Loading articles...

Black Gold School Division delaying school restart

Stock image of a classroom. (CREDIT: iStock)

EDMONTON (CityNews) – The Black Gold School Division (BGSD) is delaying the start of the school year.

The school division announced the first day of school will take place starting on Sept. 8.

The school board said a staggered restart will take place between Sept. 8 and 10, with full classes resuming on Sept. 11.

“The Board undertook this decision to provide our principals, teachers and staff with much-needed time to prepare for a safe and successful re-entry for Black Gold students,” said BGSD Board Chair Devonna Klaassen in a statement. “This change also serves to prioritize the emotional and mental well-being of students and staff as they prepare for classes during an ongoing public health crisis.”

“As a Board, this is how we can show our staff that we stand behind them, and show parents that their children’s safety and well-being is our top priority.”

“The education minister left this decision to the school boards, and I cannot recall a time during the last three years of something needed so desperately by our administration that we as a board have had the authority to positively impact,” said Board Vice Chair Sarah O’Gorman in a statement. “Furthermore, based on the feedback received, it is clear that providing more time for our schools to prepare for the return of students will not only help to create a more safe, comfortable and calm reopening. That extra week will in turn help set the tone for September and throughout the school year.”

“More time will mean a safer and more prepared start for staff, which will lead to greater student emotional well-being and academic success.” said Superintendent and Chief Education Officer William Romanchuk. “Many of our staff are changing teaching assignments, and need more time to prepare and reconfigure classrooms to allow for the best physical distancing.”

“Based on Black Gold parents’ choice, approximately 1400 students will attend classes virtually, and around 50 teachers need to plan for teaching distance learning in subjects or grades they may not be familiar with,” said Superintendent Romanchuk in a statement. “Our principals need time to redo class lists, timetables, supervision schedules, recall educational assistants, familiarize all staff with the enhanced safety and sanitation protocols, and plan for the unknowns so we are in the best position to provide a safe and meaningful educational experience.”

“Yesterday’s decision also gives teachers and support staff the necessary time to do transition meetings with families that have students with special needs.”

The school board has said the staggered restart dates will be as followed:
September 8: Grades 3, 6, 9, 12 students only
September 9: Grades 2, 5, 8, 11 students only
September 10: Grades 1, 4, 7, 10 students only
September 11: All students attend and regular classes begin.

Students that are registered in distance education will not take part in the staggered start and grades 1-12 will begin on Sept. 8.

The school board has said parents of kindergarten students will be contacted next week regarding the return to school.

If students are not taking place in the three day staggered restart, parents need to inform the school.