Functional School Closures

Any school closures will be announced by email to the school community. Additional information can be found in the Jan 6th district email to parents and guardians and from your child's school. Please monitor your email regularly.

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Proposed School Calendars for Public Feedback - 2022/2023, 2023/2024, and 2024/2025

The Saanich Board of Education would like to share the proposed school calendars for 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. Based on feedback from previous years, Saanich School District #63 has collaborated with Greater Victoria School District #61 and Sooke School District #62 to align school calendar dates wherever possible. 

Your feedback is welcome and can be directed by email to .

Registration for September 2022

Starting January 31st, 2022, Registration for Middle (Grades 6-8) and Secondary (Grades 9-12) levels will take place at catchment schools.  Please visit the Registration page for information on how to register students in Kindergarten to Grade 5.  

We look forward to welcoming you to Saanich!

The International Baccalaureate Program at Parkland

Are you interested in learning more about the IB program at Parkland?   

Please attend their IB Information Night (Virtual) on January 19th at 7:00pm. 

  • Did you know that you can take only one IB class if you want to?   
  • Do you know how being an IB student can benefit your university experience?   

Come to the info session with all your questions and find out more!  

Join the meeting.  Meeting ID: 812 7858 3609  Passcode: k0Gwui 

A Message from the Superintendent – Important Updates for the Return to School (Jan 6 2022)

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Below are some important updates for you to read before we head into next week and the return to regular classes.  Our goal is to ensure you are as current as possible with Health & Safety as well as any operational changes to our schools.  Please find some time to read the email in its entirety.

HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATES

The Provincial Health Office has directed school districts to remind parents of the following information:

  • All students should be wearing masks if possible on school buses and in classrooms.  Masks are required for Kindergarten - Grade 12.  Any requests for mask exemptions should be shared with school administration.
  • Parents, guardians, students and staff are being reminded to wash your hands regularly and perform a Daily Health Check.  You can download the K-12 Health Check App HERE [k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca].  Please stay home if you are not feeling well.

Due to the short incubation period of the Omicron variant (3-5 days), as well as the high transmissibility of the virus, Contact Tracing will no longer be done by schools.  The PHO has indicated to us that it is not possible to complete this process in a timely way with the Omicron variant.  The PHO and BCCDC are strongly encouraging Self-Management if you have COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.  This includes staying home to self-isolate as well as seeking medical attention if you require it.  You can find detailed information on this process HERE [bccdc.ca].

A very informative site on things such as regional vaccination rates and COVID-19 infection rates can be found on the BCCDC COVID Dashboard [bccdc.ca].  You can click on a number of filters that allow you to see specific data for the Saanich Peninsula.  We anticipate hearing more from the PHO about school safety protocols in the days and weeks ahead and will provide any information to parents/guardians in a timely fashion.

MON JAN 10TH – SCHOOLS OPEN FOR ALL STUDENTS

Next Monday, all Saanich Schools will be open and school buses will be running on their regular schedules.  Thank you for your understanding as we prepared for new conditions in our classrooms, schools and instructional strategies as we returned from the Winter Break.  Today was certainly another extraordinary day with the large snow fall last night and early this morning.  We anticipate most of the snow to be gone by tomorrow, or pushed to the side, as our crews have been working all day to clear parking lots and school access points.

PLANNING FOR JANUARY

Schools will be contacting parents with particular changes that may be happening at their sites as we adapt to new protocols – this could include things such as limiting school access, program or scheduling changes, and any site-specific health and safety information.

With the arrival of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, we are confronted with some new realities around infection rates and sickness levels to our workforce and student population.  Dr. Henry (PHO) recently announced [timescolonist.com] that businesses around the province could see 1/3 of their work force away at any particular time during the month of January as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the population.  This kind of absenteeism is not sustainable in our schools and would require us to potentially close a school for a period of time.

Health Closure - A Health Closure of a school is determined by the Island Health Authority.  The immediate health issue is the possibility of a high COVID-19 case count in a school.  The Saanich School District would receive an Order from Island Health to temporarily close a school.  We would then move to a temporary Remote Learning program for all students.

Functional School Closure - A Functional School Closure is determined by the School District when there is insufficient staff to run a school because of illness.  The school would be unable to provide the required level of teaching, supervision, or custodial services to ensure the health and safety of the students. While our district has replacement lists for many of our employees, we may not be able to adequately replace workers to ensure sufficient student safety.  When this happens, we will be closing the school for a minimum of 1 week (7 calendar days).  We anticipate this will allow staff to sufficiently recover from their illness so that in-person learning can resume.  During the Functional Closure, the school would transition to a Remote Learning program for all students.

FUNCTIONAL SCHOOL CLOSURE PROTOCOLS

Announcement Day

  1. Communication with parents/guardians that a school will need to be closed for 1 week (7 calendar days)
  2. If a closure is announced during the school day, an extra bus trip will be made available to transport those students home who take the school bus.  Students unable to return home immediately would be held until the end-of-the-day dismissal.
  3. Students take home all learning materials. 

Day 1 – Transition Day

  1. The school is closed for all students.
  2. Parents, guardians and/or students will be contacted by the school or teacher about the Remote Learning program.
    1. Details of the Remote Learning program (minimum of 5 school days)
    2. The process of borrowing a mobile device if required

Day 2-7 – Remote Learning (Regular School Weekdays)

  1. The school is closed for all students. Remote Learning instruction begins.
  2. Hours of instruction will be designed for an age appropriate amount of screen time per day.  Primary students can expect approximately 1 hour per day with secondary students receiving longer times because of their multiple courses.  Schedules will be determined by teachers and school administration.
  3. Day 7 - Communication with parents and guardians on the return to in-person learning

Day 8 – Return to In-person Learning

  1. Anticipation of a return to in-person instruction at school (based on adequate staffing levels)

Teachers, support staff and administrators have been working this past week to develop transition plans for a Remote Learning scenario – building lessons utilizing regular and online resources, updating their remote learning platforms and preparing for the deployment of mobile devices for those families who may need one.  Information on mobile device deployment will be provided by your child’s school.

We endeavor to provide families with as much notice as possible about a school closure, however, as absences due to illness may not be known well in advance, our plans for communicating with families will be as follows:

  • If a school needs to be closed, the school/district will contact parents via email, preferably the afternoon of the day before the closure.
  • If the school closure is determined once the school day has begun, school buses may be sent back to gather those students who can return home safely.  Students unable to return home in the middle of the day, will be kept at school and supervised – regular instruction would not be possible.  Regular school bus service would return at the end of the day to take any remaining bus students home.  School closure would start the following day.

THANK YOU

I realize that this new path forward is fraught with uncertainty.  However, it is highly likely that our community will see significant effects from Omicron with many businesses and operations being impacted.  By providing you with the above information, our hope is that it gives you some time to make alternate plans should we not be able to keep a school open.  Dr. Henry has stated that January looks to be the most disadvantaged time, and there is a very good possibility we could be through the worst of the effects of this pandemic by the end of the month.

You can expect communication from your school before we begin classes next week.  Please reach out to your school if you have any school-based questions. 

One thing that I am actually very confident about is the ongoing support from our community and our shared commitment to do what we can to ensure the safe and nurturing environment that makes Saanich Schools great places.  Thank you.

With respect,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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January 2022 School Re-Opening – A Message from the Superintendent (Dec 30 2021)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

As you have likely heard from media reports, school opening is being delayed until Mon Jan 10th to allow schools time to organize for the next phase of our response to COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant.  My message to you today includes some critical details about next week and weblinks to further information if you are interested.

School Opening Delayed Until Mon Jan 10th

The province recently announced a delay in school opening until Jan 10th.  The vast majority of students will return to class on this date.  This will allow time for Public Health and school districts to adapt to the impacts of the Omicron variant, and to implement enhanced safety plans to support the continuation of in-person learning.   Safe and engaging in-person learning is known to have a positive impact on the intellectual, social and emotional development of children.  As safety continues to be our highest priority, the time next week will provide us with the opportunity to ensure we continue to have these safe and engaging learning places for your children.

Students with Complex Physical or Health Care Needs

During the week of Jan 4th-7th, Saanich Schools will be open for students who have support needs requiring complex care for physical or health reasons as identified through their Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Should your child require this type of support next week, please contact your school principal to determine how we may best be able to support you and your child.  Please also indicate if you require school bus transportation.  Once we know who will require bus service, we can schedule appropriate routes.  We anticipate bus transportation for next week to be available on a modified schedule beginning Wed Jan 5th. 

Supporting Health Care Workers

Health Care workers continue to be an essential part of our community’s capacity to respond to this pandemic.  As such, Saanich Schools will be supporting parents who work in health care and other essential public service fields and require their children to be in school next week.  Please contact your school principal directly if this situation pertains to you, including if you may need school bus transportation.  We anticipate being able to provide limited bus transportation for next week beginning Wed Jan 5th. 

Health & Safety Updates

Public Health continues to refine the expectations for the K-12 education sector.  At this time, we have a number of updates and we anticipate further changes next week.

  • Schools will be reinforcing existing safety measures:
    • Reminding students about mask protocols.
    • Reminding staff and students to conduct their own daily health checks and staying home if not feeling well.
    • Avoiding crowding where possible, including class transition times.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting schedules will continue on a daily basis.
    • Hand washing / sanitizing will be reinforced.
  • Changes to existing protocols include the following:
    • School visitors will be limited to those persons who provide direct service to children or the school (e.g. district staff, student teachers, school meal program volunteers, etc.).
    • Sports tournaments will be temporarily paused.  Individual games and practices can still occur.
    • School gatherings like assemblies will be virtual where possible, or at a maximum of 50% capacity in the gathering space.
    • Staff meetings and professional development activities will be virtual when possible.

Our school district’s Communicable Disease Plan will be updated to reflect these changes and any others that may be announced in the days and weeks ahead.  The plan is located on our school district website

Public Health continues to reinforce the need for eligible persons to obtain vaccination against this virus.  Information on the province’s COVID-19 vaccination program for children aged 5-11 can be found on their website

Day Care / Before and After School Care

Please check with your specific provider if you access services that reside on school district properties.  We anticipate most operators will be open next week, but it is essential that you contact them directly to confirm their availability.

Thank You

We greatly appreciate the voices of support from our community as we navigate these unsettling times and thank you for your patience as we respond to this next curve in the road ahead.  You can anticipate further communication from your child’s school in the days ahead as we prepare for re-opening on Jan 10th.

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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Spare Room? Become a Homestay Family!

Saanich International Student Program (SISP) is in need of host families for international students joining our district in February 2022. Make life-long friendships, receive a generous allowance of $975 per month to offset expenses and share the beauty of your home and community. 

*SISP is following all guidelines and requirements set by the Federal and Provincial Government regarding COVID-19.  Extensive safety protocols are in place.* 

Kindergarten Registration for Fall 2022

Kindergarten Information

Click here for the Orientation Slide Show presented at a Zoom meeting held January 6, 2022

Kindergarten Registration at Catchment Schools - January 2022 

Children born in 2017 are eligible to register for Kindergarten at your neighbourhood school.

Please click to read more