Flag Half-Masting - Duke of Edinburgh

In acknowledgement of the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, all Canadian and BC flags in Saanich Schools will be flown at half-mast until the date of his funeral and memorial service


COVID-19 Updates

Returning to In-Class Instruction - Safety Protocols (May 25, 2020)

As we prepare to return to partial in-class instruction on June 1st we have been focussed on ensuring that our buildings continue to be safe places to work and learn.  As such, during this pandemic we have been taking our lead from both the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and WorkSafeBC (WSBC) which have created guidelines and expectations required for our sites.  You can find the protocols on their websites:


A Message from the Superintendent - Partial Return to In-School Instruction (May 22, 2020)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

I want to take this opportunity to thank our entire parent community for your ongoing support and understanding as we continue to work diligently to provide your child(ren) with the best possible learning experiences during this extraordinary time.  Your kind words of encouragement and thanks have been greatly appreciated.  As you know, on Friday May 15th the provincial government announced their plan to move BC into Phase 3 in the BC Restart Plan.  My email to you today is focussed on what that means for Saanich Schools beginning June 1st:

Student and Staff Safety

We continue to rely on the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), WorkSafe BC (WSBC), The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the Ministry of Education for the guidelines we use in the preparation of our schools and learning spaces.  One of the better pieces of news we have on the Island is that the level of COVID-19 infection here is very low.  The BCCDC data dashboard is an excellent resource to see the current data on COVID-19: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/a6f23959a8b14bfa989e3cda29297ded. Be sure to look for the data particular to Island Health.

Even with this very good news that our infection rate is extremely low,  our primary focus in our district continues to be providing a safe learning and working environment for all of our students and staff.  We have been working with our Health &Safety committees this week to ensure that all of our sites have protocols in place for your child(ren)’s potential return to school on June 1st.  Information specific to your child(ren)’s school will be shared with you by your school administration in the days ahead – things like performing health checks on your child(ren) and drop-off and pick-up instructions.  

In-school Learning Schedules

As of June 1st Saanich Schools will be implementing a part-time return to instruction in all of our schools.  Thank you for the parents who have submitted their responses to the survey sent out last week.  For some parents, we recognize that it may have been challenging to provide an answer without having a complete picture of the proposed schedule.  We appreciate your understanding that we required numbers to be able to build an appropriate program.

Here is the plan beginning June 1st:

  • Elementary Schools (K-5) – 2 days per week for students who are returning (50% density of students within the school)
    • Students will be assigned to one of two cohorts (Mon/Tues or Wed/Thurs) following their regular school schedule
    • Fridays will be reserved for teachers connecting with students remaining on remote learning
    • Children of Essential Service Workers will be returning to their home schools and will still be accommodated for the school week
  • Middle Schools (6-8) – 1 day per week for students who are returning (20% density of students within the school)
    • Students will be assigned to a cohort for one day per week following their regular school schedule
    • Fridays will be reserved for teachers connecting with students remaining on remote learning
  • Secondary Schools (9-12) – 1 day per week for students who are returning (20% density of students within the school)
    • Students will be assigned to a cohort for one day per week following their regular school schedule
    • Fridays will be reserved for teachers connecting with students remaining on remote learning

Vulnerable students will continue to be supported on a daily basis – this may be up to 5 days in-school depending on the student’s particular needs.  Your child’s school will be connecting with you to discuss how they may be best supported for the month of June.

Students will be initially sorted into their specific cohort by last name.  This is being done primarily to assist families who may have more than one child in a particular school so that their schedules are aligned.  Some exceptions to this can be expected as we work to ensure that other specific supports for students are available within the school.  You will be contacted by your child(ren)’s school no later than Wed May 27th with information on their specific cohort.  Please contact your school principal if you have not heard from them by the end of the day on May 27th.

Busing will be available for students on their regular schedules.  We will be ensuring that specific physical distancing guidelines for school buses provided by the province are being followed.

In-school Learning Program

A variety of learning experiences can be expected in your child’s school.  Some classrooms may have students working on certain equipment (e.g. shop classes), while others may be providing individualized support for concepts being learned in remote learning (e.g. mathematics, language arts).  As we transition into Phase 3 for the month of June we are looking to find a balance that supports both the remote learners and in-class support.  As per provincial guidelines, teachers are not expected to use this limited period of classroom learning to ‘catch up’ on all aspects of the curriculum that may not have been taught in remote learning.  This is an opportunity to focus on topics that may require additional support until the end of June.

Details around the end of June (including report cards) will be communicated in the weeks ahead.  Further updates from your child(ren)’s school (including your child’s specific cohort) will be coming out next week.  Thank you, again, for your ongoing support.  We are in this incredible adventure together and we have already made great strides.  We look forward to working with you during this next leg of the journey.


Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools


A Message from the Superintendent – Provincial Announcement on Phase 3 part-time In-class Instruction (May 15, 2020)

Dear Parents / Guardians,

Today the provincial government announced plans to move into Phase 3 of school re-opening.  This phase applies to all K-12 students in our schools.  Each level (Elementary, Middle and Secondary) have different guidelines applied to them beginning June 1, 2020.

Parents have the choice as to whether they send their children back to school part-time beginning June 1st.   To ensure that we have accurate numbers of students who will be participating in this option, we have created an on-line survey for you to inform us if you will be sending your children to school part-time.  It is requested that you complete a survey for each child who is enrolled in Saanich Schools.  There are three different surveys, one for each level (Elementary, Middle and Secondary).  

Please complete the survey(s) no later than Tuesday, May 19th at 9:00am.

Here is a link to the parent survey:  https://www.sd63.bc.ca/support-survey-complete

Once we know the number of students expected beginning the week of June 1st we will be able to build a schedule for everyone.  Exact schedules and options on bussing are not yet determined.  They will be communicated back to you no later than Friday, May 22nd.  

We are working closely with our staff to ensure a smooth integration into this new phase, and will be spending the next week finalizing these plans with the guidelines being provided to us.  At the forefront of our planning is ensuring the safety of everyone who enters our schools and buildings.  This includes specific health and safety protocols as per the guidelines being distributed by the Provincial Health Office.  

I would ask for your patience as we work through the guidelines to finalize school protocols and student schedules.  Should you have any specific questions about your child, please contact your school administrator.

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent of Schools 



Superintendent's COVID 19 Q&A - Grad 2020 Update

May 7, 2020 - Grad 2020 Update

Grade 12 students and parents,

This is an incredibly important time of year for you, our Grade 12 students, as we head into the commencement season. I have prepared a brief video message which outlines our district and school plans to celebrate this important milestone in your lives. This is the first of several messages to come about graduation. You can expect your school to be following up with you in the coming days.

We look forward to celebrating with you.

To ask Superintendent Dave Eberwein questions about Saanich School District's COVID-19 response and planning, please email

To view all previous videos, click here


A Message for Parents from the Superintendent (May 8, 2020)

Good morning parents,

Earlier this week, Premier Horgan announced a 4-phase plan to ‘Restart BC’— to return to a more familiar economic environment.  There was some preliminary information for what this may mean for BC’s public schools, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what we know so far.  BC’s Restart Plan has four distinct phases.  You can find the entire plan HERE if you are interested in reading the document.  

I’ve summarized the plan below for your information:

PHASE 1 - Where We Are Today

PHASE 2 - Mid-May Onwards

PHASE 3 - PHASE 3 – June to September (assuming virus transmission rates remain low)


As you can see from the above charts, changes to public schools are anticipated in PHASE 3 of the plan (June).  I want to stress that at this time, there is no definitive date for restarting in-class instruction nor any detailed specifics on that reintegration.  There is some anticipation that students in Grades K-5 may return part-time in some form and students in Grades 6-12 may also be able to access some classes as needed.  But, we are waiting for more information from the government in some important areas, including:

  • Any updated health and safety requirements for re-engaging more students in our schools (e.g. physical distancing, cleaning, the spacing between desks, handwashing, etc.)
  • Specific guidelines on what returning part-time in school may look like for our students including the option of continuing in remote learning

I want to reassure everyone that we will continue to put as our first priority the health and safety of our students and staff.  Nothing is more important than ensuring we are following the required expectations from the Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry) so that we can continue to provide your children with a safe, nurturing and productive learning environment.

I am incredibly proud of the work that our staff has done to provide an educational experience for your children during this tumultuous time.  I also want to thank all of you, our parent community, for your patience and understanding as we worked through this significant adjustment to teaching and learning.

I look forward to providing you with timely updates as we continue our journey through the months ahead together.


Dave Eberwein
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools



Dear Parents / Guardians;

First, I want to thank all of you for your continuing understanding and patience as we build the Saanich Schools continuity of learning plan behind the scenes.  Many people have been working very long hours building a solid foundation from which to launch our new remote learning reality.  The purpose of my email today, is to outline some of the district-wide updates that pertain to that plan as well as give you some other information that you might find helpful. 

Remote Learning

I have heard some people describe this new learning reality we are entering as “On-line Learning”.  We are not heading into an on-line learning environment, but instead are looking at teaching in a new emergency remote learning reality (A phrase I heard used by one of my colleagues).  We have been tasked with turning an entire education system on-a-dime to something that looks very different than it did before Spring Break.  It is going to take different forms for different learners and different teachers – not just because we have students who range from 5-19 years of age, but also because we have different courses, programs, learning styles and student needs.  Some teachers are already using webpages, blogs and other electronic teaching tools, whereas others have been using more traditional means.  As we move into this new normal, expect to see a variety of approaches being taken to provide your children with an educational program that addresses their academic and social-emotional needs in their grade, course or program.  It is definitely a work in progress – but a challenge that we are definitely ready to tackle.  The energy and enthusiasm from our staff is palpable. 

Contacting Students & Families

As we return from Spring Break, teachers have been meeting with each other and their administrators to plan their approaches to this new learning reality.  Teachers and administrators will also be reaching out to families this week to have a ‘check-in’.  You can expect that every family will have been contacted by the end of the week.

Remote Learning Resources for Parents

In Saanich Schools, we have been busy developing an electronic resource library for our educators, but we have also not forgotten about our parent community.  We realize that parents may not have the expertise, knowledge or time to provide extended assistance to their children as we begin this new journey into remote learning.  As such, we have selected multiple resources that parents can access in one convenient location – resources that are available to you at no cost, aligned with many curriculum goals and objectives, and readily available to help you explore new learning with your children. 

On our new webpage, you will find resources on such things as:

  • Social-emotional Learning
  • Online books and Audiobooks
  • Math, Coding and Computational Thinking
  • Physical Activity
  • Arts and Culture
  • Science
  • Information, Videos and Games
  • Additional Resources

You will also be able to see the multiple resources selected for teachers.  Many of these are subscription-based and available only to our staff – however, we wanted you to see the library that we have been collecting.  You can access the parent resource library at the following public website: https://learn.saanichschools.ca/ .  Once at the webpage, click on RESOURCES and then PARENT/GUARDIAN.   There is also a quick link at the bottom of the webpage.  We hope that you will find this curated list of resources useful as we know you are also wondering how you can help support your child’s learning.  The list is being regularly updated. 

The Ministry of Education has also launched a resource site for parents called Keep Learning – Suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep their children learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are some helpful ideas in this site as well.


A service provided by the United Way is now available to all BC families who have community-based questions about COVID-19.  Bc211 is a free, confidential help resource that connects people to local government and social services in our community – services like mental health supports, or income and financial assistance.  It’s available by calling or texting 2-1-1 or going online to bc211.ca.  This service is funded by United Way and is available 24/7, 365 days a year with phone service in over 160 different languages.

Provincial Government COVID-19 Website

The government has also launched a new website for parents that includes updates on COVID-19 and its impact on schools.  You can find it here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/program-management/safe-caring-and-orderly-schools

The Power of Why – My Blog Space

I have not been able to get to my professional blog (The Power of Why) as often as I have wanted to lately, but I did want to write on this current crisis we are confronting and what it means when you bring a team together in a time of crisis.  You can read my latest blog entry Sunshine in a Time of Crisis here: https://thepowerofwhy.ca/2020/03/31/sunshine-in-a-time-of-crisis/

Superintendent Q & A

I will be beginning a new Q & A section on our district webpage where parents, staff and students are able to write in to ask me questions about our new educational reality.  I am planning to select several of these questions and provide answers back approximately once or twice per week – likely in a video format.  Stay tuned for more information as we hope to launch it in the near future.

Thank You

Thank you for the kind wishes of support and understanding as we make this significant transformation in a very short period.  We are a community who cares for each other and will rally together in times of need.  I can feel the positive energy from our staff and from our community as we work to find our new normal.  As always, we continue to update our own district website with new information – be sure to check back regularly: https://www.sd63.bc.ca/ .

Together we’ve got this!

Dave Eberwein

Superintendent, Saanich Schools