COVID-19

COVID-19 Updates

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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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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Min of Education - June School Restart Sets the Stage for September (June 25, 2020)

June 25 - The Ministry of Education released a general update on preparations for September.  This release does not provide any information on the anticipated stage being implemented, but it does mention the plan over the summer to prepare for this decision later on.

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0034-001170 

A letter from the Minister of Education and the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is attached for your information.

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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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A Message from the Superintendent - Island Health Communication on Possible COVID-19 Exposures (Mar 29 2021)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

I was contacted late last night by the Vancouver Island COVID-19 Rapid Response Team about a letter they had crafted with Island Health for distribution to all parents and guardians on the island.  

The purpose of the attached letter is to remind parents and guardians of the importance of remaining vigilant in reducing possible exposures to COVID-19 and as well as doing daily health checks of your children before sending them to school.  You can use the COVID-19 Health Check App to determine if you or your child should stay home and be tested for the virus.  If your child is not feeling well please keep them at home and call 811 to speak with a health professional.  If necessary, COVID-19 testing appointments can be made by calling 1-844-901-8442 (8:30 am – 8:00 pm).

Thank you for your continuing efforts at helping to keep our community safe.  

Respectfully,
Dave Eberwein

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A Message from the Superintendent - Spring Break 2021 & Survey

Dear Parents / Guardians,

It seems almost unbelievable that it was a year ago since the pandemic was proclaimed and our school experiences changed dramatically.  One year later and I will say again that I am extremely proud of our staff, our students and our community as we found ways to overcome the challenges before us.  Thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we travelled this road together.  And while we are not yet out of the woods, we can begin to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. 

As we head into Spring Break I want to provide you with a few updates:

  • Spring Break (March 15th – 26th)
    • All neighbourhood schools (Elementary / Middle / Secondary) and Remote Learning will be closed during Spring Break
    • SIDES courses will remain ‘open’ in Brightspace for student access.  However, SIDES staff will be available again beginning the week of March 29th
    • Please make sure your children take home any personal belongings they may need during this time
  • Province-wide COVID Safety Protocols
    • Avoid non-essential travel where possible
    • Adhere to the PHO’s Order on Gatherings and Events – no social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or your core bubble
    • Follow the EPA Order on wearing masks in public indoor spaces
    • Updates can be found on the provincial website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions#restaurants-bars
    • Keep safe and enjoy Beautiful BC – go for a walk or hike, take a stroll along a beach or enjoy some time in your back yard
  • Parent/Guardian Survey – The 2020-2021 School Year in Reflection (March 11th – April 8th)
    • We have recently posted a survey for all staff, students and parents to gather feedback on your educational experiences this year
    • As we head into spring we are looking to hear from you – your thoughts on what has worked well and what was particularly challenging
    • Our goal is to learn from this year as we prepare for next fall
    • We hope that you can find a few minutes to share your thoughts with us: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/2020-2021-school-year-survey

Wishing all of you a wonderful Spring Break filled with family as you enjoy the glory of spring and its message of renewal.

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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A Message from the Superintendent – COVID-19 School Protocols Update (Feb 4, 2021)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

This morning the Minister of Education, the Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, and the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced changes to some safety protocols in our schools.  In their joint address, they re-emphasized that schools continue to be safe places where virus transmission remains very low throughout BC and where the provincial safety protocols already in place are working very well.  Dr. Henry stated that these changes to some safety protocols have been introduced to fine tune our practices to ensure that our learning and working spaces reflect the most current scientific understanding about the COVID-19 virus.

Provincial Announcement Topics:

  • Federal funding grant allocation in BC;
  • Updated non-medical mask requirements in schools;
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols for things like equipment and tools;
  • Money for regional health authorities to establish rapid response teams for school outbreaks;
  • Updated health and safety checklists for schools; and
  • A new mobile Health Check App that has been developed for students and their families (Parents and students are encouraged to download this app and use it daily -- see below)

With regard to mask requirements, students in middle and secondary schools are now expected to wear masks while in school except under the following situations: when at their personal desk or workspace, when eating or drinking, or when separated by a physical barrier of some kind.  Students unable to wear a mask due to health or other reasons are still permitted to not wear one.  For elementary students, wearing a mask remains a personal choice.   

Our district is committed to implementing provincial guidelines in a timely fashion and also communicate these changes to our staff, students and parent communities.  We will be updating our district Safety Plan to reflect these recent changes.  You can expect additional information to come out from the district or your child’s school over the next few weeks.

For further information about today’s provincial announcement please visit the following sites:

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work to provide your children with a safe, enriching and welcoming school environment.

Respectfully,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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