Shawnigan Lake School hopes for students to return after Easter. (Citizen file photo)

Shawnigan Lake School hopes for students to return after Easter. (Citizen file photo)

Cowichan boarding schools keeping students out of classrooms

Area boarding schools are coming forward with their plans to combat COVID-19

Area boarding schools are coming forward with their plans to combat COVID-19 and part of that includes keeping students out of classrooms.

Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan has closed in-class instruction until further notice as of March 17 according to a notice on the school’s website. Officials there are also working with parents toward closing their boarding program and getting kids home to their families.

A remote learning program is being developed and administrative offices are open to answer questions but Wilma Jamieson, head of school, notes that “we ask that prior to visiting our campus for any reason, please email the appropriate contact below to make arrangements.”

Jamieson said the school is in support of the government’s decision to close schools.

“Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, our plans will evolve accordingly, and we will continue to look to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education for guidance,” she wrote.

Shawnigan Lake School is postponing the start of its spring term until after Easter weekend, with a provisional plan for students to return to campus April 14-15.

“Until that time, all co-curricular programming outside of the core academic program, as well as off campus events such as alumni and school gatherings, will be cancelled or postponed,” said a release issued by school spokesman Greg Stevenson.

That’s not to say learning won’t be taking place, however.

“Faculty and administration have been preparing for the delivery of classes and academic support online,” which is slated to launch March 30. “At this stage, given the uncertain trajectory of the virus, these dates are provisional and are subject to adjustment if circumstances demand.”

Stevenson said staff at the school are not aware of anyone in the Shawnigan community who has been suspected of having or who has tested positive for the virus.

The release said the school has been in touch with provincial health and school officials and other boarding schools on Vancouver Island.

“We want to keep our community healthy and safe under these challenging conditions, while doing our part to help prevent the spread of the virus. The well-being of our community is our top priority,” said headmaster Richard Lamont.

Meanwhile, Mill Bay’s Brentwood College School has cancelled its world-renowned rowing regatta. It would have been the 50th annual event, which they say, they’ll celebrate in 2021 instead.

“Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 situation and out of concern for the safety of our guests, students, staff and our community we have decided to postpone this year’s Regatta (April 24-26) and reschedule for 2021,” said a notice on the school’s website.

Campus admissions visits have also been cancelled and virtual tours and meetings with prospective families will replace them.

While St. John’s Academy in Shawnigan Lake is technically a boarding school, officials there say there are just five boarders this year. They’re believed to be staying off-campus with family and friends in Vancouver.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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