Eagle View support staff stand on the physical distancing eagles the school has spraypainted outside to help students keep apart. L-R Karen Strussi, Beatrice Wadhams, Pauline Johnson

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

School District 85 is back in session today (June 1). The 10 schools in the district are open for part-time classes for students on a voluntary basis.

Each school has worked out their own schedule to manage the number of people in the building at one time, to ensure safe physical distancing can be observed. For some, students come on staggered days. Others, like Alert Bay Elementary School, have few enough students that it’s safe to have them all at once.

Five students returned to Alert Bay Elementary. The school will be open Mondays and Tuesdays, and continuing with online learning at the same time.

“It feels wonderful to have kids in the building,” principal Jen Turner said. “The rest of the families (of 40 students) have chosen to continue with online and paper package learning, and we are supporting them in that.”

Turner said the district was well prepared, setting out protocols and communicating a safety plan to teachers and staff. The Cormorant Island community, just off the east coast of Vancouver Island, recently dealt with an outbreak of COVID-19. Thirty people were sick and one passed away, but there have been no new cases of the coronavirus disease since April 30.

READ MORE: Alert Bay: COVID-19 cases go from 30 to zero thanks to health and emergency planning

Farther north on the Island, staff at Port Hardy’s Eagle View Elementary School have hung six-foot paper eagles around the school as visual cues for students. First Nations cultural support worker, Beatrice Wadhams expects a difficult learning curve for the younger ones.

“It’s tough on the kids, because the kids don’t know how to keep distance. They see us and want to run up for a hug, and we have to say no,” she said. They’ve arranged desks as barriers between students, and will limit the number of students per room.

Nearby the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Elementary School has not reopened – it is not part of SD85. Also on the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw reserve is the Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre, which is a grades 8-12 school. It’s open for students on reserve, but as the First Nation territory remains closed to all non-residents, any off-reserve students who attend Eke Me-Xi are invited to attend in-class learning at Port Hardy Secondary School.

June 1 marks the beginning of Stage 3 in the B.C. Ministry of Education’s five-step plan to return to regular full-time school.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Island College president to retire next year

North Island College’s president and CEO has officially announced his plans to… Continue reading

Canadian Ferry Association cautions against politicizing BC Ferry operations

Reasonable safety, not politicized safety way to go, Canadian Ferry Association says

Scarlet Ibis sale falls through

Beloved pub and restaurant in Holberg, B.C. is back with previous owner

Fishing so far has been great this season in the north Island

‘I can’t think of a better way to spend Canada Day. This year I got to fish with two amazing guests’

UPDATE: Search suspended for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scoured Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read