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.
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.
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.
Superintendent of Schools