Back-to-school breakdown: How are South Island high schools welcoming children to class?
B.C. public school districts are releasing their back to school plans, though policies for individual schools may still differ.
VICTORIA -- In the best of years, late August is a stressful time for parents and students, as back-to-school is just around the corner.
Most are rushing to get school supplies, snap up the latest Instagram ready fashions and, for secondary school students, wrap their heads around a sometimes confusing schedule of classes.
This year, supplies and mask-appropriate fashions won’t be that different, but the scheduling for high schoolers certainly will be.
So, let’s break down how teens will return to class in the Capital Region.
SD61 – Victoria
The Victoria School District will be using what’s called the 'modified quarter system.'
Students will take two of their eight yearly courses at a time in groupings no larger than 120 people. The idea behind this system is to keep student groups together while they complete a 10-week chunk of focused studies.
Classes will be longer than normal and could stretch over two hours at a time, according to SD61.
The “modified” part of Victoria’s plan is that for the first five weeks of the quarter, students will get face-to-face instruction in one of their classes all week, while the second class will be a mix of in-person classes two days a week and self-directed study at home or in separate areas of the school for the remaining three days.
In the second five-week chunk of studies, the classes will switch schedules. The district says this will allow classes to be smaller and will help provide students with more physical distance from one another.
The Saanich School District will be operating on what is known as the 'Copernican schedule.'
Students will take two courses at a time over a 10-week period. Unlike Victoria, SD63’s restart plan says students will simply finish the two courses and in the next ten-week period move on to a new set of two classes. The school district’s website currently lacks exact details on how the day will be scheduled for students.
SD61 says that cohorts of up to 120 could be organized based on a combination of individual grades, grouping grades, combining courses, or mixing courses which are similar in nature.
Saanich is clear that schedules are still being finalized and details could change between each individual school.
SD62 – Sooke
Sooke is running things a little differently than the other school districts with what is called the '1/8 system.'
Students will complete one course at a time on a part-time daily basis.
In five-week periods, students will be instructed to attend school in the morning or afternoon. In the other part of the school day, pupils will finish course work at home or in a designated part of their high school.
Cohort groups could hit a maximum of 120 as designated by the provincial government, but Sooke hopes this system will keep class sizes much smaller and ensure that schools are less busy as students only attend the building for part of the day.
All of the school districts on the South Island are offering special instruction and options for students who have pre-existing health conditions. Details regarding those restart plans should be discussed with a student’s particular school district.
Each district also notes that these plans could change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
For more information on school restart plans, please go to your child’s school district website.