A new school year starts up this week and some things have changed since last year.
Quesnel School District Superintendent Sue Ellen Miller says they are excited first and foremost to welcome students back to class.
She credits the vaccine.
“That’s the biggest difference between starting the school year last year and this year. We have a vaccine that will make a difference and we’ve seen risk being reduced in our community, and so we would really just encourage all our staff and students and families to be fully vaccinated to support the community.”
Miller says cohorts for secondary students and learning groups for elementary students are gone.
“Right now we’re really going to focus on making sure everybody does the daily health check, they stay home when they’re sick. We’re going to continue to practice really good hand hygiene, hand washing and hand sanitizing, because we think those are the things that made the biggest difference.”
She says extra curricular activities like PE are also back, along with sports.
“Extra curricular sports will come back at the school level and between schools in other communities as long as the health regulations allow. Students are required to wear a mask during PE if it’s a low intensity activity, especially indoor if there is no barrier present. But if it’s a high intensity sport we’re encouraging staff to move those outside…things like soccer, even basketball if they can play it outside on a basketball court.”
Miller says students won’t be required to wear a mask during high intensity sports because it is really hard to breathe.
One thing that hasn’t changed this year in the classroom and in the school is masks.
“Mask wearing for all staff K to 12 is mandatory, and all students in grade 4 to 12, and any visitors in the building must wear a mask in the buildings. And then we also need students to wear a mask on buses as well, so that’s grades 4 to 12 mandatory masks indoors and on buses.”
Miller says mask wearing is also encouraged for K to 3 students, although she says that is always a family choice.
These rules are also in place for Williams Lake and 100 Mile House students in the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District.
Parents and students are encouraged to go to the School District website and review the rules and regulations.
Miller says they have also made upgrades to the ventilation systems in Quesnel schools, and they will continue to do the enhanced cleaning as well this school year.
Teachers will return to class today (Tuesday), and the first day for students will be on Wednesday.