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.

We got this

A Message from the Superintendent – Saanich Schools Re-Start (Aug 21 2020)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Thank you for your continuing support.  And while I know that this is a challenging time for everyone – here and around the world – I am particularly thankful for the spirit of generosity and kindness that pervades our own community on the peninsula.  We have accomplished some amazing things over these past few months and I am confident that we will continue to have an outstanding educational program for your children as we enter this new school year. 

This email is meant to provide you with some specific information about the upcoming year. 

Health & Safety

Dr. Bonnie Henry and her team at the Provincial Health Office, and in conjunction with the BC Centre for Disease Control, have put together an enhanced safety plan that both supports an in-class instructional model for our children while also providing a safe learning environment.  There have been a number of refinements to the safety protocols that schools are expected to follow – things such as mask wearing, hand hygiene stations, air circulation in our buildings, cleaning protocols and physical distancing.  An informative website to review these enhanced safety topics is BC’s Back to School Plan where you will see theses topics, and others, explored in greater detail.

Further guidelines can be found at the following websites:

Student Cohorts / Learning Groups

A significant part of the new Stage 2 Education Re-Start Plan is the introduction of Student Cohorts or Learning Groups.  In essence, they are groups of students and staff who stay together for a significant portion of the year.  Cohorts were developed because schools are controlled spaces with known occupants.  Dr. Henry has developed many different plans for other scenarios such as grocery stores, beaches and restaurants -- all of these have uncontrolled populations either in-part or in their entirety.  Schools, on the other hand, have a restricted or controlled population -- we know everyone in the building.  As Dr. Henry has pointed out, this makes a considerable difference in the planning for how the occupants of schools can be together.  The cohort model has been implemented because Dr. Henry has stated that it is sustainable, safe and manageable -- from both an educational perspective and a community health perspective.

These cohorts allow for students to be with a defined group of students within a classroom setting or other learning space.  The creation of cohorts comes with the need to potentially adjust school schedules and daily breaks, to limit cohort interactions:

Elementary Schools (Cohort size = 60)

  • At the elementary level, we anticipate very few changes to the current organization of classes with students remaining in their assigned classroom for instructional time. 
  • Recess breaks/lunch will be somewhat staggered to allow for greater distancing between cohorts. 

Middle Schools (Cohort size = 60)

  • We anticipate limited changes at the middle school level with students spending the bulk of their day with their main class.
  • Students will continue to participate in elective classes (including band) and physical education. If there are cohorts that need to share the space, physical distancing or PPE may be required.

Secondary Schools (Cohort size = 120)

  • High schools will be reorganizing into a system known as a Copernican schedule, where only two courses are taught over a ten week period.  After these 10 weeks a new set of 2 courses will be taught.  This pattern could repeat itself in the second semester if required.
  • Cohorts will be organized based on a combination of individual grades, grouping grades (e.g. Gr 9/10), combining courses which are required, or courses which are similar in nature.
  • Some separate elective courses that cannot be effectively put into cohorts may be offered outside of this model by providing instruction through physical distancing, the wearing of PPE, or perhaps in a blended or remote learning situation.
  • While the Copernican model will be the foundational structure for planning and rescheduling, each secondary school may organize differently depending on their size, course offerings and timetabling complexities.

Schools are still finalizing schedules, timetables and other details.  You can expect more information on changes at your child’s school to be communicated the week before school opening. 

Options to In-class Learning

Some parents have enquired about the option of Home Schooling or DL (Distance Learning) for their children.  Specific information on these options can be found on the Ministry of Education website to help you make an informed decision.  Should parents / guardians decide to not have their children return to our schools this fall, it is important that you communicate this to your child’s school by August 28th so that we can effectively plan for our regular opening.  Thank you.

Schools are funded and staffed based on the students who will be attending them.  At this time, should you decide that your child/children will not attend in September, we will work to maintain capacity in your child’s assigned classroom, program of choice, or neighbourhood school.  However, due to the current limitations on funding and staffing levels, we are unable to necessarily guarantee a specific placement if you request a return to in-class instruction.  As we work to maintain consistency in our Student Cohort populations, we will look to schedule new students into our schools during natural breaks such as course / semester changes or major school holidays during the year. 

Moving Ahead

We have been working diligently this summer to provide your children with an environment this fall that is enriching, welcoming and safe.  I know how important it is to have such an environment, and even more so in our current climate.  We will be providing more information for you next week, once we have our final plan approved by the provincial government.  It will be posted on our district website along with all of our previous communication with you.  Information specific to your child’s school, including student schedules and any specific accommodations that might be necessary, will be communicated with parents during the next two weeks.

We will be ready for your children when they return in September.  We look forward to welcoming them back to school. 

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools


School Re-Start Update – A Message from Dave Eberwein, Superintendent of Schools (July 31, 2020)

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: 

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. 

            BC’s School Re-Start Plan:

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: 

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,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent of Schools


Student and Parent Survey Results

Thank you for taking the time to complete the Parent and Student Surveys. You can view a summary of the themes resulting from feedback here.

Annual General Meetings

The Annual General Meetings for the School District 63 Business Company and its two subsidiary companies, Saanich International Student Recruiting Services Inc. and Saanich International Distributed Learning Services Inc., will be held on Thursday, August 27th, 2020 at 4:00 pm at School District 63 School Board Office, 2125 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton, B.C.

Grad 2020 - Trailers, Times, and Info

Saanich Schools, in association with Roll Focus and Shaw Cable, is proud to announce the viewing dates for the upcoming Virtual Graduation Ceremonies, celebrating the achievements of our Class of 2020!

For times, and how to access:

More info:


A Message from the Superintendent to all Parents and Guardians (June 23, 2020)

Dear parents / guardians,

First of all, I want to express my sincere thank-you to the parents and guardians of students in our district.  This has been an extraordinary school year and one that we wouldn’t have been able to get through to this point without your support and understanding.  To say this year has been unprecedented would be an understatement.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to make significant transitions in our lives.  The delivery of education was no different.  We made several significant transitions this year into new teaching and learning realities.  And while it has been an incredible year of challenges and growth, I know that our success has been rooted in the relationships we have and the importance we place on people.  I am particularly proud of our staff who have accomplished some amazing things in a relatively short period of time. 


September 2020

Like every spring, we continue to plan for next September.  What is different this spring is the uncertainty of what the teaching and learning will look like after Labour Day.  Today’s email will hopefully provide you with a glimpse into what we know so far and what might be possible when we return to classes again in September.

I thought it might be helpful to provide a very quick overview of the province’s 5-stage Education Re-start Plan.  Below is a brief outline of where we’ve been and where we may be heading:

BC’s Restart Plan – Educational Stages



Stage 1

Full in-class instruction (regular school)

Possibly in September 2020

Stage 2

Mostly in-class instruction / some remote learning

Possibly in September 2020

Stage 3 (our current stage)

40% in-class instruction (Elementary)

20% in-class instruction (Middle / Secondary)

June 2020

Possibly in September 2020

Stage 4

Full remote learning

ESW support program / vulnerable student program

April & May 2020

Possibly in September 2020

Stage 5

Full remote learning (no in-class instruction)

March 17th – March 31st

Possibly in September 2020

If you would like to review the province’s plan in detail, you can find a more complete description of the 5 Stage Education Restart Plan on the Ministry of Education website.

The provincial government will make the decision on the stage for September later this summer.  And while we do not yet know which stage that will be, the likelihood is that it will either be Stage 1 (full in-school learning), Stage 2 or Stage 3 (where we are today).  We anticipate a general announcement from government some time before the end of June with more specific information in the last half of August. 

We anticipate the update in August to have specifics around:

  • The amount of in-class instruction (and remote learning) that will mandated
  • Enhanced operational guidelines for school districts
  • Updated Health & Safety recommendations
  • Additional resources for parents and teaching staff

One of the most important factors taken into consideration by the government is the health and safety of our students and staff.  No matter which stage we will find ourselves in come September, I can assure you that we will continue to put forth our best efforts to provide your children with the education they need and deserve. 


Continuing Uncertainty

These continue to be uncertain times.  With uncertainty often comes anxiety about not being able to predict things.  I understand that feeling. 

We have been working through this uncertainty as a school district as well as a broader community for the past several months.  There have been a lot of questions as we’ve moved forward including such things as teaching and learning platforms, student assessment and reporting, technology access and how we can help support various community issues such as food security.  As a district, we approached each challenge with determination and put an action plan into place.  And while we can always do better, we also accomplished a tremendous amount in a relatively short period of time with many people contributing along the way.  I am very proud of our team and how they stepped up to support you and your children.

We will do so again this summer and into the fall.    


Keeping You Informed

I will ensure that we keep you informed as more information becomes available to us.  Please remember to visit our district website (COVID-19 Updates) for the most recent information available.  You can also expect periodic updates by email.

And finally, I wish all of you a wonderful summer with family and friends.  I hope that you find time to rest as well as rejuvenate.  I look forward to our continuing journey together next fall.


Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools


A Message from the Superintendent - Remote Learning Survey (June 17-24, 2020)

Hello everyone,

As we round out this school year, we want to give our community an opportunity to provide us with feedback on the very unique circumstances we found ourselves in for these past three months.  We are asking staff, students and parents about their experiences with remote learning.  

As we prepare for September, we are also waiting for more details from the provincial government on our educational direction.  While we don’t know exactly what school will look like in September, we can prepare for possible scenarios including a full return to in-class instruction or a partial return with remote learning.

We have created a short survey for you to complete, which will provide us with feedback on the remote learning experience from this past spring so that we can learn from it and perhaps make some adjustments for the fall.

Feel free to answer only the questions that you are comfortable answering.  Your feedback is important to us.  We commit to sharing a summary of the themes through our district website once we have collected and reviewed them.

We continue to appreciate your support as we navigate these uncharted waters.

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools