Revelstoke schools are preparing for their first day of school without high-profile restrictions as the province is changing its COVID-19 guidelines for schools and childcare operators.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday (Mar. 10) that masks will no longer be required in all school settings once students return from spring break.
According to Mike Hooker, Superintendent of Revelstoke School District 19, staff will be working through the break to prepare schools and students for the new guidelines when they return to class on Mar. 28.
“Most people are going to be really excited about this news, and then there will be others that will be apprehensive,” said Hooker. “This gives them a little bit of time to come to terms a little with that too, just to establish that things have changed.”
“Schools will start to just look like other spaces again.”
Hooker noted the importance of children having the ability to see the entire face, as some have concerns around the effect of masks on the linguistic, emotional and social development of children.
“Two-year-olds right now have been essentially brought up in an environment where they’re really not seeing a whole lot of faces out in public,” said Hooker.
Students of Revelstoke schools will benefit most from a lack of limitations on group sizes, according to Hooker, as children will once again have the ability to fully participate in extra-curricular activities such as drama, band, and sports.
The new guidelines also paint a promising picture for the end of year celebrations such as prom and graduation ceremonies.
Inter-school events will remain at 50 per cent capacity until Apr. 8.
“The board has really appreciated the support of the community,” said Hooker. “From a relationship perspective, our community has been very healthy. We’re really excited for the kids and the families for the spring.”
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