Classes will look different at Stanley Humphries Secondary School this year. Photo: John Boivin

Classes will look different at Stanley Humphries Secondary School this year. Photo: John Boivin

SD20 releases back-to-school plan

Superintendent: We are doing everything we need to do to ensure the safety of our students and staff

Kootenay Columbia School District #20 (SD20) has announced its overall back to school plan, but site specific plans will not be available until Sept. 4.

The district’s plan was published in an 11 page document available on the district’s webpage.

SD20 superintendent Bill Ford says developing the plan has been an involved process, and it’s not quite finished yet.

First, the province developed a set of guidelines they gave the districts. The districts then had about nine days to take those plans down to the regional level and then send them back to the province for approval.

The final step now is for principals, vice principals and district health and safety managers, to take that plan down to an operational level for each individual school site.

That means they will make decisions about how to apply the plan — such as how traffic flow is managed, how classrooms and other areas should be configured, which classes fit together, to create learning groups, etc.

“We are doing everything we can do, given the parameters we are given,” Ford told the Castlegar News.

“But it’s tough on families, it’s tough on staff.”

Ford says some aspects of the plan may evolve as staff sees what works and what doesn’t.

Right now, SD20 students have three options: return to in-class instruction in the public schools; enroll in a distance learning program through an independent school or another school district; or homeschool.

“Those are the three options we have always had,” said Ford.

“I know some people are looking for a hybrid model or remote learning like we had in the spring. But those are not elements that we can provide.”

Ford says the district is not set up for remote learning and doesn’t have the human resources to offer distance learning programs.

“We are doing everything we need to do to ensure the safety of our students and staff — that is our number one priority,” said Ford.

RELATED: Protest against in-person only option for school planned for Castlegar

The plan lays out health, safety, cleaning, physical distancing, hygiene, personal protective equipment, illness, ventilation, transportation and learning group strategies.

Learning groups at elementary schools:

• learning groups up to 60, including staff

• classes within group may come together for learning opportunities

• staggered student breaks

• play fields may be segmented

• lunches eaten in classrooms or learning group spaces

Learning groups at secondary schools:

• New quarterly timetable

• two instructional blocks separated by a lunch break.

• two courses will be delivered over 10 weeks

• each grade will be organized into two learning groups

• if a class has students from more than one learning group, physical distancing strategies will be in place. If physical distancing cannot be maintained, then masks will be worn by staff and students.

• minimal changes to curricular offerings are anticipated.

• lunches eaten in classrooms or in designated learning group locations

• Students that leave the school grounds during class time will sign in and sign out, and will be reminded and encouraged to only interact with those in their learning group.

• Kootenay Columbia Secondary School (75 student enrollment) will operate as single learning group. No changes to curricular offerings or schedules

Cleaning and disinfecting:

• additional personnel hired

• no school space rentals

• general cleaning/disinfecting every 24 hours

• high touch surface cleaning twice in 24 hours

• items not easily cleaned will be limited or removed

• shared equipment limited use, cleaned daily

• garbage emptied daily

Physical distancing:

• visual clues (posters, floor markers) posted

• washroom occupancy limits

• Some washroom sinks closed to support distancing

• staff not part of a student learning group will practice physical distancing and will be encouraged to

wear a mask

• when maintaining physical distancing is not possible, staff will wear a mask

• altered classroom configurations

• lunches organized by learning group

• outside breaks encouraged

Hand hygiene:

• classrooms without sinks will have hand sanitizer

• student hands washed/sanitized upon arrival and before departure, transitions within the school, after using washroom, after sneezing or coughing

Personal protective equipment:

• reusable masks offered for students/staff

• staff face shields available

• high school students must wear masks when moving around common spaces, on school buses, when around students outside of their learning group and when distancing measures cannot be observed

• staff wear masks when working with students not in learning group, in hallways and if distancing measures cannot be observed

• Plexiglas barriers installed where appropriate

• medical evidence may be required if staff/students indicate they “do not tolerate” wearing masks


• students/staff including children of essential workers must self isolate for 14 days after travel outside Canada, after close contact with confirmed COVID-19 case or if they have symptoms of COVID-19

• students/staff must seek medical assessment for cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms

• staff must asses themselves daily

• parents/care givers must assess their children daily and keep them home if they have any symptoms


• sites encouraged to open windows

• HVAC systems set to increase fresh air intake and have filters installed

• air exchange and HEPA filters installed in portable classrooms


• assigned seating based on school, family and learning groups

• high school students must wear masks

• elementary students provided with masks if requested

• bus pass system for record keeping

• bus drivers will wear masks

• hands washed or sanitized before and after rides

• windows open when possible

• families encouraged to avoid using the bus if possible

• physical distancing during waiting and loading

• school buses disinfected after each run and cleaned every 24 hours


• itinerant staff may be assigned to schools rather than working across the district

• education assistants will be assigned to learning groups where possible

• if it is not possible to maintain physical distancing, EAs will wear masks

• student support teachers/learning assistance teachers will be assigned to classrooms where possible

• any staff not assigned to a learning group will follow physical distancing strategies and will be encouraged to wear a mask

The plan also lays out what will happen if a child exhibits symptoms while at school including placing the child in an isolation room, and diligent hand sanitizing and cleaning procedures.

Questions about the plan may be sent to the district’s dedicated COVID-19 email address

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road. (
Possible Bigfoot sighting shocks, excites Silverton residents

‘I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints’

A micro-cannabis cultivation facility was proposed for 1370 Forest Road. Photo: City of Castlegar
Castlegar neighbourhood celebrates after cannabis facility proposal withdrawn

A medical grade cannabis facility was proposed for Forest Road

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read