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Yellowknife Catholic Schools releases reopening plans for its three schools

To facilitate social distancing, students in Grades 10-11 at St. Patrick High School will attend classes for half of the day and work from home for the other half. NNSL file photo

Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) released on Aug. 20 the reopening plans for its three schools.

The release comes almost a week after Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1) put out detailed plans for the reopening of its six schools.

RELATED REPORTING: Yk1 releases specific plans for reopening formats of its six schools

To facilitate social distancing, students in Grades 10-11 at St. Patrick High School will attend classes for half of the day and work from home for the other half.
NNSL file photo

Classes at Weledeh Catholic School will start on Monday, Aug. 31 for families whose last names begin with A-K; on Sept. 1 for families whose last names start with L-Z; and on Sept. 2 for all other students.

In a letter to YCS parents and guardians, superintendent Simone Gessler writes that the staggered entry process will apply to all schools and that more information would be shared next week.

"While we recognize that this may cause some initial inconvenience, we believe that it is crucial in preparing our students, meeting our return to school plan accommodations, and providing a continued safe environment," Gessler said.

Other plans for Weledeh and St. Joseph share many similarities with those of Yk1 schools, such as: changed classroom layouts, students staying in their classroom bubbles, staggered and changed recess and lunch times, supplies will not be shared, teachers will wear masks or face shields, students will wear masks in hallways, pick-up and drop-off locations will be at different areas of each school and physical distancing will be maintained as much as possible.

A few procedures are unique to Weledeh, including the provision of two non-medical masks for all students, virtual assemblies and classroom liturgies and students who need to access the food program will have meals and snacks dropped off to the classroom.

St. Patrick High School

Like its Yk1 counterpart, St. Patrick High School has its own set of reopening formats distinct from the elementary schools.

All classes begin on Monday, Aug. 31.

For grades 8 and 9 classes, students must keep a minimum distance of one metre; and grades 10-12 students must maintain at least two metres of physical distance.

As a result, classroom sizes will be smaller, with only 21-23 students permitted in grades 8-9 classes and 14-15 in grades 10-12.

In addition, grades 10-11 will attend classes for half the day and work from home for the other half. The main doors of the school will open at 8:30 a.m. Grades 10-11 morning students must leave the school by 12:15 p.m, afternoon students can enter the school at 12:20 p.m. All students must exit the building by 3:45 p.m.

Grades 8-9 and 12 will study at school full-time, as usual.

"The decision was made to make our Grade 12s the first priority, as it is their final year before leaving school for post secondary or the workforce," a spokesperson with YCS said.

Lockers will be organized according to new rules, with only every third locker being used and lockers will be assigned to grades 10-12 students using a lottery system.

Lockers won't be used by grades 8-9 students because they will be mostly stationary, with staff moving to them.

Assemblies will be limited to small cohort groups.

Extra-curricular activities that don't require physical contact, and non-contact sports will be offered. Wrestling and hockey will not be allowed.

Bagged lunches will be given to students who require lunch through the Rock Cafe. The food program will be prepared by staff and the student work experience group, with safety protocols in place such as frequent hand-washing, wearing of non-medical masks and usage of single serve dishes and pre-packaged foods. Communal food won't be permitted.