Schools have been closed since March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

More North-Okanagan Shuswap students may be back in class by end of May

School District #83 will be asking parents if they want more direct instruction for students

More students in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District may be back in classrooms before the end of May.

The Wednesday, May 6 announcement by B.C. Premier John Horgan, regarding an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, included mention of a possible increase in “direct learning opportunities.”

In a subsequent notice to parents, Superintendent Peter Jory explains what that would involve in School District #83. He explained school districts have been asked by Education Minister Rob Fleming to be ready to “dial up or dial down” direct learning in schools based on the following stages:

• Stage 5 – In-class instruction suspended or all grades and students. Remote and online learning for all students. (As experienced immediately after spring break);

• Stage 4 – In-class learning available for children of essential service workers and some vulnerable students. Remote and online learning continue for most students. (Currently happening);

• Stage 3 – In-class learning for K-5 students on a part-time basis. Some access to in-class learning for Grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis, with Grade 12 students being a priority. Remote and online learning will continue to be available for remaining students;

• Stage 2 – In-class learning for all students in elementary school (K to 7) on part-time or full-time basis. In-class learning for secondary students (Grades 8 to 12) on a part-time basis. Remote and online learning continues to be available for secondary students, and;

• Stage 1 – Return to full in-class instruction as in normal circumstances, with additional safety measures in place as necessary.

Jory explained the minister has asked the school district to prepare to move to stage 3 within the next few weeks, adding parents may choose to keep students at home if they do not feel safe.

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“Over the next two weeks we will be asking parents and guardians to indicate their interest in accessing more direct support and instruction,” said Jory. “Parent and guardian responses will help staff create plans for potential next steps, and to organize our teachers and CEAs for the possibility of Level 3 learning commencing as early as May 25th.”

Jory said the school district will continue working closely with the ministry to work out details around safety, transportation, and other matters, details of which we will be communicated to the public.

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