Sooke school district reveals back-to-school plan with ‘one-eighth’ model for secondary students

Sooke school district reveals back-to-school plan with 'one-eighth' model for secondary students
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Belmont Secondary School, one of the schools in SD62.

Sooke Schools (SD62) has announced its back-to-school plan, which includes a “one-eighth” model for high school students.

Under the one-eighth model, secondary school students will attend each school day during either morning or afternoon for one course at a time, for approximately five weeks.

Elementary and middle school students will return to full-time in-class instruction in their own classroom groupings.

Two classrooms may join together to create learning groups of no more than 60 people that will take their recess and lunch together, or physical education class potentially.

“Not only does the 1/8th model drastically reduce the number of people in a cohort, it also reduces the number of people in the school at any given time thereby limiting the number of people in common spaces” Scott Stinson, SD62 superintendent of schools said in a statement.

“Outside of their AM or PM class, students will have the remainder of the day for self-directed learning – either at home or on-site where they can receive additional support or access resources.”

There are also new health and safety measures being put in place will improve sanitization and reduce school congestion in common spaces. These include:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Added sanitization stations
  • Hand sanitizers in all portable classrooms
  • Physical distancing for students outside of their learning groups
  • Mandatory masks or face coverings in high traffic areas where physical distancing cannot be met (middle & secondary schools, school busses). *Exceptions will be made for people who cannot wear masks for medical reasons
  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of schools, classrooms and high touch areas
  • Designated entrances, floor markings and/or signage to address traffic flow
  • Limitations on assemblies and other gatherings
  • Visitor access only for people entering to support activities that benefit student learning and well-being
  • Isolated rooms should someone fall ill while at school
  • Below learning group maximum at secondary level
  • Quick contact tracing through the learning group model
  • Trust in parents, students and staff to stay home if they feel ill

“Health and safety and honouring student choice are at the foundation of our plan,” Ravi Parmar, SD62 Board Chair said in a statement.

“We knew staff and families had questions, so we wanted to implement measures that would build confidence and meet the strong guidelines set by Dr. Henry and the Provincial Health Office.”

Earlier in August, education minister, Rob Fleming, announced K-12 most students would return to the classrooms the week of Sept. 8-11, however, in a more gradual format than initially outlined in order to allow extra time for health and safety measures.

School districts were required to submit back-to-school plans to the ministry by Aug. 21. The plans have to be made public by Aug. 26.

More details about SD62’s back to school plan can be found on the district’s website.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 269 cases of COVID-19 since Friday, 6 new cases in Island Health

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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