North Van school district releases back-to-school plan

The North Vancouver school district has released its plan for student safety upon their return to class in September.

The high-level overview from superintendent Mark Pearmain was sent to parents on Friday afternoon, with a promise that more details would be coming by Aug. 26.

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The plan is designed to prioritize student and staff health while maximizing in-class instructional time, Pearmain said in the letter.

For students from kindergarten to Grade 7, all students will return to in-class instruction in classes of 20 to 29, plus their teacher/support staff.

Pearmain said there will be more use of outdoor learning and classes will not be held in common spaces like libraries, music rooms, computer labs or the gym.

Students in those cohorts are not required to wear face masks, although they may if they choose, according to the letter. Teachers and staff will be required to wear them in high traffic areas, common areas, or when staff are interacting with people outside of the learning group and cannot maintain physical distance.

Students in Grades 8 and 9 will return to in-class instruction in groups of approximately 30.

“Wherever possible, the same group of students will stay together for the morning and afternoon courses, with some exceptions (e.g. elective courses),” the letter states.

In grades 8 through 12, students will have one 140-minute class in the morning and one 140-minute class in the afternoon for approximately 10 weeks. By the end of the school year, that adds up to a full eight courses.

The school will provide a dedicated block of time for students to meet with their teachers one-on-one each day.

Face masks will be required to be worn by students and staff in high-traffic or common areas or when they are interacting with anyone outside their learning group.

For students in grades 10 through 12, the day will be more complicated with in-class instruction in the morning and a blended model of in-person and online class in the afternoon.

The morning learning groups will consist of approximately 30 students.

“For the afternoon course, approximately 30 students who share the same teacher will be further divided into two sub-cohorts of 15 students. These two smaller cohorts will experience a blended model of in-person and online learning, but on alternate days of the week,” the letter states.

The learning groups for the morning and afternoon classes will be different and the groups will be required to keep physically distanced from one another.

The plan must still be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Education.

“I would also like to sincerely thank all of you for your patience and trust in your school district, and for giving us the time needed to develop a plan for the safe return to in-class instruction for the majority of our students and our staff,” Pearmain wrote. “Like you, we fully recognize and appreciate that for our students and staff to realize the many benefits of in-class instruction, our back-to-school plan must continue to prioritize the health, well-being and safety of students and staff. We are confident that this plan will help us achieve that.”


Do you have questions about the school district’s plans? Email them to reporter Brent Richter by clicking here and we will try to get them answered.

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