Princeton schools ready to open Monday

Parents are must now decide whether their children will go back to school June 1 or simply carry on with at-home learning.

Last week, the Nicola-Similkameen School District sent each school family a survey, asking whether or not their kids would be returning to the classroom.

Attending for the last four weeks of the school year is optional, stressed board assistant superintendent Jameel Azziz.

He also stated every measure will be in place to ensure safety of staff and students.

“Nobody wants to have kids back in school if it isn’t safe,” he said.

Children in kindergarten to Grade 5 will be able to return for two days each week, while all other students may attend once a week.

Azziz said the survey was distributed to give school officials an idea of how many students to expect, so plans can be made.

“For an example, you just can’t fill our buses like you typically would.”

Related: Risk of COVID-19 low in schools, Interior Health states

Classrooms will be reconfigured to allow for more space, there will be increased custodial services and hand sanitizing stations.

While more mature students will be directed to keep proper social distance, Azziz said that is not realistic for kids in younger grades.

“We don’t really expect that…Our expectation we are working up to is that kids not put their hands (on other kids).”

There will be a focus on outdoor activities and enrichment.

For several weeks a handful of Princeton students have been attending regular classes, children with parents who are essential service workers such as healthcare professionals.

Azziz said one of the benefits of opening schools so close to summer is psychological.

“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons,” he said.

“We know this is a traumatic time for some younger students and as much as possible we want to rebuild those connections.”

Without knowing the results of the survey, Azziz said he suspected turn out will not be overwhelming.

“Informally, I’ve heard a lot of people are not sending their kids back.”

Related: Princeton teachers deliver food to students whose families need help

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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