Like many other schools in the Cowichan Valley, Duncan Christian School has reopened recently to accommodate children of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To varying degrees, DCS has opened its preschool, elementary and high school divisions to both their school community and the wider community. About a quarter to a third of the usual staff is working at the site.
“The government has asked all schools to try to be creative in supporting essential workers,” DCS principal Jeremy Tinsley explained. “So we are trying to do that in a limited way.”
Tinsley noted that the school has been working with the Cowichan Valley Community Health Network and School District 79, and that it has been great to build relationships with them.
Primarily, the school is open for families of essential workers and children from the most vulnerable and at-risk families. The high school program is geared more toward students with special needs and those who don’t have computers at home.
There is a minimal charge for the preschool and a drop-in charge for students of elementary age, but the school is trying to keep fees as low as possible.
A few families from within the DCS community have taken part in the programs already.
“Right now there’s not a high demand because [the coronavirus] hasn’t hit the Cowichan Valley in a big way yet,” Tinsley noted.
The response from within the school has been positive.
“It’s also been really great to see the staff stepping up in challenging times, in new ways we haven’t done before,” Tinsley said. “It’s encouraging to see members of the community support one another.”