First day for Lethbridge's newest school

Kids and parents lined up outside at eight this morning as they met their new teachers and were ready to get started on the new year.

Tuesday was the start of a new school year for many students across Lethbridge.

It was also the first day the Dr. Robert Plaxton Elementary in South Lethbridge opened their doors to welcome in their new students.

Kids and parents lined up outside at eight this morning as they met their new teachers and were ready to get started on the new year.

"I'm excited, my teacher looks really nice," said nine-year-old Hannah Boehme.

Only half of Dr. Plaxton's 388 students started Tuesday, with the other half starting tomorrow.

It's not just the kids who are ready to go though, so are the parents.

"I'm so excited, finally they can go back to school and I'm really excited for this new school," said Yang Wang, a parent of one of Dr. Paxton's new students.

"It seems like a lot of fun and a lot of electronics and stuff, they will like it."

Dr. Plaxton elementary is the newest school in the division and was named after the former super intendent who passed away in December 2018.

SOLAR PANELS

The school is 39001 square metres (42,000 sq. feet), has the capacity to hold up to 600 K-5 students and is located in the Fairmont neighborhood of South Lethbridge.

The school also runs entirely on solar panels, when possible, which has sparked the interest of some of the students.

"I think that the electricity is powered by the solar panels which is going to be nice," said 10-year old Cam Lusty.

"Maybe then the wifi won't cut out every now and again when we are always on electronics, so that'll be nice."

In addition to the solar panels, the school will also be focusing heavily on teaching kids about green energy and environmentally-friendly practices over the years.

Dr. Plaxton's principal, Erin Hurkett said she's excited to be overseeing such an amazing institution.

"We're doing lots of recycling programs in the school and going to be teaching the kids a lot about alternative forms of energy," she told CTV News.

"It's just a very innovative type of school and we feel that that is the direction we're going in many, many ways and I couldn't be happier to be principal."

TECH-CENTRIC

The school also has a very forward thinking electronic program, which includes iPads and laptops available for the kids to use and much more according to the assistant principal, Andy Tyslau.

"We're one of the first schools in Lethbridge, and maybe even the province, to have a VR program," said Tyslau.

"We partnered with Lenovo to get some VR headsets and we're hoping to get some 360 technology and some integrated VR learning so our kids can go to places when maybe they can't visit because of COVID-19 protocols or it's too far."

As great as opening may be, there are precautions that need to be taken as the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hits Alberta.

"We're still really vigilant about our sanitization practices and when we're supposed to be wearing masks, but I wouldn't say anyone's overly anxious at this point," said Hurkett.

"But we're certainly cautious and following all of the protocols."

All Lethbridge School Division schools require masks in common areas and when entering or exiting the school.

However, it's up to the individual whether or not to wear one while in the classroom for both students and teachers.

For more information on protocols for this coming year, you can visit the Lethbridge School Division's website.