Students and teachers happy to be back at school together again

Carolyn Cushing’s Grade 4/5 class gets some in-person instruction on geometry and math on Wednesday, June 3. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Carolyn Cushing’s Grade 4/5 class gets some in-person instruction on geometry and math on Wednesday, June 3. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Carolyn Cushing’s Grade 4/5 class gets some in-person instruction on geometry and math on Wednesday, June 3. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile Elementary Grade 2 student Anthony Jongbloets (from right) leaps for some jungle gym equipment while enjoying some staggered recess with his fellow classmates Emma Svendson and Savannah Archie. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Grade 2 students Emma Svendson (from left) climbs some playground equipment with Savvanah Archie while Anthony Jongbloets slides across from platform to platform. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Emma Svendson climbs up the playground equipment at 100 Mile Elementary while her classmate Anthony Jongbloets makes use of the zipline. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

There may be only a handful of students in school each day and there may only be a month left in the Scholastic Year but students and teachers are happy to see one another again after a long hiatus.

Students across SD27 officially were allowed to return to school, albeit in a staggered piecemeal fashion, on Monday, June 1. While B.C. seems to be on track to controlling COVID-19, precautions are still in place to ensure the safety of the students including reduced class sizes and a staggered schedule.

At 100 Mile Elementary Principal Maria Telford said both she and her staff were so excited that their students were back breathing life into the school. Telford said they’ve split their student body up roughly in two with each group of students, 63 in one group and 72 in the other, coming on alternating days.

“It’s been great to have the kids back, they’ve been really enjoying connecting with their peers and their teachers,” Telford said.

In addition to the small class sizes, Telford showed the Free Press that they are strictly limiting the amount of non-teacher adults in the school at any one time, spacing each student’s desk far away from their fellow classmates and more than ever emphasizing the importance of handwashing. They’re also doing extra cleaning and doing their best to maintain physical distancing whenever they can.

Telford is really grateful to her students’ parents for all the support they’ve been giving the teachers over the last few months and stepping up to become education partners at home for their children, which is not easy, she said. She’d like to encourage her students to keep trying their best no matter if they’re at school or continuing to learn at home.

“Try your best and we look forward to whenever we get back to being more normal, it will happen one day but we’ll just have to be patient I guess,” Telford said.

It’s unknown what school in the 2020-2021 year will look like, however, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School Principal Geoff Butcher said in a previous interview that this new system of reduced class size combined with online schooling could provide a template for how we conduct teaching during a pandemic. For now, however, as with many things, we can only wait and see what challenges September will bring.

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