By Kevin J. Sabo For the Advance
A familiar face will be guiding Gus Wetter School into a school year unprecedented in recent memory.
Clearview Public Schools has hired Castor area teacher Wendy Coppock to replace outgoing principal Daram Van Oers, who has accepted a position in the Clearview offices as deputy-Superintendent.
Coppock, a 33-year teacher, has a long history with Gus Wetter School, teaching there for 20 years, and serving as vice-principal for 16 of those years, before moving to the Clearview offices herself for four years and stepping in as the divisional early learning and literacy coordinator.
Her experience with the school doesn’t start and stop in the classroom, with her three kids attending the school, and herself sitting on the building committee when the existing school was being built.
“Castor is my community,” said Coppock.
“I’m home. I know a majority of the staff. I know a majority of the parents. I already have a history here and am well entrenched in the protocols of the school division.”
School is going to look different for students when the doors reopen in September.
Classes will be kept in their cohorts, and the province has mandated the wearing of masks in common areas or when distancing is not possible. The school is also going to be a ‘closed campus’ to start the year, meaning that only students and staff are allowed inside the building.
“Right now, we are focusing on keeping students safe. We are also keeping the focus on keeping staff safe,” said Coppock.
“We’re going to make it as enjoyable an opportunity for each and every individual that comes into the room, and into our building.”
As for what things are going to look like later in the year, Coppock doesn’t know, as the government and school boards are still figuring things out.
“I think people recognize that if we want to make improvements, and if we want change, we need to follow the rules that are there for us to be safe,” said Coppock.
“That being said, looking forward to Christmas, I don’t know what (that) is going to look like. It’s (the virus) going to ebb and flow. We’re going to have our highs and we’re going to have our lows, and we’re just going to have to accept the parameters which we have to work within.”
While in-class learning is an option for the 2020/2021 school year, with the current public health emergency Clearview Public Schools is offering support with online learning or homeschooling for those parents unready to send their kids back to school.
Alberta students will head back to the classroom on Sept. 1st.