School District 83 says Parkview Elementary in Sicamous will reopen next month

Parkview Elementary School in Sicamous was closed indefinitely last month for an unexplained odour. This week, the school district says the school will reopen next month, as Interior Health has approved a return to Parkview Elementary. Global News

Student enrollment is up in the North Okanagan and Shuswap, School District 83 said on Thursday.

Relief is also on the rise, as the school district also announced that Parkview Elementary School in Sicamous will reopen next month following an indefinite closure in September for an unexplained odour.

The school district said the decision to close Parkview was made on the advice of Interior Health. The sudden closure resulted in students being bused to Salmon Arm, an approximate distance of 30 kilometres.

READ MORE: Concerns raised in Sicamous over school’s sudden closure because of unexplained odour

Many parents were unhappy with the decision, especially parents from rural Malakwa, which is approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Salmon Arm, as their children faced longer commutes.

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Now, the school district says Interior Health has approved a return to Parkview, which could mean an end to those long bus rides.

In an email highlighting a board meeting on Oct. 15, the school district said “through extensive testing processes, SD83 was able to demonstrate that the source of the problem was transitory in nature (meaning temporary) and no longer presents a potential health threat to building occupants.”

Click to play video: 'Sicamous School Closed'
Sicamous School Closed

The school district noted that there are several tasks to be completed before students return, including repairs to possible water penetration points, increased venting in the gym and custodial rooms, waterproofing of the foundation and substantial concrete work in the crawlspace.

“These jobs will commence as soon as is practicable and ongoing work will not interrupt reoccupation,” said the school district. “Additional air testing will continue to provide assurance that building conditions remain safe for children, parents and staff.”

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As to when Parkview will be reopened, the school district said it was eyeing the week of Nov. 13, adding that the Remembrance Day long weekend and a non-instructional day on Nov. 12 will give staff additional time to pack, move and set up their classrooms.

Click to play video: 'Malakwa parents unhappy with contingency plans after school closure'
Malakwa parents unhappy with contingency plans after school closure

Meanwhile, the school district said the unofficial enrollment is 6,433, an increase of 82 full-time students from last year. The school with the biggest enrollment was Sorrento Elementary, which experienced an increase of 26 students.

The school district also released a long-range facilities plan for the next 10 years. That plan can be found here.

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