Here's what a Hamilton classroom will look like during COVID-19

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board gave local media a tour of one of its newer schools on the mountain, Shannen Koostachin Elementary, on Tuesday.

Reporters visited a kindergarten class, a Grade 1 class, washrooms and a hallway

HWDSB offered a sneak peek of what classes will look like on the first day of school. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Spaced out desks, single squares of carpet, bagged up water fountains and checkmarks above bathroom stalls and urinals are just some of the new features schools will have for students as they reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board gave local media a tour of one of its newer schools on the mountain, Shannen Koostachin Elementary, on Tuesday.

Reporters visited a kindergarten class, a Grade 1 class, washrooms and a hallway.

This comes as the board announced a $10.4 million plan yesterday to reduce class sizes in kindergarten and in classes between Grades 4 and 8. The plan also includes a staggered start and mandatory masks for all students.

Here's what the school looked liked:

Grade 1 class

The Grade 1 class had 23 desks and chairs for students, with roughly a metre of room between them.

The desks take up almost the entirety of the room.

There was also a bottle of hand sanitizer in the class.

Manny Figueiredo, director of education, noted space for some of the more social aspects of learning, like a reading table, won't be in class. 

"A lot of the extra furniture or other learning spaces have been removed. It's the only way to create distancing. It's not how we've reinforced effective teaching and learning over the years," he said.

This Grade 1 class has space for 23 students, roughly one metre apart. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
HWDSB is hoping to reduce some class sizes between Grade 4 and 8 and in kindergarten. This Grade 1 class has 23 students. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Kindergarten class

The kindergarten class had six tables with 12 chairs.

It also had a touch-free handwashing station and nine individual squares of carpet for students to sit on.

Toys will be scarce in these rooms.

This kindergarten class shows two chairs per table with about a metre of space between the desks. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
The kindergarten class shown by HWDSB had nine squares of carpet, roughly a metre apart, for kids to sit on during school. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
The HWDSB kindergarten class will include a touch-free handwashing station for students. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)


In the washrooms, urinals and stalls are marked so that only every other one is in use.

A green checkmark indicates which stalls and urinals can be used while a red X signifies which should be avoided.

Bathroom stalls at HWDSB schools will have a red X to indicate which stalls should not be used and a green check mark to show which are OK to use. The board hopes that will facilitate physical distancing. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
Students at HWDSB will have to use every other urinal. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
Using sinks in HWDSB won't require students to touch a faucet. A COVID-19 poster will also be right above sinks to teach students how to wash their hands. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)


Hallways have various COVID-19 posters about masking and physical distancing.

Water fountains are bagged up, but water bottle filling stations can be used.

The floor also features stickers that help physically distance students.

Public schools in Hamilton will have stickers on the hallway floor to help facilitate physical distancing among students. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
Water fountains will be bagged up so students don't use them, but they can fill water bottles. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Attention parents, students and teachers: We want to hear from you!

We hope you'll use this form to tell us about school conditions, how classes are going or whatever other pressing issues are on your mind this September in Hamilton, Niagara, St. Catharines and Burlington.

About the Author

Bobby Hristova


Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.