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COVID-19: Resources & Support

Please see attached an important update from Rob Fleming, Minister of Education and Andrea Sinclair, President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

Superintendent’s Weekly Update May 28th, 2020

Dear Sunshine Coast families,

 I am so pleased to let you know that our schools are ready and safe for our students to return! British Columbia has been highly successful in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic to a degree that this a very good time for our students to come back to school. Staff have been trained on extensive health and safety protocols and our custodial staff ensure that all high touch points are regularly cleaned and sanitized. Our teachers will help students understand the new protocols as well as we move through the first week of our re-entry to in school learning. All of our school staffs are looking forward to welcoming their students with enthusiasm and delight. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from our staff how much they miss “their” kids!

Families who have chosen to not send their children in June will continue to receive support from their teachers and educational assistants. Please note that the time for our teachers to be as involved with remote learning as in the past will be reduced due to our teachers also working with students in their classrooms.

While we welcome many of our students back to their schools, our practices will also seem very odd to them. Here are some key differences:

  • Only students, school and district staff may enter the school,
  • Parents and other people will connect with our staff by phone, email, text, etc., rather than in person,
  • Parents may not send their children to school if they have any cold symptoms of any sort,
  • Classes will have no more than half as many students as before the pandemic,
  • Kindergarten to Grade five students will attend two days per week, older grades will attend one day per week. Your principal will let you know which days your child may come to school.
  • Transportation to and from school will resume but it will be different.
    • Parents who indicated that they were unable to make other arrangements on the recent survey will receive bus stop instructions and times by end of work tomorrow (Friday).
    • Physical distancing expectations on the buses will mean that not all students or previous arrangements can be accommodated.
    • Cross-boundary and students with courtesy status should contact Thirdwave at 604-885-1260 to inquire about service.
  • Basic movement in the school will be different with protocols for moving in the hallways, snack and lunch practices, use of the playground at breaks, minimal interaction with students in other classrooms and some changes to schedules within the day.
  • Should a child become ill during the school day they will need to be picked up right away.
  • Beginning June 1st, the children in the Essential Services Program will be accommodated for up to five days per week (if needed for working purposes) during school hours in their home schools. If required, please contact community providers for after school care.
  • Celebrations at the end of elementary will also look very different. Each school is doing this in a different way that ensures physical distancing and minimal or no family members physically present.
  • Grade 12 graduations will be virtual and will be broadcast at the end of June when the in-school ceremonies would have normally taken place.
  • It is possible for parents who have elected to not send their children at this time to decide later in the month that they would like their children to attend school. However, in order to make the accommodations necessary for safety protocol reasons, the school may require up to a week to ensure everyone’s safety. Please connect with your school principal for further information.

As I shared last week, education in our schools this June will focus on our students reconnecting with their peers and staff and learning how to enjoy their community and activities in a physically distanced way.  We will support students’ social, emotional and mental well-being and also continue to learn and practice literacy, numeracy skills and reflect on the Core Competencies. Secondary schools will have a similar focus and with more of a subject based offering to complement at-home work.

Continuation of Learning:

  • Teachers will have less time to support students learning from home, but they are dedicated to continuing in a less involved way the very successful approaches that they have created in the last two months.
  • This page has digital learning and support links that we have reviewed and are appropriate for our students. This will be regularly updated.
  • The Ministry of Education has many more resources available as well: https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/

Communication:

  • If you have questions or comments about your child’s learning, please contact your child’s teacher. If the matter is more school related, please connect with your child’s principal. If the matter is more related to the direction of the district, please email me. If you don’t know who to talk to, contact any of us. We are here to help.
  • All contact information is available on this site.

Thank you once again for your partnership, patience and care as we move through this rapidly changing story together.

Sincerely,

Patrick

Patrick Bocking  

Superintendent of Schools

School District 46 – Sunshine Coast

Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Resource for COVID-19 is another valuable new resource for families.

Introducing Foundry’s Virtual Services!

Foundry is working to make sure all young people in British Columbia can get the care and support they need, when they need it. They are now offering virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat to young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers!

Foundry’s virtual service offerings will expand over the weeks and months ahead to include primary care and peer support.

EASE at Home (for Parents and Caregivers)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EASE classroom activities were adapted for use at home by parents and caregivers to support children’s mental health and continuous learning.

These fun and practical strategies help guide parents and caregivers in managing their children’s anxiety and worries in the comfort of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/ease

Families Staying Active

Canadian kids need active bodies to build their best brains. In order for them to reach their full mental, emotional and intellectual potential, their bodies have to move to get the wheels in their brains turning!

This ParticipACTION App has great ideas for home activities content for the whole family!

Guided Meditations and Mindfulness from BC Children’s Hospital – Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre:

Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways, and can be done at almost any time. Dr. Dzung Vo and Dr. Jake Locke from BC Children’s Hospital have recorded some of the mindfulness meditations that they use in the mindfulness groups they offer at BC Children’s Hospital. Feel free to download these recordings and listen to them from your computer or mobile device.

Sunshine Coast Community Task Force:

The volunteer task force will try to help community members to connect with the organizations who are responding to the special needs arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Sunshine Coast Community Task force is a team of dedicated volunteer and community organizations working together to connect the people and the resources they need during the current crisis.

Contact us at:

Phone: 1-866-212-5025 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – Mon-Fri

Email: scctaskforce@gmail.com

Website: scctaskforce.com

Supporting Families and Children During the Covid-19 Outbreak:

Uncertainty is hard for most people, yet there are simple and practical ways to cope with even the most difficult situations.  Research shows that coping with stress builds resilience and can make us stronger.  People in our community and around the world are helping each other, working together, showing kindness, and trying to be creative in addressing the problems we are facing.

Here are some ways to help yourself and your family during this time:

  • Self-Compassion – Fear is a natural response to a pandemic such as this. Try to be kind to yourself if you are feeling more worried or anxious than usual.
  • Self-Care – It remains important to engage in healthy and relaxing activities that you enjoy. Consider a wide variety of fun, intellectually stimulating, and physically active options such as reading for professional growth or leisure, cooking, practicing yoga, exercising, meditating, and spending time in nature.
  • Connection – Stay connected with family and friends through virtual visits.
  • Routines – Keeping similar routines and developing healthy new routines helps provide predictability and a sense of safety for you and your family.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be a very stressful and frightening time for our children.  While it is important to remember that fear and anxiety about disease is normal, excessive worry is not.  There are many things we can do as parents to support our children during these extraordinary times.  When talking to our children about the current situation, a solutions-focussed approach is helpful.

Things to keep in mind when having discussions with children include:

  • Many individuals and organizations (governments, doctors, nurses, schools etc.) are helping during the current situation.
  • It will get better.
  • Life will return to normal.
  • Let’s focus on caring for our family, friends, and community.
  • Positive Focus – Try to shift the dialogue away from the negative and toward what we can be grateful for in this time.
  • Talk and Listen and Model – Take the time to talk to your child or teen about COVID-19 in an age-appropriate way. Reassure your child or teen that they are safe, and share your own strategies for coping with stress.  Model for them how to be resilient and health.

Supporting All Children and Youth

  • Routines are important and can help to create a sense of predictability and security.
    • Some examples of routines include scheduling daily academic time, outdoor activities, and family time.
  • Focus on the moment. Mindful breathing is very helpful.
  • Model calmness, routine, and a focus on family and friends.
  • It is appropriate to provide a fact-based discussion on the changing landscape of COVID-19. This discussion should be done in a calm and reassuring tone conveying the message that we are safe.  We take precautions, but we are safe.  Listen, provide age-appropriate information and focus on prevention (frequent hand-washing, social distancing etc.).
  • Focus on the positive and encourage children to do the same. Rather than feeling stuck inside, for example, see it as an opportunity to focus on family and home.

Supporting Older Students

  • Limit social media and news consumption. Create a window of time to check the news together rather than watching it all day.
  • Consult accurate information from reliable sources
  • Limit exposure to the news;
    • Watching news that repeatedly emphasizes both the rapid spread of coronavirus and lack of effective treatment makes people feel anxious and dis-empowered. Anxious thoughts include those that suggest the worst case scenario and our inability to cope with that.  This news coverage feeds that faulty thinking.
  • Moderate the amount of gaming time.
  • Eat as nutritiously as is possible. Make balanced meals you can prepare together.
  • Try to ensure older students are getting enough sleep (sleepfoundation.org).

Supporting Younger Students

  • Younger students may show their stress in different ways, for example: crying, irritation, ‘acting out,’ reduced attention and concentration, regression to an earlier are such as bed-wetting, and ceasing activities that they previously enjoyed.
  • Here are some strategies to help reduce stress in younger students:
    • More time with trusted adults
    • Increased play time, inside and out (if possible)
    • Routines
    • Quiet times to read books, listen to music, do puzzles, and play board games
    • Adequate sleep

Mental Health

  • Children, teens or adults who have mental illness or addiction should continue to seek support.
  • Many counsellors are continuing their work on the phone or online.
  • Local supports in the community are ongoing, but support may look different. (see below for phone numbers)
  • There are helplines and online tools and apps (please see below for a few ideas).
  • Have a safety plan and ensure that youth and children know they are not alone.

Phone Numbers/Crisis Resources:

Local Information:  

Mental Health Resources for Children and Youth are available during this time. Supports may look different, but they are still working to support families and children with mental health during this unprecedented time.  Please use the links below for local resources and contact information.

Sunshine Coast Youth Resources

Children and Youth Mental Health Resources for Sunshine Coast

Provincial Resources:

Apps (Click on Hyperlink below):

Supportive Resources – websites, apps, helplines and other phone numbers

Please click on the Hyperlink Below

Learning takes place everywhere and in every ‘task’!

Please review the SD46 Elementary Framework of Learning which outlines recommended priorities and timelines for our K to 7 students during the suspension of in school classes. Each teacher will have their own way of supporting their students during this time and they will connect with you about the learning program.

An Elementary Student Schedule may include:

  • Reading (books, magazines, online stories)
  • Numeracy (baking, cards, patterning)
  • Creating (growing plants, music, arts)
  • Movement (run, play outside, walk the dog, yoga)
  • Service (help with siblings, household tasks)

 

At the Secondary School Level, there is an expectation of continued learning in the student’s curricular areas. We also encourage you to include movement, exploration and service to others in your daily schedule.  

 

 

 

Digital Learning Resources 

SD46 Student’s Digital Responsibility Guidelines & Guidelines for Virtual Classrooms and Video Conferencing

See vetted resources below!

You can also look at the Ministry of Education Open schools site for Activities and Resources changing daily!

Website

Description

 

Grade/Content Area

 

Additional Info

 

AudibleAmazon’s audio-book collectionGrades K-12Free with no account necessary at this time
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)Curio.ca is an educational streaming platform.Grades K-12All subjects; strongest for Social Studies, Science, Current Events, French
 Code.orgComputer Science LearningGrades K-12Parents will be asked to create an account if coding projects are to be saved
Covid-19 LearningActivities and learning from the Ministry of EducationGrades K-12Includes from Scholastic Teaching Our World: The Coronavirus
Crabtree Digital LibraryDigital books with a focus on non-fiction, including science, sports, and social justiceGrades 2-8Just login with
Username: read
; Password: free
Gibsons Public LibraryAccess to all library resources with free card applications here for the entire coast!Grades K-12Click on Line Resources
EpicLiteracy & Numeracy books/novelsGrades K-9Most teachers already have accounts set up and can now share with families to use at home. Check with your teacher!
ERACFocused educational resources we are licensed to use in schools

Grades K-12

Includes World Book Early Learning Kids & Students

ERAC Access from home requires login information:

Username: 46SBO

Password: 46sd46

IXL LearningMath & English Language ArtsGrades K-12District license for Math & language Arts. Students will be given a code by their teacher.
Khan AcademyLearning opportunities on any subjectGrades K-12Parents can create a free account for their child or may be given a code by their teacher
Lets talk ScienceScience Experiments and STEM projectsGrades K-12Free learning opportunities for all ages
MediasmartsCanadian digital and media literacyGrades K-12Resources for teachers and parents
Nelson TextbooksNelson Textbooks open for access to all studentsGrads 3-12Follow instructions on home page
Northern Spotted Owl WebcamThe Northern Spotted Owl is one of our Endangered speciesGrads K-12Live webcam of the owl nest
ProdigyMath practice in a game formatGrades 1-8Requires a class code from your child’s teacher to login
RAZ-KidsLeveled reading practice for childrenGrades K-5Requires a class code from your child’s teacher to login
Scholastic Learn at HomeFree resource chock full of exciting articles, stories, videos, and fun learning challengesGrades K-12Activities in reading, math, Digital Citizenship and STEM
Science WorldLocal learning Activities for all areasGrades K-12While closed, they offer many online activities to explore!
Storyline Online Videos of picture books being read aloud by guest readersGrades K-5 
Sunshine Coast MuseumOnline educational portal for all of our historical resources called Sunshine Coast Museum at Home.Grades 2-12This includes photos, audio, video, virtual tour and historical quizzes. Fantastic opportunity for local learning
Tumblebooks  Literacy & Numeracy books/novelsGrades K-12Free access through this link to Sechelt Public Library. No sign in required.
Unite for Literacy Digital Books under many topic areasGrades 1-6Text can be read aloud in many different languages
WESchools@HomeRecommended resource for our social/emotional learningGrades K-12Sign up for a free account, access to daily virtual lessons
Vancouver AquariumLocal learning Activities for all areaGrades K-12While closed, they offer many online activities to explore!

If you have any questions on the setup of technology for distant learning for your child please send an email to: parenthelp@sd46.bc.ca. We will get back to you as quick as we can.

For younger children, the SD46 StrongStart team posts story time videos on the SD46 Early Learning Facebook page. Also, join a virtual Zoom StrongStart session!

Online Safety During COVID-19

With school closures due to COVID-19, children who are at home will potentially have more unrestricted time online. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its program Cybertip.ca, is urging families to have conversations about internet safety and to work together to implement strategies that ensures everyone’s digital well-being.

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS BE AWARE OF?

  • Your child may want to spend increased time connecting with friends by live streaming or video chatting. Talk to your child about the ease by which screengrabs and video recordings from live streams or video chats can be saved and used against tweens to embarrass or harm them, even by people they know. Be mindful that some live stream apps/platforms feature private messaging where anyone can direct message your child. To learn more about the risks of live streaming and ways to safeguard kids, visit protectkidsonline.ca/live.
  • Online gaming is another way your child may want to connect with friends and pass the time. Like live streaming, gaming platforms can open kids up to receiving chats or private messages from people they don’t know in real life. For example, Cybertip.ca released an alert regarding the popular multi-player website Roblox after receiving reports concerning requests to meet up in person, and/or sexually suggestive chat messages being sent to children under the age of 12 within the game. For more information on online gaming concerns, and what you can do, read the blog Glitching Out on ProtectKidsOnline.ca.
  • TikTok is a hugely popular app for tweens and teens, and they may want to spend more time creating and posting content. Teens may be tempted to take risks or act explicitly to get more followers or likes on a video. This can also be heightened by TikTok challenges, which are created by TikTok and the community itself. While most are just silly viral trends or marketing schemes, some can be dangerous. Read more about TikTok and how to keep tweens/teen safe while using it here: A Quick Guide to TikTok
  • In the past two years, Cybertip.ca analysts have classified 600 reports as luring — adults communicating online with a child for a sexual purpose — through a variety of apps and services such as Facebook/Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, KIK, and online gaming platforms. Learn more about the ways in which offenders attempt to gain access to children online by visiting cybertip.ca/grooming.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

  1. Have regular conversations about online safety. This includes talking about the online games your kids are playing, the apps they’re using, and who they are chatting with. For tips on how to get the discussion started, visit protectkidsonline.ca for age-appropriate ideas.
  2. Set the expectation you will monitor your child’s online activities, and work together to establish guidelines around texting, social media, live streaming, and gaming, such as who your child can do these things with and on what apps.
  3. Become familiar with, or revisit the parental controls on computers, phones, and tablets. Some devices allow parents to limit access to specific apps, social media sites, internet content, and features available within the device. 
  4. For younger children, help them create their login, password, and profile information ensuring it is set to private. For tweens and teens, know their username/character name and password, as well as the email address used to sign up for apps/games/social accounts.
  5. Help tweens/teens set up privacy settings in apps/games/social accounts. With a private account, users can approve or deny followers/friends, restrict who can view their content and profile information, and limit incoming messages to followers/friends only. Work together to decide who to accept as followers/friends.
  6. Tell your child that if they come across something or someone while chatting/messaging/texting that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can tell you without fear of getting in trouble or losing online privileges. Remind them that their safety is what is most important to you. 
  7. If you see, read, or hear anything sexual from an adult towards your child online, report it to Cybertip.ca.

*Information gathered from The Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

SD46 Student’s Digital Responsibility Guidelines & Guidelines for Virtual Classrooms and Video Conferencing

If you have a question not answered here, please email us at questions@sd46.bc.ca. We will update this tab with questions and answers as we navigate this new territory together. 

  • What is the status of in-class instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic?

      • Schools across British Columbia will be inviting students to return to part time and optional learning beginning the week of June 1st.  Kindergarten to Grade 5 students will be invited to attend two days each week, while students in the older grades will be invited to attend for the equivalent of one day/ week. Students whose parents prefer that they not attend school in June will continue to be supported by teachers. Please note in particular that after spring break teachers have been working full time on supporting remote learning. Under Stage 3, teachers will be working much more in school and have significantly less time to support home-based learning.

      • Our schools will provide a joyful, active and productive learning environment for our students! We are actively working together on practical solutions for having up to 50% of our students in schools at any one time. The Ministry of Education and WorkSafeBC have provided important guidelines which we will implement to do our best to ensure that our students and staff are safe and healthy.

  •  What are the priorities of the district during the Coronovirus Pandemic?
    • Our Four Priorities during the Coronavirus Pandemic are, in order:
      • Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students and families, and all employees.
      • Provide services to support the children of essential workers.
      • Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
      • Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.

  • What is the BC restart plan?

    • School districts follow the direction of the Provincial Medical Officer of Health. When she believes that the safety of British Columbians is best served by students returning to schools she will direct us accordingly.
    • Premier Horgan announced a BC Restart Plan to return our province to a more prosperous and less restrictive “new normal”.  The Plan covers many angles for provincial functioning, but I will focus on the emerging educational guidelines.

      The government states:

      Reopening our Schools

      • As COVID-19 spread, governments everywhere took action to reduce in the classroom learning.
      • For most British Columbians with young children, this meant having to stay at home to look after their kids. While many workplaces have made work-from-home accommodations, that hasn’t been an option for everyone.
      • Our schools and educators rose to the challenge with online instruction and resources to keep our kids learning, but this placed a heavy burden on parents to support their kids as they learned at home.
      • We know there is no substitute for in-class instruction — and an important step toward our recovery is getting kids back into the classroom, so parents can get back into the workplace.
      • Initial health data indicates children are less affected than adults by the COVID-19 virus. Public health staff and officials will continue to review the health data. And the Ministry of Education and school divisions all around B.C. are reviewing options to allow for a safe return to school.
      • An announcement on a phased approach to resuming in-class instruction will be made in the coming weeks.
      • This will not be a return to normal. With weeks left in the school year, we anticipate many kids will not return to the classroom until September.
      • But we are also exploring ways to safely get some kids back to school before the summer, to allow more parents to return to work. How these changes unfold are the focus of intensive discussion among Ministry of Education officials, school trustees, the BC Teachers’ Federation, CUPE, and other education sector partners.
  • What if I have questions on the setup of technology for distant learning for my child?
     
  • What if I can’t afford or don’t have connectivity at home for my child’s learning?
    • Families with no Internet access or families with challenging financial situations caused by COVID-19 circumstances may connect with the school principal for how to obtain an access code for $9.95 internet per month through Telus.
  • What about online safety?
    • Online safety comes up often as we engage so deeply in Zoom, social media and many great, and some questionable, websites. We have a new resource ‘online safety’ tab on this page that is helpful to parents as they wonder what’s okay and where are the places to be more cautious.
  • Are user group bookings for School District 46 facilities cancelled?
    • All user group bookings at School District 46 facilities have been suspended indefinitely to ensure physical distancing.
  • Are district playgrounds and basketball courts open?
    • All playgrounds and basketball courts on School District 46 property will be open again by June 1st.
  • Is there a food program for students in need?
    • Community schools are providing food to a significant number of families who are struggling to make ends meet at this time. As a district we are working with the Community School Associations and joining with other community groups to ensure that Sunshine Coast families do not go hungry during this pandemic.
  • Are Board Meetings still being held?
  • Will students receive final marks and will grade 12 students graduate?
    • The Ministry of Education has announced that every student will receive a final mark, and all students who are on track to move to the next grade will do so in the fall. For grades 10 and 11 students, graduation assessments that were scheduled for April will be postponed. Every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 will graduate.

  • How about graduation ceremonies for our grade 12’s?

    • Grade 12 graduations will be virtual and will be broadcast on the District’s YouTube channel at the end of June when the in-school ceremonies would have normally taken place.

  • What community resources are available for students’ mental health support?
    • Foundry is working to make sure all young people in British Columbia can find the care and support they need, when they need it, through virtual drop-in counselling sessions by voice, video and chat. For more information, please click here.
  • What is the parents’ role in the continuation of learning?
    • Taking an interest in what your child is learning is the best support that you can provide. No one is expecting education to look normal, nor do we expect our students’ parents to be their teachers. Our teachers know that there is a wide variety of opportunities as well as challenges to learning in the home environment.
  • What if I have questions about my child’s learning?
    • If you have questions or comments about your child’s learning, please contact their teacher. If the matter is more school related, please connect with your child’s principal. If the matter is more related to the direction of the district, please email the Superintendent of Schools. If you don’t know who to talk to, contact any of us. We are here to help: email questions@sd46.bc.ca.
    • All contact information is available on this site.

You can also find a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions from the Ministry of Education that will be continuously updated as things progress at www.gov.bc.ca/safeschools/.

All previous communications and news for families shared by School District 46 and the Ministry of Education regarding  the COVID-19 Pandemic can be found here.

Registration: Support for Parents Online Workshop

Are you finding it challenging to stay present and patient with your children right now? Do you feel like you are just trying to survive until this is over? Are your children engaging in more challenging behaviours right now? Are you feeling more reactive and less patient than ever?  Join this 6 week series led by Sarah Joseph (Elementary:Starting May 4th, Mondays/Secondary: Starting May 6th, Wednesdays) via Zoom to help understand behaviour better and shine a light on how we can turn this unique time in our lives into something that we don’t just survive, but rather THRIVE.

Sarah Joseph is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and Family Therapist. She has been teaching families, teachers, educational assistants, counsellors and childcare providers Positive Discipline tools in our community for the past five years. She is also the author of the Amazon Best-Selling children’s book The Animals in my Brain, A Kid’s guide to understanding and controlling their behaviour.

Drop in to just one of the sessions or all of them by registering below for parents of elementary aged students and/or parents of secondary aged students.

Early Years Parenting Through A Pandemic Virtual Support Group

Virtual support group for parents of children aged 0-5 who feel they need a safe, non-judgemental space to vent, share concerns and collect strategies for coping with the unusual demands that parenting through this time brings.
EARLY YEARS PARENTING THROUGH A PANDEMIC
Facilitated by Family Navigators: Sue Lamb and Karen Foley. Bringing years of experience and training in supporting families and working with children on the Sunshine Coast.

Zoom Session Mondays and Wednesdays at 1 pm.

Email: register4spark@sd46.bc.ca  (a zoom invite will be sent to you following registration).

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