School starts on Thursday and CTV News has taken an inside look on how Belmont Secondary School will safely reopen in Langford.
Jim Lamond wears glasses and is the school’s principal. When asked how he’s feeling, he says he’s still working out the kinks of wearing a face mask.
“Other than my glasses fogging up regularly, which I’m learning about, (I’m) pretty excited,” he said.
He’s confident his school is ready for the return of the 1,400 students that attend Belmont.
“Everyday is a new day and things are changing frequently,” said Lamond. “We’re really excited about welcoming kids back, as this is a step towards normalcy for us.”
Normalcy will be entering the school through designated zones and hand sanitization is a must upon entry.
“As of right now we’ve chosen not to disrupt lockers,” said the principal.
Belmont has chosen a one-eighth model of teaching, meaning students will be in cohorts and attend school in either the morning or afternoon. They will take one class for five-weeks at a time and then move on to the next.
“There will be a transition and a cleaning in between the day,” said Lamond.
Due to the shortened school day, students can expect an increase in homework.
“We also have all of our resources uploaded to our website through our library learning commons,” said Lamond. “Students and families will have access to the textbooks they need from home in a digital format.”
Desks have also been spaced out for physical distancing. Chairs have been placed on commonly used seating areas to stop students from sitting close to each other and of course signage and directional markers are everywhere.
As for getting your child to school if he or she normally takes the bus?
“Now that we’ve reassessed the ridership – now we’re trying to put together the routes that will best meet those needs.” said Scott Stinson, Superintendent of Schools for the Sooke School District.
Buses will need to run midday, in order to accommodate the split day of learning.
“So, there’s a little bit more complexity to it this year than normally,” said Stinson. “We’re working on putting all those pieces together.”
“As well, we’re aligning our health and safety protocols for drivers and students on the busses,” he said.
Stinson went on to say that the school district will soon be receiving $2-million in federal funding. That money will be used to hire more support staff, increase ventilation in older schools in the district, hire more bus drivers and increase the funding available for remote learning.