Terry Fox Elementary staff anxious, but ready to welcome students for another pandemic school year

Montreal's English elementary school students head back to class next week. Getty Images

Final preparations are underway at Terry Fox Elementary School in Pierrefonds as teachers and staff get ready to welcome back students on Tuesday.

“We’re ready to go into the school year,” said K4 teacher Caterina Ruggeri. “We feel excited at the same time. Nervous for the unknown, but we’re all going to be remaining positive and take precautions just like last year.”
Staff and students will constantly wash their hands, disinfect shared surfaces and as per a government mandate, masks will be mandatory in the classroom.
“We are returning to masks and while that can be feeling a little demoralizing, after a long, difficult year last year, we still understand how important it is,” said Terry Fox’s Elementary School principal, Douglas Stewart.

Read more: Montreal should expect COVID-19 cases to jump as kids head back to class: public health

Staff and teachers going into another pandemic school year, tell Global News they are more certain of what to expect, but admit they are worn down.

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“I think we were hopeful that things would be different and more back to normal this year,” said Grade 5 teacher Natalie La France. “But we made it through last year and we did lots of great things and we still had a great time.”

A major change from last year’s measures is that schools will no longer have class bubbles.

“Kids are going to be able to move through the school freely, they’re going to be able to move through the schoolyard freely and that’s a big positive,” said Stewart.

Read more: Quebec tops 600 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations keep mounting

He said navigating the constant changes has been challenging for both teachers and students. So he’s choosing not to focus on where children should be academically.

“Trying to hammer the curriculum into the kids right now is not our priority. Trying to make them feel like they’ve got something to look forward to, they can play with their friends, this is a safe place to be. That’s the priority,” he said.

Stewart said he can’t wait to welcome students back to Terry Fox Elementary and hopes to also welcome a return to normal sometime this school year.

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