Students at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School in Courtenay will notice some changes when they return on Thursday.
Stickers on the floor tell them where they can walk, hand sanitizing stations are at every entrance and the classrooms are set up to ensure physical distancing.
“This is a Law 12 class so this is a class that has to be socially distanced as a direct result of having four cohorts in it,” explained Mark R. Isfeld principal Sean Lamoureux during a media tour of one of the classrooms Tuesday.
The cohort sizes are different in elementary and secondary schools.
It’s up to the student if they want to wear a mask in class but anyone over 11 must wear one on a school bus.
All ventilation systems have been upgraded.
“We have a brand new HVAC system in and we’ve got new walkways to be able to access our classrooms from outside the building,” added Lamoureux.
Older students will also notice there will be no lockers this fall to avoid touching points and places to congregate.
“I think it would be safe to say we are really, really excited to welcome all of our students and all of our staff back into the buildings,” said School District 71 District Principal Paul Berry.
There are roughly 8,500 students in the Comox Valley School District and the vast majority have decided to return to the classroom, while some have chosen one of the other distance education options offered by the district.
“In addition, we have promised parents that if they are choosing not to be in the classroom today that if they change their mind in two weeks we will find a place and ensure they can return to their school,” added Berry.
The majority of teachers are said to be on board as wellm howeverm the local president of the Comox Valley Teacher’s Association wasn’t available for an interview Tuesday.
If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 anywhere in B.C., the province says it has a plan.
“I think you’ve seen the Provincial Health Office and the BC Centre for Disease Control manage outbreaks in workplaces, in long-term care settings to prevent it from being a chain of community transmission, that’s exactly what’s going to happen in a school setting,” said B.c. Education Minister Rob Fleming.