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Education During COVID-19 Pandemic: Resources & Supports

July 29, 2020

Dear Families of School District 46,

I hope this finds you very well and enjoying the summer.

The Ministry held a press conference today which outlined their direction to safely get back to in class learning this September.

We have many details to develop in our district prior to the start of school on September 8th, which our principals, managers and district staff will be doing later in August. There is very good information available for those who wish to go deeper with this information than this summary. Please see that at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0040-001415

In summary:

We will be in Stage 2 as of September 8th. This means:

  • Full time instruction for all students within cohorts or, “Learning Groups” (e.g. up to 60 elementary students and their staff interacting in learning and breaks. Up to 120 secondary students circulating as a Learning Group through their subjects within the school). This is similar to a “school within a school” concept in which a particular group of students are associated with a specific group of staff. That “school” will learn and have breaks separately from the other Learning Groups.
  • No coming to school sick for students or staff.
  • Physical distancing measures practiced where possible. 
  • Masks:
    •  Re-useable masks will be available for everyone in schools/ districts but are not required
    •  Some staff/ students feel more comfortable wearing masks
    • Some situations may require masks or they may be recommended in some situations. We will have more guidance on this from the Public Health Officer.
  • Increased Ministry Investments
    •  To support Health and Safety and Education
      • Increased funding for frequency of cleaning and supplies
      • Masks for anyone who would like to use them or are advised to wear them
      • Hand hygiene facilities will be enhanced
      • Support for software purchases

The SD 46 family survey that many of you completed in June/ July provided important input that we will be working through this August as well.

You may have more questions and there are, indeed, many details to opening our schools this year. We don’t have all of the answers yet, but we do have important experience from opening in June that will be a good starting point for moving forward. Please consult the Ministry documents as their work is based on deep research, consultation within stakeholder groups, and the best public medical advice. Depending on your question, comment or concern, please reach out to your principal or manager. If you’re not sure to whom you want to address the question, please email questions@sd46.bc.ca and we will respond as best we can.

Sincerely,

Patrick

 

Patrick Bocking

Superintendent of Schools

 

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 together. 

  • 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 will September look like?
    • We will not know what September will look like for education in British Columbia until much closer to that time. The Medical Health Officer will review the data and the science and will provide appropriate direction to us. The Ministry will inform us which of the five stages that we will implement in our schools at that time. Fortunately, we have done much of the work in planning for all of these possibilities as we have been in stage five (right after the spring break), stage four (April & May 2020) and stage three (June 2020).
    • We will find out which stage from the Ministry of Education likely sometime in early August. As soon as we know, we will share that information with you promptly as this is so important for families as they organize their lives around school.

    • During the month of June, we have shown that we can operate our schools safely and effectively because we have all of the special health and safety protocols in place.  We do know that we will need to support our students emotionally and in terms of their mental health after such a jarring end of the school year. Our school counselors are working on this priority issue for us. We don’t expect everything to be back to “normal” in September, but each of our schools will be ready to welcome your children back to learning, their friends and our staff! Again, we will provide more information as soon as we have it.

  • What if I have questions on the setup of technology for home learning for my child?
  • What if I can’t afford or don’t have connectivity at home for my child’s home 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 for my child?
    • Online safety comes up often as we engage so deeply in Zoom, social media and many great, and some questionable, websites. We have an ‘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 are now open (with the exception of Roberts Creek Elementary’s playground for an unrelated reason).
  • 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.
  • How are Board Meetings  being held?
  • 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 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/.

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.

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: 

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:

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

See vetted resources below!

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

Website

Description

 

Grade/Content Area

 

Additional Info

 

AudibleAmazon’s audio-book collectionGrades K-12Free with no account necessary at this time
BC Libraries Summer Reading ProgramBC Libraries Summer Reading Program now on-lineGrades K-9Join and enjoy, reading challenges, games and interactive learning
activities
Canadian EncyclopediaContribute to the Canada During Covid-19 ProjectGrades 4-12Download the learning tool to develop a primary source for Historia Canada
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
Liberation-75A global movement to celebrate 75th anniversary of liberation from the holocaustGrades 4-12Online toolkit to access Holocaust Resources & Lessons
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!
Sora LibraryDigital & audio book library. Offers simultaneous use of all titles until June 30, 2020. Books can be borrowed and read on a laptop or digital device!Grades K-12Our new district license for the Overdrive links to your local library & includes hundreds of digital books! Download the Sora app, find your school (Sunshine Coast) and use your student # for login & password.
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
Vancouver AquariumLocal learning Activities for all areaGrades K-12While closed, they offer many online activities to explore!
WESchools@HomeRecommended resource for our social/emotional learningGrades K-12Sign up for a free account, access to daily virtual lessons

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.

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

ZOOM Tips for Families

Safer Schools Together & BC Ministry of Education: Raising Digitally Responsible Youth – A Parent’s Guide

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

ZOOM Tips for Families

Safer Schools Together & BC Ministry of Education: Raising Digitally Responsible Youth – A Parent’s Guide

SD46 Health and Safety Plan

School District 46 – Sunshine Coast

COVID-19 Mandatory Protocol Site Procedures

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Effective June 1, 2020 the British Columbia government moved schools to Stage 3 as part of the BC Covid-19 Go- Forward Management Strategy and the BC Restart Plan.

In order to limit potential exposure to COVID-19, employees are to review our Safe Work Plans available at our internal school district website: Engage-Covid19-Health and Safety, and take preventative measures. Everyone must do their part to help reduce the spread of the virus and maintain a safe workplace. These “Site Procedures” are to direct our work at our respective school sites and facilities.

School District 46 is directing staff to follow these operational arrangements.

COVID-19 PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, going to the bathroom, or before eating or preparing food.

  • Maintain safe physical distancing of two metres between yourself and others where possible.

  • If you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow or a tissue, and then throw out the tissue and wash your hands afterwards.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Stay home if you are sick. If you have a fever, a new cough or are having difficulty breathing, contact medical services.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Frequently touched objects and surfaces will be wiped down twice daily, use cleaning materials where provided.

  • If you have questions about whether or not you should be tested for COVID-19, use the self -assessment tool at https://bc.thrive.health/covid19.

ENTERING AND LEAVING THE BUILDING

  • Maintain safe physical distancing guidelines of two metres between people when entering and leaving the building. Do not enter or leave the building in groups.

  • Each site will identify an entrance and an exit to be used by all staff.

  • All staff are required to sign in at the office.

  • Follow all hand hygiene protocols upon entering or leaving your site.

SITE HOURS AND ACCESS

  • For your safety, access to school buildings or other sites will be during regular working hours only. All other access must be made by prior arrangement with the Principal or Manager (or designate).

  • Use the designated entrance and exit and sign in.

  • Schools will lock their doors during the day to limit public access.

  • Access to school sites will be to staff, students and authorized personnel only.

  • Parents and caregivers should make prior arrangements for meetings.

  • Visitors will not be allowed.

DAILY SANITIZING ROUTINES

  • Wash your hands when you arrive at work.

  • Custodians will be present on site daily.

  • Two “wipe downs” on high touch surfaces will be done daily.

  • Confirm with the principal or supervisor if you require additional cleaning supplies as directed by your specific Safe Work Practices document.

  • Confirm the spaces you are using with your principal or supervisor.

  • Shared equipment, such as technology, must be wiped down after use, using products provided.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • Follow safe physical distancing guidelines by maintaining two metres between people where possible.

  • Work only in your classroom, office or workspace as much as possible.

  • If you must talk to someone, make sure you staytwo metres away or use your phone to contact them.

  • Limit the need to meet in groups. When a meeting is required, ensure that you choose a space that allows for the two metre distance among people.

  • Use phone or online options, such as Zoom, as much as possible.

ILLNESS

  • All staff are required to do a self-assessment prior to leaving for work. If you have any symptoms of illness consistent with Covid-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) stay home and contact your health care provider.

  • When you are sick, stay home and log a sick leave.

  • If you start to develop symptoms while at work, go home and let your supervisor know via email or phone.

  • If you are not sure whether you should stay home use the self-assessment tool at https://bc.thrive.health/covid19

  • Confirm your health status with your Principal or manager as soon as possible if you are required to get tested.

PHOTOCOPIER OR SUPPLY ROOMS

  • Wash your hands prior to using the photocopier.

  • When you are done, disinfect the photocopier using materials provided.

  • Disinfect any shared surfaces or equipment you used at the photocopy area/room such as staplers, hole punches, etc.

  • LIMIT the number of persons in a photocopy or supply room.

  • When you are finished at the photocopier or in the supply room, wash your hands again before you go back to your office or workspace.

BATHROOMS

  • Follow the plan for bathroom use established at your site. Only use bathrooms that have been authorized.

  • Washrooms will be cleaned twice daily as with all “high touch surfaces”.

  • Follow COVID-19 handwashing guidelines as posted.

STAFF ROOM

  • Wash your hands before you go into the staffroom.

  • LIMIT the numbers of persons in the staff-room at any time, maintaining a distance of two metres between each other. If you cannot maintain a two metre distance from others in the staff room, do not enter.

  • When you are finished wash your hands again before you go back to your classroom, office or workspace.

OTHER SHARED AREAS

  • Principals and supervisors will develop protocols for use of other shared spaces within their individual buildings (libraries, gyms, shops, etc.).

  • Protocols for these spaces must be in line with this document. A safe distance must be maintained and an occupancy limit set.

Previous communications and news posts shared by School District 46 and the Ministry of Education regarding  Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic can be found here.

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