The Delta school district says the return of in-class learning is going well.
“Children seem excited to be back and the feedback from teachers has been good. In terms of the number of children returning, we're seeing the children in school that we expected based on the survey responses we received last week,” said spokesperson Cathryn Tucker.
The provincial government on Monday reopened in-class instruction to all students with about 30 per cent of expected enrolment in attendance province-wide.
At the high end were Grade 6 students, while Grade 12 students were at the low end, according to the government, which noted the numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning.
Other students will gradually be back in their classrooms over the course of this week.
As part of Stage 3 of B.C.'s return to schools, all families had been given the option to have their children back in classrooms for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year.
Kindergarten to Grade 5 students are limited to 50 per cent of the school's capacity, with a half-time or alternating schedule. Grade 6 to 12 classes are limited to 20 per cent of the school's capacity and approximately one day a week.
Children of essential service workers and students who need more support, meanwhile, will continue to be offered full-time classroom instruction.
Tucker explained that in Delta most elementary schools have one group of students coming in on Monday/Tuesday and another group attending on Thursday/Friday.
Secondary school students can book into individual tutorials on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. “Our schools have a range of attendance so far, but this is likely to change over the rest of the week as students in the other group/tutorials attend for their scheduled sessions. We'll be able provide overall attendance numbers at the end of the week,” she added.
Parents had to fill out a survey to let the district know how many students would be coming back.
An extensive list of new procedures were also explained with the district noting, among other things, parents cannot go inside the schools, students would have assigned desks and that there would be social distancing measures.
Schools and their high-touch areas will be cleaned more frequently with custodial hours adjusted to have a custodian on site for part of the time classes are in session.
The district also notes it’s implementing staggered drop-off and pick up times in addition to modified/staggered lunch and recess times in order to ensure physical distancing.
According to a Fraser Health letter last week on the return to school, scientific evidence on COVID-19 has guided the provincial response to schools reopening.
“Data has shown that children and youth are at a much lower risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, and if they become infected, they generally have milder symptoms. Children primarily get sick from other household members, and not from school settings. There is also no conclusive evidence that children who are asymptomatic pose a risk to other children or to adults.”
The Optimist on its Facebook page recently asked parents what they thought of the province’s plans to return to education.
The majority of responses by a wide margin indicated they would not be sending their kids back to class this school year.
As far as what’s in store this September for the new school year, Education Minister Rob Fleming said it is likely to be a hybrid model combining classroom and online learning.