Ole Lammers / Staff reporter

After heavy changes due to COVID-19, students are learning to adapt to new regulations in schools.

To protect the health of all attendees, schools have changed to a new quarter system, featuring learning cohorts, longer but fewer classes, mandatory masks and staggered school entry times. For students, teachers and parents alike, the return to Canadian schools throughout the last month can be a daunting shift in normalcy and an often stressful experience.

With the public opening and full return to schools, the BC Ministry of Education has implemented new health and safety guidelines, which schools are now following. These new guidelines are in place to protect public schools from the exposure of COVID-19, by properly encouraging social distancing, and using a new learning cohort model to limit and control close quarter exposure among students.

With the new cohort model, the regular student has eight schedules throughout the school year. There are four quarters, each of them giving students two different classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon with students attending the first class every day, and the second class only on Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday to limit class sizes. The current class that the student has full time is called the student’s learning cohort, wherein masks are not required but still encouraged. Halfway through the quarter, this switches, with the learning cohort becoming the class attended only two times a week.

Opinions about this new system are mixed and ranged, and many are sharing their thoughts. Some students like Mark Tran, grade 11, said it is “unnecessarily confusing” and “making it hard to take in lessons when the next day there is a new one.” Tran also spoke on the staggered entry times, “It leads to so many students standing outside waiting to enter.” Impressions are not all negative though. Malcolm Khoo, grade 11, spoke on the encouragement to wear masks, saying that “an impressive amount of people are actually wearing masks at most times.”

With cases on the rise again, the Ministry of Education has recently spoken on their opinion of additional school closures. They say that it is to be avoided if possible. It is yet to be seen if the effectiveness of these new regulations is satisfactory.