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Letter to Families | March 31 2021

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March 31, 2021

Dear Families,

We have received updated direction from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education regarding the important things we can all do to help manage the risks of COVID-19 in our school communities.

Masks

All adults and students from grades 4 to 12 are expected to wear masks to add another layer to the protections that are already built into the comprehensive health and safety plans that are keeping our schools safe. Specifically:

  • All adults must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • All students in grades 4 through 12 must wear a mask or face covering when inside a school building.
  • It is strongly encouraged for all kindergarten through grade 3 students to wear masks when inside a school building as well.
  • Students may remove their masks while outside, including at recess, lunchtime and while learning outside.

Exceptions to the order can be found here.

Our District and school health and safety plans will be updated soon to reflect the changed requirements.

For our elementary schools, where students are not used to wearing masks indoors, school staff will spend the next few days helping students to adjust to this change. We ask that you send your child to school with a clean mask and a spare mask. Schools will have disposable masks available if students forget their masks. Please click the following links for a video and poster for a reminder of how to wear a face mask. The updated and confirmed new guidelines will come into full effect in Sunshine Coast Schools on Tuesday April 6th, when students return after the long weekend.

Vaccinations for school staff

Over the break we were pleased to learn that K-12 staff in school districts are being prioritized to receive vaccinations. We do not yet have detailed information about when and how this will apply to our district as the news changes quickly and as the medical community learns more about the availability of the different vaccines.

Protocols and Your Support

With cases of COVID-19 currently rising in BC, the coming months will no doubt continue to challenge us all. We encourage all students and staff to continue to follow the health and safety protocols:

  • Stay home when not feeling well.
  • Complete the daily health check every day. The health check, including translations, can be found on the district website.
  • Seek a COVID test as soon as possible after mild symptoms occur. This will significantly help to speed up the contact tracing process if the test result is positive.
  • Answer your phone even if it is an unknown number. This will help the contact tracing process in case Vancouver Coastal Health is trying to get in touch.
  • Maintain at least two metres physical distance – even outside – from others when outside of your cohort.
  • Wash/sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Out of school hours, avoid gathering with anyone indoors from outside of your household and limit outdoor gatherings to the same group of 10.

Together, these measures provide valuable layers of protection and help to make a significant difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19. As a district, we have multiple health and safety protocols in place – all strictly adhering to the standards and guidance provided by provincial authorities and public health. We continue to work with the Ministry of Education and Vancouver Coastal Health and will share relevant information with you on our website and by email when significant changes occur.

Additional orders and measures that affect community interaction were announced this week. You can find the updated health orders here

If you have questions about the current health orders or about other related issues, you can contact 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319). If you have health questions or symptoms related to COVID-19 (or any other health issue) and want to talk to a health professional, please call 8-1-1.

Keeping our schools healthy and safe is something we are doing together. Our school staffs and I deeply appreciate that in spite of the challenges of this pandemic, you have been kind, patient and supportive of the work that we are doing. It is sincerely appreciated.

Take care and stay well,

Patrick Bocking

Superintendent of Schools

 

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