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Young students easing back into classes at Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre

The last two weeks have seen many of Lloydminster’s children returning to school in person once again. One local principal, working with some of the City’s youngest, says it’s been a smooth transition back.

Along with all other schools under the Lloydminster Catholic School Division’s purview, Mother Teresa Early Childhood Education Centre welcomed students back gradually, starting their first week with smaller split classes before coming back to full capacity.

Like schools across both of Lloydminster’s divisions, they have implemented extra sanitization of items or toys, separation of classes into smaller cohorts and physical distancing indicators. Due to the fact that Mother Teresa only deals in classes from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2, masks are not mandatory in class, but kids are still wearing them on the bus as recommended by Public Health.

Principal Sheila Jurke says the kids have responded positively to wearing masks on the bus and being back at school with the new rules.

“If you come by our school, you’ll see at the end of the day that the children all have [masks] on, they’re all wearing them, their parents have educated them in what the expectations are for being back at school. I think that’s gone a long way because we really have seen great compliance from our school community as a whole.”

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At Mother Teresa, they’ve put in place child-friendly distancing stickers, one child in the bathroom at a time policy, and split the playground into smaller zones so that kids stay within their cohort group. She adds that teachers remain with students, and educational assistants are woven into the cohort system. Librarians are also moving classroom to classroom instead of the kids going there.

Jurke also credits her staff and the LCSD’s Prevention With A Purpose Program for helping staff and students feel at ease with the new guidelines.

“We know that if we are asking children to do something, we need to show them and not just tell them. So that Prevention With A Purpose program actually watched the children through, step by step, how to sanitize, why we sanitize, why we socially distance, how to be safer in the classroom than we were before, and it really approaches it in a way that’s not scary.”

Friday marked the end of their first week with full classes for all schools under the LCSD’s banner.

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