COVID-19

COVID-19 Updates

A message from Chair Dunford

Dear Saanich Schools community,
 
We are all acutely aware of the many impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, both in our personal lives and our professional responsibilities.  The Board of Education is extremely appreciative of the efforts from our staff, students, parents/guardians and the broader community during these unprecedented times.  Our schools continue to be wonderful places of learning and growth for our students, primarily because of the efforts from everyone in our schools and district.  On behalf of the Board, I wish to express our sincere thanks for your efforts.  
 
At a recent meeting of the Board of Education, trustees passed a motion with regards to the importance of ensuring that everyone within our district who is able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination does so to help ensure a safe working and learning environment:

That the Board express its support for COVID-19 vaccinations, in accordance with public health recommendations and encourage all employees and eligible students to avail themselves of the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine, for the health and well-being of all in School District 63.

Thank you, to our entire Saanich Schools community, for your ongoing efforts as we work together to provide our students with an outstanding educational experience.
 
Sincerely,

Tim Dunford
Board Chair

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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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Updated Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings - A Message from the Superintendent (Oct 1 2021)

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you may have heard, the Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry) provided an update today to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings.  You can find the announcement HERE

Beginning on Mon Oct 4th, all students in B.C. schools will be required to wear a mask.  This measure builds on the existing guidelines that currently apply to students in Gr 4-12.  So, beginning on Monday students in K-Gr 3, like their peers in Gr 4-12, will now be required to wear a mask in classrooms, common areas and on the school bus.  If you have a child in K-Gr 3, we would ask that you provide them with a mask beginning on Monday.  However, we have been able to secure some disposable masks for young children and plan to have these available in our schools on Monday as well. 

Dr. Henry has emphasized that schools continue to be very safe places for children.  Transmission of the COVID-19 virus continues to primarily occur in the home or in social settings, not in schools.  This enhanced mask mandate is part of the continuing evolution of health measures designed to help reduce the potential for transmission.  The government has also indicated that beginning in October, the Provincial Health Office will be releasing a new monthly report that will provide British Columbians with current information about the virus and how it affects school-aged children.  You can expect the October report around the middle of the month.

Thank you for your ongoing support during this time of increased precautions in our schools.  We know that school is critical for children’s social-emotional health, and as such, we continue to place a high priority on both their safety and learning environment to ensure that we are providing an engaging and welcoming space.

Respectfully,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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Return to School Updates – A Message from the Superintendent (Aug 25 2021)

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.

Welcome Back

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.

 

Sincerely,

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools

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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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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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