June 22nd, 2024

New school for a new school year

By Herald on August 31, 2021.

Youngsters make their way in to the new Dr.Robert Plaxton Elementary School Tuesday morning as Lethbridge students returned to class for the new school year. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – Lethbridge Herald

A new school year opened as Lethbridge’s first solar panel-powered school on Tuesday morning.

Dr. Robert Plaxton Elementary School in the city’s southeast opened its doors for the first time to students as the Lethbridge School Division welcomed back learners.

Due to social-distancing requirements, no parents were allowed to walk inside the kindergarten through Grade 5 school with their children who were greeted by a bright, modern and colourful interior.

The school will accommodate 380 students including online learners, said principal Erin Hurkett, who came to the school from Mike Mountain Horse Elementary on the westside.

Students “are all from south Lethbridge and we have our e-learners, as well,” said Hurkett Tuesday morning before classes started.

Those e-learners can be from anywhere in the district, Hurkett said.

Solar technology generated by panels on the school’s roof will produce 105 per cent of the school’s energy.

The school also has a solar and wind-powered playground that combines science and play. As students waited for doors to open, some along with their parents used the playground while other young learners waited with parents at different entrances. The playground will engage students with both the light spectrum and wind energy, says a poster on a school wall.

An outdoor learning space at the school is designed to provide a connection to natural surroundings and enhance student health and well-being.

For parent Scott McGregor, whose son Declan was waiting to start his first day, the new school had a bit of a comfort zone since his wife Chrystal previously worked with Hurkett at a different school.

After a year of online learning through Lakeview Elementary, McGregor said Declan is excited to get back into a real classroom. Now a stock market mentor after leaving the radio business, McGregor said they came to the school a couple of times to feel it out in advance of the big day.

The school division is requiring students to wear masks at all schools when entering and leaving and when in common spaces inside such as hallways and washrooms. They will also wear them in mixed cohort groups with students from combined groups. Masks are not required when students are outdoors.

Large groups of students inside buildings during the school day are being restricted in the division as well as large groups of students outside in elementary and middle schools.

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