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Vancouver School District shares proposed back-to-school plan

| Categories: Curriculum & Learning, COVID-19

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The Vancouver School District shares its proposed plan for schools in September,guided by the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Office requirements.;The draft proposed plan will be presented to the Board of Education at a Special Board Meeting on August 19, 2020 at 7 pm.

Under the government’s Five-Stage Plan, school will resume under Stage 2 in September. Full time instruction will take place within learning groups. The proposed plan, which requires the Ministry of Education approval, will help ensure the safe return to school for students and staff.   


School Operations 

Vancouver students will attend school every day under Stage 2 of the government’s plan.  

Enhanced health and safety measures will be in place before students return to schools.   

In elementary schools, learning groups will be a maximum of 60 students and staff.  

  • Students will attend full time instruction in schools.  
  • All classes will use Microsoft TEAMS – even with in-person learning – so students and staff can smoothly transition between stages, if needed and directed by the provincial government.
  • School administrators will contact student families with specific details about school schedules, including gradual entry for kindergarten students as well as about health and safety orientation sessions for students and their families.
  • Additional information on the District’s elementary school return will be provided. Families can expect to begin hearing from their child’s school the week of August 24

In secondary schools, learning groups are limited to 120 students and staff.  

  • Secondary students will attend in-class instruction every day.  
  • To keep to the 120-learning group limit, while still offering all course options for students, the secondary schedule will operate on a quarterly basis.  
  • Students will take two courses every 10 weeks, through a combination of in-class and remote learning.  
  • Flex time will be available for those who would like additional help. Flex time will also be in place to support students with diverse learning needs. It will also support courses like yearbook, trades and Advanced Placement courses as well as programs such as International Baccalaureate and skills programs, and, other unique course offerings.  

As previously announced by the government, the first two days of the school year will see only staff in schools. During this time, they will review all health and safety measures and reach out to students and their families with specific details about the first week of student attendance. Classes will be organized and timetables finalized.   

Health and Safety Measures 

Revised health and safety guidelines have been provided to the District and these will be fully in place for the start of the school year. Students, their families and staff can expect the continuation of health and safety practices that were put in place in June. These include: 

  • Enhanced cleaning.
  • Frequent hand washing/sanitizing. 
  • Reminders to reduce physical contact and maximize physical distancing in all schools. 
  • Frequent reminders about respiratory etiquette will take place.
  • Daily self-health assessments for all staff and students.  
  • Staggered pick-up and drop-off times at some elementary schools (depending on size and entry/exit points). Recess and lunch breaks may also be staggered.  
  • At the secondary level, students will arrive for their scheduled class and flex time.  
  • Every student and staff member will be given masks when they return to school. 
  • As in June, entry into all schools will be limited to staff and students. Other visitors can request an appointment through school offices. 
  • School windows will be open when possible. School HVAC systems will be set to increase the intake of outside air and to maximize air exchange in classrooms.  


“Everyone in schools across the District looks forward to safely welcoming back students in September. As always, the health, safety and well-being of students and staff remain the District’s top priority.” – Suzanne Hoffman, Superintendent of Schools, Vancouver School District   

“Vancouver Secondary principals and vice-principals look forward to welcoming our students back to school this September. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure a safe and orderly school year focused on providing each student with engaging and high-quality learning opportunities. – Tim McGeer, President, Vancouver Association of Secondary School Administrators  

“Elementary principals and vice-principals in the Vancouver School District will continue to work alongside District and school-based staff in order to provide a safe teaching and learning environment as we welcome students and staff back to school.” – Cathy Thomas, President, Vancouver Elementary Principals’ and Vice- Principals’ Association   

“Teachers know that welcoming students back to school needs to be safe and supports need to be in place. We also know that school is a key part of our communities and are dedicated to instruction that is equitable and protects the health and safety of students, teachers and families.” –  Joanne Sutherland, President, Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association  

"We have been consulted throughout the development of this proposed plan and are encouraged that everyone is working hard to minimize the risks to students, staff and families while achieving the best possible learning outcomes.”  – Treena Goolieff, President, Vancouver Secondary School Teachers’ Association 

“I am pleased with the collaboration between the union (CUPE Local 15) and the District senior management. It has been productive. We will continue to work with senior management on the development of the District’s restart plan and work to ensure we are following the PHO OH&S guide lines as well as the Ministry of Education’s operational guidelines for the safety of students and staff in our District.” – Warren Williams, President, CUPE Local 15 

“On behalf of the Board, I extend our gratitude to District staff and our stakeholder representatives for their expertise and collaboration in the development of this proposed plan.” -  Janet Fraser, Chair, Vancouver School Board 

For more information: 

Videos from District staff


Fact Sheet – Health and Safety

Fact Sheet – Secondary

Fact Sheet - Elementary 

BC Ministry of Education

Board agenda 

Board Meeting Live Stream 


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