Quesnel School District board members received an update on the construction of the new Quesnel Junior School. A video featuring drone footage of the construction site was shared with trustees during their Wednesday, April 21 meeting.
The foundation, underground services and some of the steel framing for classroom blocks is already completed. Roofing work should be started by the end of May.
“It’s always been exciting, but when you see it starting to come together and look like a building it becomes real, it becomes more exciting,” district secretary-treasurer Jennifer Woollends said. “For the most part we’re on budget and on time.”
Wollends added dry, warm weather in mid-April helped the project move forward.
Superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller shared an update on how schools were dealing with the new public health guidelines related to COVID-19. In the time since their March meeting, students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 have been required to wear masks indoors.
“We all know that’s a challenge, but one of the things we did at a recent health and safety meeting is get a sense of how kids are doing with that, and people were really pleased with the progress kids are making to wear a mask for five hours a day – we all know that’s very challenging.”
Miller said teachers have been trying to get kids outdoors to learn as often as possible to provide a break from the indoor mask wearing.
“There have been a number of situations where parents have worked with the school principal around exceptions around those rules, because there are children who cannot tolerate wearing a mask. The ministry was very clear that no student should be prevented from attending or fully participating if they couldn’t wear a mask.”
Staff and other meetings have also moved virtual. Trustee Gloria Jackson noted students need to stay close to their home school for any outdoor activities, so they can use the facilities at the school.
Woollends also provided the numbers on how the district is spending their extra COVID dollars. The district received provincial and federal funding. With the purchase of 65 touchless faucets, they’ve spend 99 per cent of their provincial funding, and 43 per cent of their federal funding.
Wollends said custodial staff are working 250 extra hours per week to keep schools safe and clean.
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