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'She was really keen to go back': B.C. parents on their kids' return to school
NORTH VANCOUVER -- For the first time in two-and-a-half months, all public schools throughout B.C. opened their doors to students on Monday. The optional return to the classroom will only last for a few weeks, but many parents think there’s a real benefit for their kids to go back.
"We asked her if she wanted to go and she was very keen," said parent Jane Sawyer about her 8-year-old daughter Molly Gagan, who’s a Grade 4 student at Boundary Elementary in North Vancouver. "I think that the social part is really important for her, her personality, she thrives in a social environment. So I think she’s going to learn better being back in the classroom, and I’m confident the school is going to manage the social distancing."
Gagan’s father agrees.
"I think the schools got it down," he said. "They got some great protocols in place. It's only two days a week. It's half-size classes. They have social distancing set up in the classroom. I think they’ve got it really figured out and it will be just fine," said Chris Gagan.
Venoos Yagoti’s son Ryan couldn’t wait to return to his Grade 1 classroom at Boundary.
"He’s so happy back to school, he was really interested, excited. He woke up at 7:30 a.m., let’s, go to the school!” she said.
About 65 per cent of Boundary’s students are returning this week, which is higher than many schools in the province where attendance varies widely. Only 80 out of 350 students are returning to Edith McDermott Elementary in Pitt Meadows.
“The numbers are low, however, it's still really great to have children back in the building," said principal Alan Miller.
Families will notice changes almost right away. Parents are asked to drop kids off near the sidewalk and not come on to school property or into the school. Students will line up six feet apart before being allowed in one by one. Once inside, they will sanitize their hands before heading to class.
There are now markers in many hallways making them one direction, and classrooms have just a handful of desks to allow for physical distancing inside.
“If they have to leave they have to wash their hands go out of the classroom, follow the directional arrows to wherever their destination is, and then when they return they wash their hands again,” said Miller.
Parent Monica Reid feels comfortable sending her son back to Edith McDermott Elementary. “I think life has to go on. A little bit differently of course, but it still needs to go,” she said.
Molly Gagan’s mom says they’re both excited to have some routine again, and are confident the school will be safe. “I think they’re on it,” said Sawyer. “They’ve got their protocols in place, if there are any issues, they will pull back.”