A September Like Never Before
September 17, 2020
Students walked out of their homes to sunshine, cool air, and fresh morning dew as they made their way to their first day of school. Many of them carrying backpacks, holding onto their parent’s hands, and exhibiting body language indicating excitement, nervousness, and a little anxiety – the usual feelings expected for students when returning to school.
But it was not a typical start to the new school year. The pandemic, which has altered everyone’s daily life has also resulted in changes to how schools started up in September. Students and staff in the Langley School District kicked off the year with orientation on health and safety.
“The purpose is to get students familiar with our health and safety protocols to ensure they are prepared for the week when learning begins,” says Communications Manager Joanne Abshire.
“Our priority is focused on care and connection; providing an opportunity for students to ask questions, and for staff to hear any concerns they may have. For many of our students, they haven’t been in school since last Spring, so making them feel comfortable and confident is important,” explains Abshire.
Teachers and staff all over the District have spent the first two days practicing and modelling procedures such as hand washing, using the washroom, staying in their cohorts, and playing in designated zones on the playground.
“Even entering the classroom is different than in previous years,” says Kim Anderson, principal of Lynn Fripps Elementary.
“We do have staggered starts and staggered dismissals to allow for smaller groups of children to arrive and depart at times during the day. “This will allow us to maintain as much physical distancing as we can.”
After two days of orientation and two days of full-time in-class instruction, she says she feels good about how things are unfolding.
“It has been a positive start to the school year. Students are so excited to be back. It was nice to see our students smiling and hearing the sound of laughter in our classrooms again.”
She acknowledges it hasn’t been easy adapting to this new normal in education.
“We know it is a challenging time for everyone, but our school community is taking things in stride. Teachers, staff, students, and families are all working together and doing our best to ensure we maintain health, safety, and mental well-being,” says Anderson.
“In my long-time career in education, I’ve never been prouder to be a part of a community that collaborates and cares for each other, especially during such a difficult time.”
For more information about the Langley School District please visit the webpage here.