A collective "Hurray!" could be heard in Cochrane and across the province today when it was announced 750,000 students will return to classes in September. 

The early announcement was made Tuesday, July 21 instead of August 1st much to the pleasure of families eagerly awaiting the announcement. The return will be under the "scenario one" strategy that sees staff and students returning to schools under near normal conditions. 

The safety and health of students and staff will be the top priority and following scenario one means:

  • schools will implement a number of public health measures which include frequent cleaning of surfaces and placing hand sanitizers at school entrances and classrooms
  • grouping students in cohorts
  • planning the school day to allow for physical distancing, which could include staggering start times for classes, recesses and lunches.

It was made abundantly clear by Education Minister LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer Dr Deena Hinshaw that the health protocols may be adjusted as needed over time. As with everything COVID 19 related it will be necessary for the plan to be flexible. 

As well, students, staff, parents and school visitors will be expected to use a self-screening questionnaire daily to determine whether they can enter the school.

The announcement was made two weeks early as the government says they were responding to pleas from parents and the system that they wanted clarity as to what was coming in the fall. Also, it allows parents to plan for upcoming school year. The decision was carefully weighed after following the success of certain summer school programs and the return to schools in BC and other countries. 

An online tool kit will be provided for parents and students to help implement a successful and somewhat different return to school in the fall.