Quinn Macmillan / Staff reporter
Premier John Horgan has stated that as of June 1, the voluntary return to school for students in kindergarten to grade 12 will be an option, but this has many worried due to the fear of another outbreak of COVID-19.
Horgan stated that schools will have to undergo rigorous cleaning procedures that follow provincial health guidelines.
But even with these cleaning procedures, the fear of someone possibly having the virus and transferring it by contact is a fear most have had. This fear should not be so great as health authorities are thinking of and implementing ways to ensure safety.
There is so much fear because someone who may have the virus might not show signs for about two weeks. But by this point in time, if the province has continued social distancing measures, most of the cases of COVID-19 are identified and in full quarantine. However, there is still a possibility of someone having the virus which is why social distancing measures will still be followed inside classes and schools.
“Kids learn better around their peers,” said Rob Fleming, education minister. But kids will have to get used to learning with less of their peers as new restrictions on class sizes will have to be followed.
Elementary school classes will be allowed 50% of their class to attend each day and secondary schools along with middle schools will allow 20% each day.
As it is a voluntary return to school, students have the choice to stay home as well.
Many students are having to make a challenging decision as they don’t want to risk getting sick but it’s also a chance to get out of the house and interact with people. It is also very helpful for student who have been struggling during the switch to online classes and would benefit from being in a classroom with a teacher.
Currently there are 5000 students still in physical classrooms. These students consist of the children of essential workers and students who require extra support.
Many students who have self-isolated have not been in physical contact with anyone other than who lives with them. This can be very difficult and effect your mental health so students who haven’t seen their friends now have the chance to do so.
This gradual transition back into a regular school schedule is important for both students’ grades and well-being as long as safety still remains a priority in everyone’s minds.
One very important step to ensure the containment of COVID-19 is for everyone to remember to wash their hands thoroughly. Both staff and students will be required to wash their hands as soon as they enter the school. By doing this both staff and students would be ensuring the safety of those around them allowing for a smooth transition back into a regular school schedule.
This return to school will help get everyone living their lives instead of staying at home and if safety is kept then a return to ‘normal’ school is a very real possibility.