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A look inside: B.C. teachers setting up physically distanced classrooms
VANCOUVER -- As students count down the days until they can return to the classroom on June 1, their teachers are already back in schools setting up their classrooms.
"Last week here in Vancouver was very much a planning week, and this week we are preparing for the further reopening of schools next week," said Vancouver superintendent Suzanne Hoffman.
"Today I’m moving desks and trying to get 12 seats and trying to get them all six feet apart," said Jane Perrella, a Grade 7 teacher at L’Ecole Bilingue in Vancouver. "Every classroom’s a little bit different and every configuration of furniture is a little bit different, so it's a little bit of what’s going to work for you and what’s going to work for the room I guess.
The Grade 7 class next to hers has tape on the floor with arrows for direction and boxes for each desk. "I put the tape to help the kids organize themselves in the first few days to bring some security, but I’m intending to take the tape the off as soon as they know the routines," said teacher Olivier Salvas.
While school playgrounds are likely to remain behind caution tape when kids first return next week, that could potentially change in the future.
"Certainly our fields, our spaces are wide open and we will look eventually to the gradual re-entry of our playground spaces as well," said Hoffman.
Parrella has been told about two-thirds of her students have chosen to return to the classroom when in-person learning resumes on Monday. That’s more than many Vancouver elementary schools.
"On average across our district, and it varies schools by school, but we have about 40 per cent of our students looking to return to school next week," said Hoffman. "I think the feeling about the return to school is really mixed. I think there are some that are incredibly anxious and worried about what that might look like for their children, and I do think there are others who are absolutely thrilled at the potential of getting to see their teachers, getting to see their friends and just being back as part of the school."
Salvas is equally excited to see his students again. "I love teaching, I love being around the kids. It's nice to see them and see their smiles, and enjoy the last month of their elementary school years with them," he said.
"I am happy to be back," said Parrella, as she used a measuring stick to map out two metres between her classroom tables. "But there’s a realization too, that you’re back under circumstances that are not what you left under."