No lockers, staggered breaks and masks all part of Valleyview secondary safety plan

Students have just two blocks per day, as VSS and most secondary schools are implementing the quarter semester system — also known as the Copernican model. Students are also expected to wear their masks when travelling the halls.

Valleyview secondary has released some details about how it plans to make school safe for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valleyview, which is one of the district’s most crowded schools, is implementing policies such as staggered breaks, masks and no locker use for the 2020-2021 school year.

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Lockers won’t be available to students for at least the first month of classes. The intention with that policy is to minimize the number of students congregating in hallways and reduce the number of high-touch areas, which will be cleaned regularly. Students should carry all their supplies for the day in backpacks.

Students will have just two blocks per day, as Valleyiew and most secondary schools are implementing the quarter semester system — also known as the Copernican model.

Students are also expected to wear masks when walking in the halls.

“That’s the reality,” Valleyview secondary principal Barb Hamblett said. “We have to move through our spaces, just like at Walmart, we have to move through our spaces safely. This is going to help us get there.”

There will be multiple, staggered breaks, so students will not all be out in the hallway at the same time. Students will also be encouraged to stay outside as much as possible during their breaks.

Students will be taken through health and safety training on the first day and are expected to wash their hands when they enter the building, when they leave the building and throughout the day. Hamblett said staggered breaks will help with that.

Students will also need to respect the maximum capacity numbers posted on washroom doors.

Any student or staff member who falls ill will be required to wear a mask and attend the school’s designated medical space. Parents will be contacted immediately and asked to pick up their child. Parents will be asked to seek assessment by their health-care provider, which could include calling 811.

The student will need stay at home until hearing back from the health authority that they can come return to school once they are no longer symptomatic.

Hamblett said she has confidence in the operation of the school’s HVAC ventilation system as it was replaced a few years ago and is regularly maintained.

Counsellors will meet with students in a variety of ways. Face-to-face meetings will be done using masks. For students who have questions about programming, counsellors are looking at connecting in other ways, including by phone.

“Looking at all the work we have done to put in the health and safety protocols in place, I have to say it’s pretty similar to what we have everywhere. Getting on a plane, going for groceries — what will be happening in schools will be more controlled,” Hamblett said.

“When you go into a grocery store, you don’t go in through a controlled group. They limit the numbers, but they don’t have control groups. In schools, we can put in more measures so we can really see who our kids are interacting with. We can keep track of them better.”

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