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Lakecrest school in St. John's unveils details of reopening

Dr. Zaina Albalawi
Dr. Zaina Albalawi

Lakecrest Independent School in St. John’s revealed its plans to parents and staff in a live Facebook video Wednesday.

Much of the plan has been guided by a medical task force that includes volunteer health professionals who have been following the relevant government health protocols.

“We’ve been instructed to plan for life with COVID-19 and now we have a plan to get back to safe in-class instruction at Lakecrest this September,” head of school Patrick Boekhoud said in a release. “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and after carefully considering the latest research and our local epidemiology, we feel that the benefits outweigh the potential risks.”

Some of the measures include:

● Digital screening forms to be completed daily for anyone entering the school

● Support for individuals who wish to wear masks, without a mandatory mask policy, and

● Moving to virtual assemblies to limit mass gatherings but promote social interaction and recognition of student achievement.

The school also plans to temporarily switch to virtual learning if anyone in the school tests positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Zaina Albalawi, a member of the medical task force, said music is vital to the school’s learning model and that it will continue, but that singing and playing wind instruments will be avoided, as per guidelines from public health.

“There is actually a lack of robust evidence to say there is harm or benefit,” she said in the video. “Most of what we have seen has been driven by the media, and the studies that have been available or the incidents that happened, it’s not clear if it was directly related to singing or using wind instruments or whether it related to the shared food or items that were there, or other activities.”

She said chamber choir will find “creative ways” to continue.

Meeting scheduled

Meanwhile, choral leaders in the province confirmed this week they are scheduled to meet with public health officials Friday to discuss possible safe ways to continue choral singing.

A group of them have been lobbying the province to reconsider banning choral singing altogether since recommendations were issued by the chief medical officer of health earlier in the spring.

A recording of the Lakecrest live video can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/lakecrestnl/videos/2676755599255977

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