Classrooms have been refreshed and teachers are back at it this week, preparing the spaces for another school year. 

Custodial staff in the Border Land School Division were busy this summer refreshing those classrooms with new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. 

"I know that teachers are always anxious to get back into their classrooms," said superintendent, Krista Curry. She noted, they are setting up for what they hope will be a more normal school year after two years of pandemic protocols. "The protocols aren't in place for distancing so, teachers have the flexibility to set up how they would like to - lots of groupings and children at tables. So, that's exciting for them to have their Reading Carpets back and all of the things we've missed over the past two years."

Meantime, it hasn't all been about getting the classrooms ready. Curry noted, about 117 teachers spent two days this past week participating in a series of professional development opportunities as part of the Division's annual Summer Institute.

The Division is anticipating about 2,100 students to be enrolled for the start of the year.

"Our kindergarten numbers are a little bit lower than we are used to having, and some of that is some of our schools across the Division that accumulates across the board," explained Curry. However, that could still change with just under a week to go before school starts. "We've had several calls in the past week or so about registration questions and so, some schools have their secretarial staff there and parents are going in to register. Some students that were at home during COVID have (also) expressed interest in coming back and so, the first week will be telling in terms of where our numbers line up."

Overall, Curry says there is a positive energy among staff and teachers heading into what is expected to be a more normal year.

"It certainly will be a return to busy again," she noted. "(We are) trying to find the balance between people (who) are still stressed, tired and worried in some respects, so we're trying to find a balance of how do we get it all back in and what does that look like? And reflecting on what did we change that maybe we should keep, and what are some things we for sure want to have back in the schools."

During a principals meeting this week, Curry added it was nice to spend only five minutes talking about COVID-related items, and the rest of time focused on learning.

"We know that people will be sick, and so we just encourage people stay home and come back when they feel better and hopefully, we can persevere through the fall illness cycle that we typically do have without having to pause on anything," she noted.