Students in School District 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap, return to class on Sept. 7, 2021. (File photo)

Students in School District 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap, return to class on Sept. 7, 2021. (File photo)

Health, safety emphasized as North Okanagan-Shuswap schools open

Drivers urged to be cautious, inside School District 83 buildings pandemic protocols change slightly

Class is almost back in session for students in School District 83, North Okanagan-Shuswap.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic will still be around for the Sept. 7 start. Due to the virus, restrictions remain in schools. However, they will be changed slightly compared to last year.

According to SD83, there will be no more cohorts for students this year.

Parents and visitors will be welcome to visit schools, but only if they wear a mask and sanitize their hands.

All adults in a school must wear a mask.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has released information regarding COVID safety in K-12 schools on its website. So has the government of B.C.

Interior Health (IH) added three of its own recommendations, due to higher COVID-19 case counts in the region.

IH recommended visitors entering schools should be limited to those supporting activities that benefit students, such as meal program volunteers.

It also recommended indoor assemblies be limited to 50 people, or two classes, whichever is larger.

Thirdly, IH said extracurricular school sports should have spectator limits of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

School District 83 custodians will be cleaning touch points once during the school day and again after school is finished.

Physical distancing of six feet is no longer required, though keeping space between people is still recommended, said the school district.

In preparation for the school year, drivers are being asked to be safe and consider students.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) asked drivers to leave extra travel time, stay focused on the road and watch for children, especially around school zones.

It said each year, five children are killed and 370 are injured in crashes while walking or cycling. From crashes in school zones and playground zones, 66 children are injured per year. These statistics are an average of data ICBC reported from 2016 to 2020.

ICBC said nearly 7,000 people were ticketed for speeding in school or playground zones across B.C. last year. It added police and speed watch volunteers will be closely monitoring school zones as the school year begins.

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