Flag Half-Masting - In Recognition of the Kamloops Tragedy

In recognition of the discovery of at least 215 Indigenous children buried at a former residential school near Kamloops, all Canada and BC flags will be lowered to half-mast until Mon July 12, 2021.


COVID-19 Updates


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



Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you are well aware, the provincial government announced that all in-class instruction in BC schools was suspended indefinitely as of March 17th. Since that announcement, we have been in our 2-week Spring Break. Our district team in Saanich Schools has been busy working to provide your children with a ‘Continuity of Learning’ plan for the immediate future. I know that you have many questions. While there is still much to determine, I hope that this letter provides some answers for you.

Continuity of Learning Plan

We continue our work on developing a plan to support students as we make this transition to a virtual learning environment. At this time, we do not know how long the provincial government will suspend in-person instruction, but I anticipate it will be for a considerable time as the COVID-19 virus continues through our province. While our learning plan continues to take shape, what I can tell you that it will focus on the following:

  • core curriculum learning objectives;
  • a reasonable amount of time for each child to work on their learning every week;
  • a limit to the amount of technology or materials being required at home; and
  • enhancing access for teachers to a variety of e-resources to aid them in their lesson delivery

Administrators and teachers will begin reaching out to students and families next week once we have had time to meet with teachers about our plans.

Effect on Student Progress

The provincial government announced last week that every student will receive a final mark for this year, some graduation assessments were being postponed and students would be able to progress to the next grade level, or graduate, as usual at the end of this school year. 

It is important to remember that virtually every education system around the world is affected by this health crisis. We are not alone in the changes and challenges we are seeing at this time. Things like graduation ceremonies and other time-honoured traditions are presently on ‘hold’ as we wait to determine how this will unfold for us this spring.

Accessing the School

School administrators will let families know next week when students will be able to enter their school to obtain any materials they may require. Students were instructed to take as much home as possible before Spring Break, so we anticipate this need to be minimal. We are working to ensure that we have a ‘physical distancing’ plan that fits each unique school environment before allowing students into the schools to obtain any items from their desks or lockers.

Moving Forward

Undoubtedly, there will be bumps along the way as we settle into a new normal. However, as a collective district we have the skills, fortitude and desire to tackle the task ahead of us. As a district, we take enormous pride in not only providing an outstanding education to your children, but being that community hub – that gathering place where we come together to celebrate. And while we are currently in a place where most of those activities are changed or postponed, we are determined to provide your children with as robust an educational experience as possible.

Future Communication

We continue to post new updates on our district webpage (www.sd63.bc.ca/COVID-19), so I encourage you to visit it regularly. I will also be providing system-wide email updates to our community on a regular basis. However, you will now also begin to hear from your school principal as we return after Spring Break with updates specific to your school community.

We are all in this together! Thank you for your understanding and your patience during this unprecedented time.

Dave Eberwein
Superintendent of Schools


New Provincial Government Website and Phone Service for Parents (Mar 21, 2020)

A new government website has been launched with up-to-date non-clinical information on COVID-19. British Columbians can also use the new provincial phone service by calling 1-888-COVID19, available seven days a week from 7:30AM to 8PM, with information in over 110 languages.  


Saanich School District Playgrounds are now CLOSED (Mar 20, 2020)

Due to the increased need to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus, all Saanich Schools playgrounds will now be CLOSED until further notice. The field areas around the schools are still open at this time, but we ask the public to please respect the 'social distancing' requirements outlined by the Provincial Health Officer.  Signage will be posted in the near future. Thank you for your understanding.  


Community Use Suspended

All community use of Saanich Schools sites is currently suspended.  Please contact the community use office for further details: Phone: (250) 652-7342 Email:  Emergency Phone: (250) 514-7461



Dear Parents/Guardians,

Thank you, again, for your ongoing support as we continue to work through the consistently evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The implications continue to unfold in our district with today’s press briefing by PremierHorgan, Education Minister Fleming and Finance Minister James.

Today at noon, the provincial government announced that all in-class instruction in BC schools will be suspended indefinitely. Very few details were provided. The government did indicate that they will be working with school districts to plan for the maintenance of some level of educational service, a promise that every student will receive a final mark for this year, some graduation assessments were being postponed and students would be able to progress to the next grade level, or graduate, as usual at the end of this school year. I expect a more formal announcement from the provincial government to come out either later today or tomorrow. I recognize that this announcement creates a tremendous number of questions. What does this suspension of in-class instruction mean for our students, our school and district staff, families, and our community as a whole? It is obvious that one question leads to another.

We have already been working behind the scenes to anticipate a number of possible scenarios. As we now liaise with the government over the implications of their announcement on school districts, we will have a better idea of what this means for Saanich Schools families over the next few days and weeks. We are fortunate to have strong connections with other BC school districts, as well as with the Ministry of Education – sharing ideas, information and resources to make this transition to a temporary ‘new normal’ as smooth as possible. Undoubtedly, there will be bumps along the way. However, as a collective district, we have the skills, fortitude and professionalism to tackle the task ahead of us.

I want to reassure you that we have been, and are continuing to work as diligently as possible to best support our students, staff and families during this changing scenario. United and collaboratively we will find our pathway forward. My commitment to you is to share information in a timely fashion as well as to post it on our district website.

This is, indeed, an unprecedented time. We are living in a world when today doesn’t look like yesterday – where one day does not lead into the same pattern the next day. Having said that, we are also living in a community that is taking extraordinary measures to keep us informed and safe.

Thank you, again, for your understanding during this challenging time.


Dave Eberwein
Superintendent of Schools