Back to school for students in Okanagan, Shuswap, Similkameen

More than 40,000 students head back to school in the Okanagan and surrounding region

After two months of summer vacation, it’s back to school this week for thousands of students in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

And by thousands, think almost 45,000 for the 2018-19 school year.

READ MORE: B.C. education minister welcomes students back to school

In the Central Okanagan, School District, 23 is expecting enrollment of approximately 22,000 students among its 43 schools. The district, which includes Kelowna, Lake Country, Oyama, Peachland, West Kelowna, has 31 elementary schools, six middle schools, five secondary schools and one alternative school.

In the North Okanagan, School District 22 (Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby and Cherryville) says its projected enrolment for this year will be 8,500. Those students will be attending 14 elementary schools, five secondary schools and one alternate school.

In the North Okanagan-Shuswap, School District 83 (Armstrong, Canoe, Celista, Enderby, Falkland, Grindrod, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Sorrento, Tappen) is projecting approximately 6,500 students amongst its 17 elementary schools, three middle schools and five secondary schools.

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WATCH: BCTF president Glen Hansman discusses the start of the new school year and what the teachers union says it takes to improve classrooms across the province.

What the BCTF says it takes to improve B.C. classrooms
What the BCTF says it takes to improve B.C. classrooms

READ MORE: AMA, Calgary police remind motorists to slow down and watch for kids around schools

In the South Okanagan, School District 67 (Kaleden, Naramata, Penticton, Summerland) is reporting its projected enrollment will be 5,587. Those students will be dispersed into 12 elementary schools, three middle schools and three secondary schools. Notably, the first day of school for SD 67 will be Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Also in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, School District 53 (Cawston, Keremeos, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos) is expecting approximately 2,200 students for its eight schools (five elementary, two secondary and one elementary-secondary).

The projected number for enrollment as of today is 44,787. However, all school districts say they won’t know the exact numbers until the end of September.

WATCH: B.C. students across the province return to classrooms today. Education Minister Rob Fleming joins Global News to talk about the upcoming school year and changes to the curriculum.

B.C. education minister welcomes students back to school
B.C. education minister welcomes students back to school

In related news, police in the Okanagan are reminding motorists to slow down in school zones and look out for school buses, and for both motorists and pedestrians to be aware of each other.

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Safety tips for students:

  • Walk on sidewalks and use marked cross-walks whenever possible.
  • Walk your bike across intersections and crosswalks and use bike lanes when available. Before crossing, always look both ways.
  • Wear brighter coloured clothing.

Safety tips for motorists:

  • Slow down and obey speed limits in school zones.
  • Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Watch for bikes, crossing guards and school buses.
  • Be on the lookout for children walking and running.

“Return to school and traffic safety are top priorities for the RCMP,” said Cst. James Grandy. “We can all takes preventative measures to make sure children are safe when walking to and from school. As part of this initiative, police will be actively visible in school zone areas enforcing speed and traffic laws.”