.
“However, there was excellent communication between our parents and schools, which really helped with our planning,” Jory commented. “People were patient, respectful and thoughtful about the safety procedures.”
With time off for spring break added to the months of April and May, students have been off longer than they normally would be for the summer holiday.