Dear Parents / Guardians,
As you have probably heard, the provincial government made an announcement on Wednesday about the planned re-start of school in the province.
Wed July 29th Provincial Media Release about School Re-start: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0040-001415
Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer, and the Hon. Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, made the announcement together where they focussed on the importance of health and safety as a primary driver in their plan. As a fundamental goal, we all recognize that students benefit greatly by being back in school. As more data about COVID-19 is gathered provincially, nationally and globally, revised guidelines continue to be developed around how best to move forward. Part of this evolution of protocols is the concept of students being able to work in defined cohorts or learning groups. Dr. Henry has implemented this new idea as one that is both safe and manageable.
In her announcement, Dr. Henry indicated that all students in Grades K-12 will be able to come back to school full-time in September in defined cohorts (learning groups) at each school level (i.e. Elem = 60 students; Middle = 60 students; Secondary = 120 students). Detailed information on the Re-start Plan, including a broader description of student cohorts, can be found on the Ministry of Education website.
As per the announcement on Wednesday, we anticipate schools opening in September within a revised Stage 2.
As a school district, we have already begun to have discussions on what this model will mean for our schools. District staff are beginning to explore ideas around how the cohort model may affect things like student scheduling. In addition, we are ensuring that any new requirements within the newly revised BCCDC health and safety guidelines are implemented in a timely fashion.
Updated BCCDC Health Guidelines for Schools: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID_public_guidance/Guidance-k-12-schools.pdf
We are fortunate that we have this initial news at the end of July so that we can continue to be thoughtful in our planning and communications as we move through this truly unique COVID-19 reality and its impact on our schools. Additional information is expected from the province in August.
Our Stage 2 Plan will be available Aug 26th on our website once it has been completed and reviewed by the Ministry of Education. Thank you for your continuing support and understanding as we work to ensure your children are both safe and receiving a strong educational program. You can expect further communication from our district and your child’s school in the weeks ahead.
Wishing you a wonderful rest of your summer,
Superintendent of Schools