Local high schools to return to semesters, lockers, common lunch hours

By Kirk Winter

The return of lockers to high school life happens in February.

After almost two years of virtual learning, octomesters and quadmesters, Trillium Lakelands high schools will be returning to semesters on Feb. 7 as requested overwhelmingly by students, staff and administration at each of the board’s seven high schools.

“The ministry (of education) has given boards across the province permission, because of the high vaccination rates of secondary students, to return to the semester system if wanted,” director of education Wes Hahn told trustees on December 14 at their regularly scheduled meeting.

Hahn said the board asked all stake holders since the announcement was made Nov. 18 what they would like to do. The answer from the schools was a resounding “yes” to a return to four classes a day beginning in February.

Superintendent of learning Kim Williams told the gathering that the board priority was to determine what is best for students and student learning.

“We had many conversations at all levels about semesters vs. quadmesters,” Williams said. “We looked at the pros and cons of both systems. We weren’t looking just for the most popular answer.”

Williams said students, staff and administrators preferred the semester system with a common lunch hour that would allow for extra-help sessions and extra-curriculars to operate.

“Since September 1, we have only had five cases (of COVID-19) across the seven high schools,” Williams said.

Williams singled out the two student trustees who “were passionate about representing the views of their peers (on this issue).”

Trustee Gary Brohman congratulated staff, students and the senior team on getting everyone to buy in to COVID protocols.

“You all deserve a standing ovation with two encores,” Brohman said. “Grade nine and ten students who have never experienced semesters will love them.”

Brohman concluded his comments by pushing senior staff on high schools opening up lockers to students stating, “High school kids need lockers.”

“On February 7, secondary students will be assigned lockers once they are thoroughly cleaned,” Williams said.

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