An empty gym at Creston’s Adam Robertson Elementary School waits for children of front-line workers. Photo submitted

An empty gym at Creston’s Adam Robertson Elementary School waits for children of front-line workers. Photo submitted

Schools re-open in Nelson and Creston, but only for children of front-line workers

School District 8 is providing on-site education for certain families during the pandemic

Children of front-line workers have begun to fill empty classrooms and gyms within School District 8.

An initiative to provide on-site education for kindergarten to Grade 6 students whose parents are essential service health care employees began a slow rollout Monday at schools in Nelson and Creston with plans for expansion.

In the setting, children sit two metres apart at desks with their own assigned supplies. An instructor is present to assist children with work assigned digitally by their regular teachers, lunch is provided, fresh air and outdoor activities are encouraged and each day includes a nap time.

Each child is also taught about the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can help with physical distancing and proper hygiene.

“It’s not full-on daycare and it’s not full-on learning as normal,” said superintendent Christine Perkins. “It’s a bit of a hybrid done especially while we’re in this state of emergency.”

Perkins said over 60 families applied for the program, which will eventually include up to eight students each at Hume School and South Nelson Elementary in Nelson as well as Creston’s Adam Robertson Elementary and nearby Erickson Elementary. Parents with children at independent schools were also invited to apply prior to the April 3 deadline.

The sites’ locations were chosen for proximity to hospitals, and hours of operation made flexible to work with what families need. Perkins mentioned a nurse whose 12-hour work days are being supported by the district.

“It depends on the shifts of the doctors and nurses, folks who are on the front lines…,” said Perkins. “If we don’t need anything past 4:30 p.m. then we don’t offer anything past 4:30. If a family needs noon to 7 p.m., we’re there from noon to seven. We’re just trying to work with each individual family.”

Perkins said the district plans to expand the program to include other types of essential workers, such as grocery store employees and truck drivers, as well as open up sites in Kaslo, Salmo and Slocan.

She added a focus on special needs students, including those who live in poverty or who identify as LGBTQ2S, will also be addressed by staff.

“[We’re] just trying to make a home away from home while their parents are working on the front lines,” said Perkins.

Meanwhile, district teachers have begun connecting with their students stuck at home. Perkins said the education ministry has provided direction, but each school and class has its own needs that teachers are navigating.

That means, for now, a relaxed level of academic expectations on both teachers and students.

Perkins said, for example, teachers are suggesting just an hour a day of education for their youngest students. The work assigned digitally can also be done on a family’s own schedule as classrooms, for most students, move from school buildings to emails and video conferencing.

“I think right now we’re planning on running the district digitally for quite a while and trying to get around that new reality,” she said.

Related: Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Nelson Police responded to 802 calls last year they say had an element of mental health. File photo
Nelson Police: 802 mental-health related calls in 2020

That accounts for 12 per cent of total calls for service

Several large trees came down in the recent windstorm and destroyed a part of the building that houses Camp Koolaree’s showers and boy’s washroom. The camp has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson area’s longest running children’s summer camp. Photo: Submitted
Camp Koolaree’s wash house destroyed by January windstorms

The camp is in need of donations to make repairs

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Most Read