Good afternoon Parents/Guardians,
I hope that you and your families have had an enjoyable summer. As you know, we are getting ready to receive your children in school after Labour Day. School offices are open next week as we make the final push towards Sept 7th. I want to take this opportunity to provide you with some information on a few items including health and safety as it pertains to the pandemic.
Full-Time In-Person Instruction
The Ministry of Education confirmed in their Tuesday media release that schools are returning to full-time in-person instruction this September.
Pandemic Health & Safety Protocols
Also announced on Tuesday were the updated operational guidelines for K-12 schools. Here are some of the highlights:
- As mandated by WorkSafeBC, a new Communicable Disease Program will replace our district’s Safety Plan. It will have many similarities to our current plan but will reflect any new measures being implemented in our schools. Ours will be available on our district website early next week.
- Regional Medical Health Officers will now have the authority to implement additional safety requirements at a regional, district or school level should that be required.
- All K-12 staff and students in Gr 4-12 are required to wear masks while indoors or on the school bus. K-Gr 3 students are encouraged to wear masks, but this remains the choice of the student and their family.
- General cleaning of the premises, and the cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces, will occur at least once in a 24-hour period.
- Staff and students (or their parents if appropriate) are to continue to do their own Daily Health Check and should remain home if they are not feeling well.
- Visitors will still be required to sign-in at the office or front counter to confirm that they are feeling well.
- Our ventilation systems will continue to use high-filtering MERV 13 filters as recommended. Ventilation performance will also continue to be monitored by our Facilities Department.
- School gatherings and events will now align with provincial/regional guidelines. The following activities will now be able to occur:
- School sports
- Extra-curricular activities & assemblies
- Theater and dance performances
- Staff gatherings and meetings
Additional guidance and information can be found in the Ministry of Education document: Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings.
Vaccination Update – From Island Health
Island Health MHO, Dr. Mike Benusic: “We are making great headway with youth vaccination rates on the Island and would like to get students and staff off to a great start with the school year with high immunization rates among eligible students and staff. We are sitting today at about 69% of youth 12-17 with at least 1 dose of vaccine, and vaccinating more every day.”
Please see the attached Information Sheet from Island Health on student vaccination.
We know that school is important for our students and our goal remains to provide an engaging learning environment while prioritizing appropriate health and safety measures. We are looking forward to a positive and safe year ahead and are excited to see our students again. See you after Labour Day.
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools