VICTORIA -- Thursday was the last day of classes for students in School District 61. To say that this school year has had its challenges would be an understatement.

“As a registered nurse, the schools did amazing,” said Kerri Morash, a mother of two children that attend Victoria West Elementary School. “We’re going to have a great summer.”

Student Isla Zemanek agrees, saying she doesn’t feel like she missed out on much throughout this pandemic school year.

“My favourite thing of school is I get to play,” said Zemanek.

“We’re just super happy that it’s finished and everyone was safe,” said Patricia Sharratt, a parent at the school.

Over at the school district office, nobody is mincing their words when it comes to looking back at this year.

“This year has been pretty energy-draining,” said Deb Whitten, the deputy superintendent.

Looking ahead to next year, if immunization rates continue to be strong and COVID-19 infection numbers stay low, the way students learn should return to near normal. “Moving away from learning cohorts, having kids interact with other kids throughout the school,” said Whitten.

For Margaret Young over at Quadra Elementary, the last day of school was bittersweet.

“I’m retiring today after all those years,” said Young.

Young has been an educational assistant and one of the school’s crossing guards for the past 29 years.

“I’ve known these kids for so many years,” said Young. “I’m going to miss every one of them.”

Young says she’s looking forward to spending more time with her family.