Enrollment levels are expected to remain the same during the month of June. (Fred Nock photo)

38% of students returned to class in School District 20

Board chairperson said reopening of playgrounds has helped to reduce student anxiety

Approximately 38 per cent of students went back to class last week in School District 20, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close in March.

School district board chairperson Catherine Zaitsoff said overall things went well for the students’ return.

“There was a little fear of the unknown. We didn’t know what it was going to look like, how many kids would return and how kids would handle being back in school,” said Zaitsoff.

“However, it has been really good. The kids all had big huge smiles on their faces and its been great for them to get back in that classroom routine.”

The reopening of Castlegar, Trail and Rossland playgrounds also helped to ease anxiety for students as they returned to classes, according to Zaitsoff.

“All the teachers had a plan in place in case younger kids weren’t physically distancing properly,” said Zaitsoff.

“Teachers also had reminders and visual cues for students to follow while at school.”

Enrollment levels are expected to remain the same in the district for the rest of June.

There are 3,700 students and 10 different schools in School District 20, according to the district’s website.

The Kootenay Columbia figure aligns fairly close to numbers the province release last week.

Roughly 157,000 students returned the first few weeks of June, representing 30 per cent of the province’s total student count, the education ministry reported.

Classes under COVID-19 rules are small in size, with 50 per cent capacity for kindergarten to Grade 5 students and 20 per cent for older ones. Younger students are on an alternating or half-time schedule, while older ones are at about one day a week. Children of essential workers and those who need extra support are able to attend school full-time.

In-class instruction remains optional for students during June.

Classes will be a hybrid model in September, and will remain that way until a vaccine is available.

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