Nanaimo Christian School and Aspengrove School will see the 2020-21 school year start on Sept. 8 and 9 respectively. Public schools in the Nanaimo area see school start Sept. 10. (Stock photo)

Independent schools in Nanaimo create their own back-to-school plans

Nanaimo Christian School and Aspengrove students returning Sept. 8 and 9, respectively

Students from two independent schools in the Nanaimo area will be back in class before their public school counterparts.

Nanaimo Christian School and Aspengrove School students will get a head start on hitting the books, as school begins Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Nanaimo Christian School and Wednesday, Sept. 9 at Aspengrove School.

At Nanaimo Christian, students will be returning for in-class instruction five days a week, organized in cohorts, or learning groups.

James Sijpheer, school principal, told the News Bulletin the school’s restart plan complies with the B.C. Ministry of Education’s directives. The ministry earlier announced 60 students per group for elementary and middle school, but Sijpheer said that is the maximum.

“In our middle school and elementary, kids are going to be primarily in their homeroom classes for the majority of time,” said Sijpheer. “Even though they’re part of a learning group or cohort that is up to 60 students, their homeroom classes are significantly smaller than that. Our kindergarten classes have class sizes of 18 and 17, our Grade 1-2 classes are class sizes of about 22.”

RELATED: SD68 high school students to take two classes each day

Nanaimo Christian School will also offer remote learning. According to a letter to parents, Grades 1-5 will have the option to learn remotely full time, with an option to return to the bricks-and-mortar school in January, if space is available. Grade 6-8 students can sign up for remote learning for the year, with re-entry to on-campus learning if space allows.

Grade 9-12 students at Nanaimo Christian can register for instruction on-campus full time or a hybrid, part-time on-campus/at-home model. Like Grade 6-8, re-entry to full-time on-campus schooling would be allowed, dependent on space

Over at Aspengrove, head of the school David Thompson said six cohorts have been created in keeping with ministry guidelines.

“For example, we have [junior kindergarten] three- and four-year olds, that will be one group, K-2 will be another group, 3-4 will be another group, 6-8 another group, 9-12 another group,” he said. “That’s our bubbles.”

RELATED: B.C. gov’t approves 60 school district pandemic plans

Thompson said remote learning for Aspengrove students would be allowed under special health-related circumstances.

“There are some parents who have reached out to us expressing their concern about returning primarily because of health-related issues either with a child or members of the family that are in the household,” said Thompson. “What we have expressed to them is we’ll be working with them to be able to continue the learning that is happening. That’s obviously an online piece.”

In terms of personal protective equipment, Sijpheer said masks will be required for middle and high school students for high-traffic areas or outside their cohort.

RELATED: SD68 students to return to school in ‘learning groups’

Thompson said Aspengrove will be providing masks to staff and students with the school’s branding.

“Our leadership team has spent a huge amount of time during the summer going through all this … at one point we had masks on everyone throughout the school, but what we have now come to, [after] listening to legal advice, listening to other pieces, is for our Grade 6-12, they will be required to wear masks where they cannot contain within their bubble or where social distancing is not possible,” said Thompson. “Those who are K-5, they may wear masks if they want to, but it’s not mandated.”

Nanaimo Christian School teachers will wear clear masks.

“We just think that students seeing the facial expressions and smiles of teachers is a real important piece for their emotional well-being,” said Sijpheer.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

CoronavirusEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read