Half-Masting of Flags

In recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Sept 30th) all Saanich Schools flags will be lowered to half-mast on the evening of Sept 29 and raised again the morning of Oct 1st.

Family Communication System Update

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We believe timely and clear communication is an important part of our relationship with families.  To date, district communication home has been through the provincial student information database emails, however, we are beginning the process of transitioning to a new tool that will be more effective in communicating with you.  The new platform is called School Messenger.   School Messenger is used by many school districts across BC to effectively communicate with parents and guardians – especially for critical announcements such as weather closures or school lockdowns.  One of its advantages is its ability to use text, email or phone calls to contact parents.

To ensure that the rollout of this new platform is as smooth as possible, we are looking to confirm your contact information – in particular, your email and phone numbers. 

Your child(ren) will be bringing home access codes to a demographic confirmation we will be sending out shortly.  These secure ‘tokens’ will allow you to log into an online Saanich Schools tool to view, confirm or update your contact information.  Please note, the provincial student information system stores more than one record if you have multiple children in the district.  Please sign in with the token for each child to confirm your information.

In addition to the secure token, you will be asked two ‘challenge questions’ to confirm your identity and relationship to the student which will permit you to access the demographic information.  These questions may include asking for the student’s Personal Health Number which we may have on file.  Information collected through these challenge questions is not being stored but only being used for comparison to the information we have on file.

Thank you for helping ensure that your contact information is accurate so that we can move forward with the implementation of the School Messenger communication tool.  We hope to send our first message through the system by the end of the school year, in anticipation of using it more fully throughout the 2021/2022 school year.

 

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent

A Message from the Superintendent - Saanich Schools Response to the Tragedy in Kamloops (May 30 2021)

Good afternoon parents/guardians,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this email to you today. 

The news from last Thursday of the discovery of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school near Kamloops is horrific as well as deeply emotional for many in our community and across Canada.  The tragedy of our country’s past injustices and unimaginable treatment of First Nations’ children and families is a stark reminder that we still have a long path ahead of us towards reconciliation.  It remains critical to continue to seek and share the Truth before any real Reconciliation is possible.

We are in communication with the local W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation to ensure that we are respectful in our acknowledgement and actions to this recent event. There will be staff, students and community members who are significantly impacted by this recent news and who will need support to navigate through things.  Ensuring that our actions are mindful of the traumatic nature of this event is critical.

Initial District Actions

  • All Canada and BC flags will be flown at half-mast from the morning of Mon May 31st to the evening of Fri June 4th

  • Staff and students are encouraged to wear ORANGE during the week of May 31st – June 4th

As a district, we are committed to ensuring that our responses are more than just wearing orange and lowering flags to half-mast.  We also have the obligation to commit to an educational focus in consultation with the local W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation community – one that responds not only to this tragic discovery, but also continues our moral obligation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. We are working with the Nation to produce educational resources that will allow students to engage in learning about this tragedy in ways that are trauma-informed, and age and culturally appropriate.  

Responding to Trauma

Each of us will be working through this tragedy in our own way.  Attached is a document from our provincial partner Safer Schools Together that you may find helpful with regards to recognizing trauma and helping your children who may be having some difficulty with this topic.

Additional Community Resources

The following is a list of resources and hotlines dedicated to supporting Indigenous people.

24/7 supports:

KUU-US Crisis Line  1-800-588-8717

Indian Residential School Survivors and Family  1-866-925-4419

Mon – Fri, 8am – 8 pm PT:

Weekends, 10 am – 2pm PT:

Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society  1-888-403-3123

Aboriginal Wellness Program  604-675-2551 or 1-866-884-0888

Canadian Mental Health Association - British Columbia Division  1-800-555-8222

HeretoHelp  1-800-661-2121

First Nations Health Authority – Mental Health Benefit  https://www.fnha.ca/benefits/mental-health

Métis Nation BC – Mental Health Services  https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/mental-health-substance-use/resources/kuu-us-crisis-line

Our district is a family who care deeply about each other and we will continue to do so through this very difficult time. 

Respectfully,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

A Message from the BCCDC – Children’s COVID Vaccination Program (May 21 2021)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has produced an information brochure for parents/guardians about the recently announced availability of COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 12-17. 

The following questions are answered:

  • Why should children get vaccinated?
  • What vaccine will children get?
  • How do we know this vaccine is safe?
  • Is getting a COVID19 vaccine the right choice?
  • Do children have to get vaccinated?
  • Do parents/guardians need to provide consent for their child to get vaccinated?
  • Where can children get vaccinated?
  • How do children get vaccinated?

You can find this brochure at the BCCDC website: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID-19_vaccine/Children_Vaccination.pdf

More information about COVID-19 vaccines can also be found at the following provincial sites:

BCCDC: Information on vaccine safety, getting a vaccine and FAQs

Immunize BC: Reliable immunization information and helpful tools

BC Government: Detailed information on how to get vaccinated in BC

HealthLink BC: Information on COVID-19 vaccines, available in 13 languages

If you have any medical questions please refer to your health care provider, contact 811 or use the HealthLink BC website listed above.

Sincerely,
Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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A Message from Island Health – COVID vaccinations (April 21 2021)

Effective, Friday, April 23rd, all young adults who are 18+ (born in 2003 or earlier) can REGISTER for a COVID-19 vaccine. Once registered, you will get a confirmation number that will be needed when you are contacted to book an appointment (this could be several weeks after you register). When your age group is able to book an appointment you will be contacted by text, phone or email - and will need to provide that confirmation number, so please take a photo of it, or flag it in your emails, so that it’s easy to find.

Registering now will allow you to get in the queue to be contacted, and helps Island Health make better estimates about how much vaccine we will require for your age group.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and protect against infection from the severe disease that can occur in people of all ages. The vaccines cause your body to produce antibodies that will help to protect you, and those around you who are not vaccinated or susceptible to infection, from getting sick if exposed to the virus. REGISTER NOW.

Read more about COVID vaccines and the registration process at the ImmunizeBC website

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Budget Consultation 2021/22

The Board of Education of the Saanich School District invites you to participate in and contribute to the formation of our budget for 2021/22. Public participation in this process is important for the Board's adoption of a budget that reflects the values, beliefs and priorities of the community.

The Board of Education is seeking your input through the completion of a survey and participation in a virtual Community Budget Meeting on April 15th at 7 pm. The survey will be the primary tool for gathering feedback and closes on April 22, 2021 (end of the day).  The attached background document provides information on the Saanich School District and the 2021/22 budget context and facilitates the completion of the survey by those who are unable to attend the virtual meeting.

The survey is available on our website at https://www.sd63.bc.ca/202122-budget-consultation-survey

To participate in the virtual Community Budget Meeting beginning at 7 pm on April 15th, please contact Leigh Glancie at  or 250-652-7300 to be included in the meeting invitation.

We look forward to your participation in this important process.

A Message from the Superintendent - COVID-19 Mask Protocol Update (Mar 31 2021)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

This email is an update to the one I sent out yesterday.  The Ministry of Education has now released updated guidelines for school districts which reflect Dr Henry’s amended, provincial health order from March 29, 2021.  These Ministry guidelines highlight specific adjustments that are required to our District Safety Plan which can be found HERE.  You can view the entire Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings report HERE.           

Key Provincial Updates – Guidance on Mask Requirements:

  • Staff Only Spaces (p.15)
  • Working with Students with Disabilities/Diverse Abilities (p.16)
  • School Gatherings and Events (p.17)
  • Student Transportation on Buses (p.18)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (p.28)
  • Music Programs (p.38)
  • Physical and Health Education/Outdoor Programs (p.38)
  • School Sports (p.41)
  • Theatre, Film & Dance Programs (p.44)

If you have any specific questions about your child please contact your school administrator directly.

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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A Message from the Superintendent – Mask Protocols (March 30 2021)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Yesterday, Dr. Bonnie Henry (PHO) amended the provincial health order for COVID-19 protocols.  The changes were in response to provincial COVID-19 case counts and the importance of breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission, especially in areas that are seeing significant spikes in numbers.  And while we have been fortunate to date here in Saanich to have very limited COVID-19 exposures, all school districts throughout the province will be updating their district Safety Plans.  Within these amendments are changes to the mask protocols for the K-12 education system. 

Updated Non-medical Mask Protocols

All K-12 schools in B.C. will now be required to implement the following mask protocols:

All staff and students (Grade 4-12) will be required to wear masks in schools both within and outside of their learning group, except when:

  • Sitting in (or standing at) their seat or desk/workstation in a classroom learning space;
  • There is a barrier in place;
  • Eating and drinking;
  • Outdoors.

All staff and students (Grade 4-12) are required to wear masks on school buses.  Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are recommended to wear masks within the guidelines above; however, this remains a personal choice of the parent/student.  Additional masks for students in Gr 4&5 are being provided to our elementary schools this week. 

Exceptions to the mask order will be made for students and staff members who cannot tolerate a mask for medical reasons.

When the new BCCDC and Ministry of Education guidelines are published we will be updating our district Safety Plan on our website.  Thank you for your support and cooperation as we continue to make adjustments to our safety protocols.  As always, your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Respectfully,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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