Young Road at Central elementary in Chilliwack on June 1, 2020 for the first day back to part-time and optional school since March 12, 2020. School is expected to be open to all students full time in September under Stage 2 of the provincial plan. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

Chilliwack school district staff working on September classroom plans

More information about back-to-school plans to be unveiled by Aug. 26 says senior district staff

There is no Chilliwack-specific information on back-to-school protocols, yet, according to senior staff at the school district.

Last week, the Ministry of Education and provincial medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry held a joint press conference to announce the current working plan for getting students back into classes on Sept. 8. Now, the task of applying those guidelines in each community is up to district staff members.

Interim superintendent Rohan Arul-Pragasam says they will be providing more information to families and staff no later than Aug. 26, and that information will be made available on their websites.

“We know that families will have many questions regarding school in September, and in particular their child’s educational program,” the website currently states. “During the month of August, district staff will be working on Chilliwack School District Stage 2 plans, aligned with the Ministry guidelines, which will be posted on individual school websites as well as the district website no later than August 26, 2020. Please be assured that health and safety of staff and students will continue to be paramount as we plan for September.”

What school will not look like is the model that rolled out near the end of the school year, with teachers balancing between students at home and students at school. However, Chilliwack School District is offering a hybrid model that is designed for students who excelled at that combination of home learning. There will be teachers dedicated to those students.

READ MORE: B.C. teacher hopes province will change back-to-school plan in fear of COVID transmission

Students not enrolled in hybrid model will be working in class with their teacher, as per the current Stage 2 provincial plan. Stage 2 is a full return to in-class instruction for all students for the maximum time possible within learning group limits. Learning groups are different than classrooms. They are co-horts of students and even staff who are blocked together that could interact in hallways, on breaks and in common areas. For K-7, learning groups are topped at 60. For high school, they are topped at 120.

Rob Fleming, ministry of education, also noted that schools larger than 1,500 students will be required to have their own plans for keeping students distanced. Chilliwack secondary school is the only school in the district that exceeds 1,500 at this time, Arul-Pragasam confirmed with The Progress.

Currently, no students will be required to wear masks inside or outside the classroom, although they are being recommended for areas such as hallways and buses where distancing is not possible. The Ministry of Education announced funding to make masks and other PPE available to any staff or student by request.

READ MORE: Premier wants parents to have Plan B if COVID-19 disrupts September school plans

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