School board adds caution tape as reminder: Please don’t use closed playgrounds

Greater Victoria School District staff have collected more than 20,000 metres of caution tape and deployed it to prevent people from using closed playgrounds at schools.

The district closed all of its 145 playgrounds on March 21 to comply with public health directions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Signs were installed to notify the public of the playground closures, but superintendent Shelley Green said families who live near schools have reported “a great deal” of people continuing to use the playgrounds despite the signs.

There have been similar concerns about people continuing to gather in large groups despite repeated requests from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to stay home as much as possible and only go out with the people you live with.

Green said they decided taping off playgrounds would make the closures more obvious and “show the seriousness of what this looks like.”

The majority of principals and vice-principals joined in the effort and a crew went out to each of the district’s 145 playgrounds at 47 schools. They were advised to tape off every piece of equipment in a way that would block people from using it.

“You really can’t miss it when you go to the playground, and you’d actually have to physically remove it to use the equipment,” Green said. “I think it will just bring that attention that it is important to stay away from playgrounds at this time.”

She and the district’s facilities staff collected rolls of caution tape from hardware stores, the city’s parks and recreation department, police and first responders.

At one hardware store, Green asked for all of their tape and explained it was for blocking access to playgrounds.

“He said: ‘Take all of it,’ and he put it in a little box for me,” she said.

Like playgrounds, schools remain closed as spring break comes to an end.

Green said principals, vice-principals, secretarial staff and custodians will be the only people returning to school buildings Monday.

“Our principals be reaching out to each of their staff and coordinating a Zoom online meeting,” she said.

The district will schedule staggered times for teachers to collect teaching materials from their classrooms to transition to instructing from home, Green said. 

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