Thirteen new custodians have been hired across the Sooke School District, as most schools re-open their doors to students starting Thursday.
During a walk-through of Belmont Secondary on Wednesday, district officials noted the changes students will see when they come back for the fall semester. The school’s registration sits at approximately 1,400 students but the number continues to fluctuate as parents and guardians continue calling in to make adjustments.
At Belmont, there are three different entrances for students. Each entrance will be assigned to one of Belmont’s three floors and can be used as an exit as well. Hand sanitation stations are available for students and staff once they enter those doors and most washrooms will be set to a capacity of two people.
“Most of the block classes in high schools will be divided in half,” said Scott Stinson, SD62 superintendent. “Classes with 30 students will turn into 15 in most cases and our cooking class of 16 will turn into eight. But they won’t be serving any food just yet.”
Lindsay Vogan, communications manager for SD62, clarified that even if a student tests positive for COVID-19, it doesn’t mean the entire cohort will have to self-isolate. Each situation will be a case-by-case scenario, as it depends on how many people the infected person has been in contact with, how the student caught COVID-19 and whether other students show symptoms.
“Every process is a living organism,” said Belmont principal Jim Lamond. “We are ready to adapt as we see fit over the next few days and will be prepared for a full week starting Monday.”
There will also be a fourth portable brought onto the school grounds for students and lockers aren’t being used until further notice.
Visitors and parents are being asked to call or email administration to schedule access to the school. They also must complete a health check prior to arriving at the school.
Elementary and middle school students will return to in-class instruction fulltime but secondary schools will follow the one-eighth model, where students attend school every day for either the morning or afternoon for only one course at a time for roughly five weeks.
According to a recent survey conducted by SD62, the district expects to see the return of 82 per cent of its student population.