March 10, 2021
Dear Sunshine Coast families,
We are at the one-year mark of the COVID pandemic. This has been a very challenging year for our families, students and staff. However, we have all risen as a community to the challenge and our schools have been highly attended and very safe from the effects of the pandemic throughout this school year. Parents and caregivers have been so understanding, and many of you have extended deep appreciation to our school staffs for their efforts as they care for your children during such a unique part of our history. This is such a great community!
I am so pleased that our schools continue to be warm, happy and successful learning spaces. Our positive and dedicated staff have really pulled out all the stops to make the best of the situation. Also, about 8% of our students are engaged successfully in learning with the Sunshine Coast Online program that was developed to address the specific needs of some of our families this year. Many millions of children and youth around the world have not had the social and emotional support that our staff have provided in their schools and communities, never mind the vibrant learning that our students continue to enjoy. I deeply appreciate that our staff is keeping the special world of learning going even while each of us has experienced challenges in our own ways this year.
We are moving to a new phase of optimism that our lifestyles will return to normal in the foreseeable future. Great news about vaccinations should mean that in just a few months we will be able to do many of the things we love to do: gather with friends and families, travel away from our communities, learn and work and play without the need to be constantly checking ourselves for following the critical protocols that have kept us so safe, all year long.
Here are some further updates for your interest:
- Attendance of students and staff this year has been exceptional. The protocols of staying home when sick, proper hygiene and other safety protocols have vastly reduced the occurrence of colds and flu. Thank you to all parents who have kept their children with cold/ flu symptoms at home this year when needed. It’s made a difference for all!
- Outdoor covered areas are being developed using federal COVID-19 funding. The complexity of this project and the need for consultation has meant that it has taken time to have them all installed but we are getting there.
- Sunshine Coast Online is not anticipated to continue for K to grade 9 students next year as it was developed for the specific needs of the pandemic. Students were guaranteed a space at the schools where they were registered in June 2020. Those families should connect with their child’s principal to confirm their plans.
- Spring break is Monday, March 15th to Friday, March 26th. Schools reopen on Monday, March 29th.
- Secondary Schools are currently developing supports for transitions for grade 7’s, course selection for next school year, and scholarships and bursaries for grade 12’s. Schools will continue to share information about these important end of year activities.
- Graduation ceremonies and elementary celebrations are anticipated to be similar to last year with socially distanced strategies since parents are not able to be at our schools this year. Our high schools are working with Grads BC to film virtual events that will be worthy of our grads in this exceptional year.
- The Ministry of Health has developed a great online resource regarding COVID-19 and schools: http://www.bccdc.ca/schools/
- Our own SD46 website has a great deal of information and responses to frequently asked questions: https://sd46.bc.ca
I deeply appreciate your partnership and support as we navigate this together.
Superintendent of Schools