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January Delayed Return to School Updates

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December 31, 2021

Dear SD46 Families, 

I sincerely hope this message finds you well and that you have been able to enjoy the break.  As the holiday comes to a close, once again we find ourselves in the position to pivot and adapt to the new context regarding Covid-19. 

The Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Education announced that there will be a delayed return to school — to allow more time to introduce enhanced safety measures — as local and provincial authorities work with districts to adapt to the impacts of the Omicron variant.

 

The full return to in-person learning will be delayed until Monday, January 10, 2022. 

 

During this time there will be no online learning or other instruction, as it will be a continuation of the Winter Break for most students. However, in order to support our healthcare system, as well as be able to functionally operate as a district, our schools will be open to providing supervision for a limited number of students from Jan 4thto Jan 7th.  

 

  • Children of health care workers (including contracted health services and first responders) who do not have other options for care 

  • Children of SD46 staff who do not have other options for care 

  • Children who have diverse needs

If your child(ren) falls into one of the above categories, please fill out this short survey by Sunday, January 2nd, 10 pm so school staff can prepare for the supervision of your child(ren) starting on Tuesday, January 4th. You can also reach out directly to your principal regarding your specific situation to discuss supports and school attendance. 

 

Buses will not be in operation for the week of Jan 4thto Jan 7thas we work through health and safety protocols and available staffing with Thirdwave.  

 

We understand this is difficult for everyone, and once again we are called upon to work collectively as a community to do our best with the circumstances we have been given.  We know continued kindness, patience and understanding is what our children and youth need as we navigate this next phase of the pandemic.  Our staff have shown time and time again their dedication to providing a rich and safe learning environment for our students and we are grateful for their hard-work and diligence. 

To ensure continued alignment with BCCDC direction, an addendum to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings has been created. It outlines focused actions and additional prevention measures B.C. public K-12 schools must implement in response to the recent rise of cases of COVID-19 due to the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

 

Guidelines and existing protocols that have succeeded in minimizing the spread of the virus in schools include: 

  • Encouraging everyone who is eligible, to get fully vaccinated.
  • Doing daily health checks and staying home when sick.
  • Using available space to spread out and to respect the personal space of others.
  • Wearing masks in accordance with the Provincial Health Officer Order on Face Coverings.
  • Cleaning hands regularly.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces at least once a day.
  • Ensuring all HVAC systems are operated and maintained as per standards and specifications and are working properly.
 

Enhanced safety measures include:

 

  • Strategies that prevent crowding during class transition times including staggered start times, recess or lunch times and dismissal times.
  • Hold school gatherings and events (e.g., assemblies, etc.) virtually; if they must be in-person, limiting the number of people to no more than 50% operating capacity.
  • Holding staff-only gatherings (e.g. meetings, professional development activities) virtually where possible.
  • Limiting visitors to those who are supporting activities that directly benefit student learning and well-being (e.g. teacher candidates, immunizers, meal program volunteers, etc.).
  • Pausing extracurricular sports tournaments.
 

We will be providing additional information as it becomes available and you can also reach out to your principal if you have further questions specific to your situation.  Thank you for your continued support, understanding and patience as we do our best to navigate next steps. 

In this we journey together, 

Kate Kerr 

 

Superintendent of Schools

School District 46 – Sunshine Coast

 

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