Schools in the Nicola-Similkameen District, Princeton and Merritt, will begin opening next week for face-t0-face learning.
In Princeton, as Vermillion Forks Elementary School is the only school that can be safely accessed, that facility will serve as an education hub for its own students, as well as those from John Allision Elementary and Princeton Secondary School, states a release from the district Friday, Dec. 2.
Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will attend part-time, on a rotating basis, while continuing with some home-based learning. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 5, whose caregivers are providing essential services to the community, will be offered childcare at Vermilion Forks Elementary or the Princeton Legion on days they are not attending school.
“School District staff, principals, teachers and school staff have been working day and night over the last two weeks, assessing and preparing facilities to get students back into schools,” said Stephen McNiven, superintendent.
“This includes sourcing spaces, cleaning up the schools, bringing in clean drinking water and organizing classrooms. Staff are being provided a trauma-informed learning session facilitated by Safer Schools Together, to help students feel safe and supported as they adjust to being back in school and to support staff mental health as well.”
The district has also retained a mental health clinician to provide support, and approximately 100 families have already accessed that service.
The Ministry of Education has provided 500 new devices that can be used by students as they learn from home.
“We are working hard to overcome the unprecedented and ongoing disruptions that we currently face with the goal of supporting students and families to the best of our abilities. We ask parents and students to be patient as we supply learning devices to students as they return home,” said McNiven.
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