New school year sees return to extracurricular activities

·1 min read

While another school year begins with COVID-19 restrictions in place, 2021-22 is starting a lot differently than 2020-21.

Masks are still required for all staff and for grades 4 and up as are daily health checks, but many activities that did not happen last year are planned to proceed in Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools this year.

Extracurricular activities are back on including sports as are band performances and theatre productions. Field trips can also resume.

At the secondary level the semester system is back in effect and students have been able to make timetable change requests. Cafeterias are operating again and students can use lockers.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll have full school assemblies by the end of the year,” assistant superintendent Don Balcombe told the education committee at their Sept. 8 meeting.

In a memo delivered at a special board meeting Sept. 1, Superintendent Scott Saywell said the district is seeing a “small increase” in Island ConnectED (ICE) enrolment. A transition program, which was in effect last year and allowed students to start in ICE and transfer to in-person learning later, is not planned for this year, Saywell’s memo says.

Even with the small increase, bricks and mortar schools in the district are seeing more students this year than budgeted. Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh told the education committee that preliminary numbers indicate that the district is already over budget by 100 students in elementary and 200 in secondary. It appears to be due to a combination of new students returning from ICE and well as new people moving to the area. Final enrolment numbers will be released Sept. 30.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

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