The Campbell River school district is looking forward to welcoming students back to class next month.

SD72 superintendent Jeremy Morrow says yesterday’s announcement that students will be getting a couple of extra days of summer break, will ensure schools are ready and safe.

Education Minister Rob Fleming has announced Thursday, September 10th as the first day kids will go back to school.

Teachers, staff and administrators will be back Tuesday the 8th.

“I think that we’re trusting in our public health officers and their decision to bring students back,” says Morrow. “I think what we have to acknowledge is that with COVID-19, it is still present in our province and in order for us to come back to school we have to mitigate risk.” 

Morrow says the district is going to take every step “to mitigate those risks for our students and our staff.”

Starting September 8th, all staff will meet with their school’s health and safety committee about how the updated guidelines for COVID-19 precautions will work in their school.

“There’s new language around learning cohorts, which minimizes the number of students that are in contact with each other. There is going to be enhanced expectations for hand hygiene with additional hand sanitizing stations and so on. We’ll have to stagger breaks where we won’t have all schools sharing lunch at the same time.”

Morrow is also anticipating face masks will play a factor in schools come September as well.

“We know for example, at this point, if you’re in a secondary school and you’re transitioning from one class to another or in common areas, that there is an expectation that masks will be worn,” he says.

SD72’s comprehensive plan for the upcoming school year is set to roll out on August 26th, and Morrow says it’s a plan “that parents will be able to understand.”

“I think we need to acknowledge that there is a high degree of concern, and for some parents, anxiety around sending their children to school.”

Morrow adds parents will have choices around what the educational programming will look like.

“We’ll make sure that parents are clear on what their options are and we’re going to support our parents in whatever decision they feel is best for their children.”