Greater Victoria schools to reopen with one-way hallways, rotating class schedules

Most students will have rotating schedules for June 1 return

Arrows on the floor mark the one-way directions for students walking the hallways of Monterey middle school.

The return to school isn’t the same, and no one expected it would be.

“If you want to go the bathroom, you might need to do a lap around the long way,” Monterey principal Ken Andrews explains. “We are lucky here, the way the school is set up, we can organize the hallways into loops.”

These traffic pattern guidelines come from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and the district’s own Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee.

READ ALSO: During COVID-19 think of parents as facilitators, not teachers, says school board chair

It’s all in preparation for the Greater Victoria School District’s (SD61) June 1 return to school, when it welcomes back all students on an optional basis. These are in addition to the current student population of 1,100 (of 20,000 total) whose parents and guardians are essential service workers (ESW), or whose livelihood and education has been particularly vulnerable during COVID-19.

Some schools are currently at 80 for ESW children while some are below 10.

“They’ll grow as businesses open,” Green said.

However, not all are expected to return, and for those who do, school will be part-time on a “rotational basis,” said superintendent Shelley Green. Children of essential service workers can attend full time, if needed, while rotational students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 can attend two full days a week. Grade 6 to 12 rotational students will be invited to attend around 20 per cent of the week, which is one day or could be two half days.

That number will vary based on needs, Green added.

“It’s not necessarily based on a maximum of students per room, but rather it’s based on space between students, traffic patterns and total numbers,” Green said. “The students will experience things [such as] how you line up outside the grocery stores.”

For instance, not all students are expected back.

Students at Monterey middle school pass the soccer ball around a circle on May 22, one of the approved interactive games. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

“[We’re hearing] some families are happy to keep the kids, they’re in a nice routine and will finish the year from home,” Green said. “So we’re anticipating that we’ll have enough space.”

While schools in SD61 did remain open throughout the COVID-19 crisis to the children of essential service workers, all schools reopened May 19 with an expanded list of students in ESW families. It’s this transition period that directional lines and other protocols can be tested to ensure spacing.

And for students struggling with difficult high school courses or children who have additional learning needs, schools have made efforts to provide additional learning time, Green said. There were already vulnerable children brought back to Monterey and other schools, “those kids who weren’t coping well,” Andrews said.

There are many cases of teachers checking in regularly who will also be able to provide additional face-to-face teaching for those struggling with challenging classes.

“Some of the more specific courses are challenging,” Green said. “I think about what it was like in Math 12 for me, and others, who need that additional tutoring. It’s been difficult probably for some of our high school students to stay on target, so they might have an opportunity to come in for that added time.”

While there is also concern about the financial impact on the district’s international student program, which is a revenue generator, what those impacts are is still to come, Green said.

READ MORE: About 80 children of essential workers attending school in Greater Victoria

“We didn’t lay anyone off, we kept all staffing intact and worked through [the COVID-19 pause] with everybody,” Green said. “With international students, [COVID-19] has curtailed the number of students. We’re still receiving interest [for the program] and will follow safety guidelines for that.”

Until then, the district is hoping the number of staff retirements this summer could offset the losses from the international revenue, Green said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Coronavirus

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

 

Just Posted

Suspected thief drops backpack of stolen goods and runs

Oak Bay Police use K9 for suspicious male

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 cases next to nil on Vancouver Island

Only one COVID-19 patient being treated at Island Health’s hospitals

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Most Read