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.
- 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:
- Ministry of Education News Release (Feb 4, 2021): https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EDUC0011-000201
- BCCDC K-12 Schools and COVID-19 website: http://www.bccdc.ca/schools
- BC Health Check App: https://www.k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca/healthcheck?execution=e2s1
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work to provide your children with a safe, enriching and welcoming school environment.
Superintendent & CEO, Saanich Schools