It’s hard to know what to expect on the first day back to school during a global pandemic. As B.C. schools adjust to the resumption of in-classroom instruction today, staff at the Vancouver School District took the new protocols and procedures very seriously to protect their students and give them a resounding and warm “welcome back!”
At Prince of Wales Secondary, there were about 60 teachers and support staff in the building as classes resumed. The first block of morning classes saw about 15 students in attendance. School principal Angela Haveman expects similar numbers in classrooms throughout the day.
At the secondary level, students who choose to attend will typically be in classes for one or two hours a day throughout the week. When they are not scheduled for a class, students leave the school, unless otherwise arranged with teachers. This allows school staff to manage the number of students in a secondary school at any one given time as required by guidelines from the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer.
On a normal day pre-COVID-19, there would be more than 900 students in the hallways at PW. Although far less than that at any given point throughout the day now, Haveman is nonetheless excited to welcome back students to classrooms today. “It is so great to see them at school again and to be able to do it safely.”
In preparation of the reopening of schools for in-class instruction, teachers, support staff and engineers did extensive work to ensure the safety of staff and students as well a smooth transition for all. In many schools, arrows are placed on the floors of hallways to manage the flow of people in hallways. As soon as staff and students enter the building, everyone washes or sanitizes their hands. There’s signage posted with informative health and safety tips. At some schools, all the classroom doors are open to avoid contact with door handles. Designated entrances and exits also help control the access and traffic flow to keep everyone safe. And, there are enhanced and frequent cleaning schedules in place at every school.
While the task of transitioning has not been a small one, everyone across the Vancouver School District pulled together throughout the last couple of weeks to once again transform the delivery of education for students.
Learn more about the more the resumption of in-class instruction here.