Comox Valley Schools will begin the work to prepare for the return of
elementary school students following the direction of the Premier of B.C. John Horgan and his
five-stage BC Restart Plan.

The return to in-class instruction for students in kindergarten to grade 5 will be staggered and on
a part-time basis as identified in Phase Three of the plan. Grades 6 to 12 will return partially and
only on an as needed basis. Remote and online learning continues to be available for students.

No date has been set by the province as to when that will commence, however the District is
planning for the end of May / beginning of June.

In the period leading up to the reopening of elementary schools, teachers and District staff will
address the learning needs of complex learners to determine how best to accommodate these
students immediately.

Preparation has begun to open school sites to vulnerable learners with the first schools opening
the week of May 11.

To ensure the safety of all, the District will follow rigorous protocols sanctioned by WorkSafe
BC and the Provincial Health officer include daily screening, social distancing among adults and
stringent hand washing of students and staff.

Before any student and staff return to schools, the District will ensure all learning environments
are safe and thoroughly disinfected with continued ongoing rigorous cleaning measures.

Since in-class instruction was suspended March 17, District custodial and maintenance staff have
maintained vigilant sanitization regimes ensuring all spaces occupied during the day undergo a
thorough cleaning. On weekends, a deep cleaning process was conducted in all school facilities.

“We anticipate this news will be received with mixed emotions. Many parents and caregivers
are happy to see some degree of normalcy with the return of classroom instruction on the
horizon. At the same time, it will be met with anxiety about whether school spaces are safe,”
explained Tom Demeo, Superintendent of Schools. “We want parents, staff, students, and the
community to feel confident and assured that the first priority is the health and safety of students
and staff. Reopening our schools will be guided by the directions of the Provincial Health Officer
and the Minister of Education.”

Returning to school will be optional – a choice that the parents and guardians can make based on
their comfort level. The Board of Education wants parents and families to feel confident before
sending their child back to the classroom environment.

To help District parents ease into the transition, the District has organised an online presentation
by Kim Barthel, Sending our Children to School: What does that mean after the Pandemic. The
presentation is open to all District families for Wednesday, May 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. via
Zoom. Kim Barthel is a renowned author, teacher and speaker and an occupational therapist with
specialties in workshop instruction including Trauma Informed Practice, mental health and other
disciplinary services. Presentation details will be posted on the Comox Valley Schools website
and social media channels.

Mary Lee

Manager of Communications, Comox Valley Schools (School District 71)