Back to school in June?
In what has been described as a practice run for September, schools will open this Monday, June 1 on a part-time basis for 32,000 students in School District 43.
But what will school look like and how can parents be prepared?
Many parents will be wondering whether it’s safe and practical to send their children to school. Whether it will be for one day per week for middle and high school students to two days for elementary grades, and virtual school for the rest of the time, the school week will look different once again as SD43 grapples with new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This week parents will be receiving answers to frequently asked questions in a letter.
Until the letter arrives in parents’ email in-boxes, here are questions and answers compiled by the Tri-City News based on information from SD43.
TCN: Will students attending just have one teacher for the whole day? What about middle and secondary school?
SD43: We will do our best to have students in their regularly scheduled classes and with their regular teachers, to the extent possible.
TCN: Will there be ‘Explorations’ and hands-on projects using tools or in the kitchens.
SD43: Explorations classes for middle school students will not proceed in the usual configuration. There may be some completion of hands-on projects at secondary, particularly for student that have been pursuing career certifications that require practical assessment.
TCN: Are cafeterias going to open in secondary schools. If so, will cash be allowed? Will food items be limited?
SD43: School cafeterias will not be open.
TCN: Will drinking foundations be available for use or should students bring their own water bottles?
SD43: Water drinking fountains will not be available, but some water bottle refill stations will (provided they are ‘touchless’ operation). Most students are already in the habit of bringing refillable water bottles.
TCN: Will hand sanitizer be provided at stations or should students bring their own?
SD43: We will be implementing hand-washing routines with soap and water for students. There will be hand sanitizer available as well.
TCN: Given the staggered hours, will students still be going for a full day?
SD43: Students will attend school for a full day as scheduled: two days a week for K-5 and one day a week for Grades 6-12. Staggered hours may or may not be necessary, depending on the school and its layout. If, for example, physical distancing can safely be maintained because an elementary school has a large number of doors that lead directly from outside to classrooms or school population is low, staggered times may not have to be implemented.
TCN: What should students bring with them, if anything?
SD43: Students will bring basic necessary supplies including their technology devices and will be asked not to share supplies. Students should also bring food, snacks and water bottles. They will be asked to take all supplies back home with them at the end of each day.
TCN: Will there be end of year celebrations? If so, what form will it take?
SD43: Year-end celebrations will be primarily virtual with the addition of mementoes and/or swag bags, etc.