The build of the new double school in Espanola has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
French Catholic Board media coordinator, Paul de la Riva, says having to stop construction during the first phase of the pandemic has delayed the project, but it is estimated about 75% is completed.
He says contractors are now working on finishing, both internally and externally, and the parking lot and main entrance is expected to be completed over the summer.
De la Riva says the school will house Catholic students, both French and English in École catholique La Renaissance and Sacred Heart Catholic School by January.
The specific date for children in both daycares managed by Our Children, Our Future, has not been established either.
He adds they expect construction will be completed in mid-November allowing for students to move in in January 2021 depending on the situation with the virus.
De la Riva says the new school will meet all COVID-19 regulations and all adaptations required by policy will be made. Both school boards each have a back-to-school taskforce that is focusing on this and will identify and coordinate adaptations and adjustments that are required and must be completed so that students may return to school in September.
He adds, these conditions will be applied to existing schools in September (Saint-Joseph and École secondaire catholique Franco-Ouest, and Sacred Heart). The same concern will be applied to the new schools. All boards are required to work closely with Public Health Sudbury & Districts to ensure the well-being and safety of students and staff.
All the schools have access to wireless and digital learning tools. We have iPads, whiteboard in all schools. Students in Espanola will continue to have access to state-of-the-art learning tools. For example, white boards are now installed in all classrooms – old and new schools.
“We are very excited towards our move to the new building and see this as a major gain for Espanola Francophone community. Our school community, which has been waiting for many years to see all of the students gathered in one building, are excited that our Kindergarten to grade 12 students will now learn and thrive in the same building. I am sure Huron Superior parents are also looking forward to the move to their new school too,” adds De la Riva.
PHOTO: The new double school, which will house French Catholic students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 and English Catholic students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, is tentatively set to open in January, 2021. The project was slightly delayed due to the pandemic shutdown of construction sites earlier this year. Photo by Rosalind Russell