FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District 60 sent a letter to parents on Tuesday with some of the developments and changes in the coming school year.

Superintendent Stephen Petrucci reassured parents in his letter that “schools have proven to be very low-risk sites for transmission compared to all other public and personal scenarios.”

With classes set to resume on September 7th, Petrucci outlined some of the differences from last school year.

Students will no longer be in cohorts or learning groups, and they will be able to socialize as per normal.

Students and staff will continue to respect everyone’s personal space and maximize the use of space and spreading out where possible, but there will no longer be a 2-metre distance requirement.

Visitors will be welcome in the school, provided they wear a mask and sign in at the office when visiting.

Assemblies can gradually return, extracurricular sports and activities can resume, and spectators can attend, as long as they’ve signed in and are wearing a mask.

Gymnasiums will be available for third-party bookings again, and canteens and cafeterias can resume normal service.

Some of the preventative measures that will remain in place are continued hand-washing and sneezing or coughing into your elbow, health checks every morning through a specific app, students and staff must stay home if they are sick, contact tracing between Northern Health medical staff and families, and an updated SD60 Communicable Disease Plan, which can be found on the SD60 website.

According to Petrucci’s letter to parents, masks are still mandated for students from Grade 4 to Grade 12, and for all staff.

The mask mandate will be re-evaluated in the fall, depending on the state of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Education and Public Health Officer will be in charge of making those decisions.

Students and staff may ask for an exemption for masks based on one of the examples provided on the B.C. government website.