Expect a call: Central Okanagan schools preparing to welcome kids back - InfoNews

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Expect a call: Central Okanagan schools preparing to welcome kids back

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May 11, 2020 - 9:09 AM

Within the next few weeks, Central Okanagan elementary school students will begin to return to the classroom, but how many students or what that will look like is still being worked out.

The first thing the Central Okanagan school district is doing is contacting parents and gathering input on how many of them would like to send their children back to school, school board chair Moyra Baxter said today, May 11.

“We realize there will be some parents that want to say no, so what we’re trying to ascertain is how many want to come back, how many want to stay at home, and for the ones that stay at home, we will continue to offer online learning but it won’t be as much probably because a lot of the teachers will be back in school,” she said.

Teachers and staff are currently working from both home and in the classroom, in staggered shifts throughout the week. Classroom learning is currently only being held for students of Tier 1 and Tier 2 essential workers and for roughly 70 “vulnerable” students.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan teachers to head back to work in staggered shifts

They’ll also be working out how many staff members are able to return to work, as some may be immunocompromised or unable to return to a classroom setting for other reasons, she said.

“Between next week and June, we’re going to start having in-class learning for students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 on a part-time basis,” she said. “Classrooms won’t have as many students so we’re going to have to work out some sort of system where they might come in maybe two days a week or mornings… it’s going to be very complicated.”

Parents will still have the choice to keep their children at home, Baxter said.

READ MORE: 2,000 Central Okanagan kids will still get schools breakfast and lunch program

Grade 6 to 12 students will also be returning as some point, but the school district has been directed to bring back elementary students first, she said.

The province announced B.C.’s restart plan last week, and outlined three phases to restart B.C.’s economy.

As part of Phase 3, students will be returning from kindergarten to Grade 12 from June to September – with only a partial return this school year, according to the provincial website.

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