About one month into the new school year, school districts in the Okanagan weighed in on their back-to-school success amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
‘Life is a journey, how you live is your adventure’ … words of wisdom from the school sign outside Kelowna’s Springvalley middle school.
While school is undoubtedly an adventure, it has been even more so in 2020 given the global health crisis that’s been responsible for more than a million deaths worldwide, including 9,577 in Canada as of Tuesday, and at least 240 in B.C.
Currently according to the BC Centre for Disease Control there are no reported exposures to COVID-19 in any of the Okanagan school districts.
And that has Okanagan school officials saying that the return to class has gone pretty well, all things considered.
“I would say we get high marks,” said Kevin Kaardal, superintendent of Central Okanagan Public Schools.
“I think that’s because of the tremendous work of our staff and our school leaders,” Kaardal explained.
“They have all worked very hard to make sure that our students have a safe plan for a return to school.”
At School District No. 22 (Vernon) according to superintendent Joe Rogers, it’s the students who are getting credit for keeping COVID-19 at bay.
“The kids really have done a great job of buying into the guidelines and its working quite well so far,” Rogers told Global News.
Todd Manuel, superintendent of School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha) said it’s a similar story with students in the south Okanagan.
“They’ve been absolutely A-plus, along with our teachers and school staff working together,” Manuel said.
Despite a successful return to school so far, everyone knows that an outbreak of COVID-19 could happen at any time.
“The biggest way to ensure that our schools are safe … if any of our students or any of our employees who are sick they need to stay home,” Kardaal says.
“The most important thing that can happen is that that our community follows Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guidance and that we reduce the numbers overall and we avoid community spread,” said Kaardal.
“If we have a safe community, keeping school safe becomes much easier.”
–With a file from Jon Azpiri