Some of Lloydminster’s high school students have spent the last two weeks returning to in-person classes again, and LCHS Principal Dwayne Marciniw says the transition has gone smoother than expected.
Due to new COVID-19 guidelines in all schools, the average day on campus is looking different. Students are advised to come as close as possible to the start of the day and have staggered entrances nearest to their first class when they arrive to keep groups in halls smaller.
Students then move from class to class in three “micro-cohorts,” with staggered lunches and movement breaks throughout the day. When they return from lunch, they re-enter the school closest to their afternoon classroom. Extra sanitization and mask-wearing are required when students move from area to area. Teachers are wearing masks during instruction, but when students are doing individual work at their desk, they can unmask.
Marciniw explains that by doing schooling this way, students are still able to take advantage of all the learning tools in the school.
“At the high school level, with the combinations of elective options that we offer, we offer over 141 different courses at LCHS, and so it’s important to us that we allow students the opportunity to continue to take those courses that they’re really passionate about, but in order to accomplish that, we had to split into these ‘micro-cohorts.'”
Things like the cafeteria and library remain open for students to get food or learning materials, with eating being done back at their classroom. One thing that is still on hold is the school’s athletic and extracurricular programs. However, Marciniw says they will be working with the two provinces high school athletics boards on the parameters for what each sport will look. He adds that these items do play a part of students physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the school’s community spirit, and they’ll be looking at starting these programs as soon as they get the okay.
Despite the changes, Marciniw says during check-ins with students, he’s heard positive things from them about the gradual return to normal schooling.
“The students have been more than fantastic in terms of meeting the expectations and the structures, what they are most excited about is having the opportunity to be back in school, around some of their peer groups, and yes, the whole school environment.”
Marciniw adds that staff have been a strong presence during the return, and that has been a positive as well. Over the next few months, LCHS and the other schools under the LPSD banner are looking to be proactive and flexible as they work together to adapt around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.