May 19, 2020 - Letter of Superintendent

May 19, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As British Columbia begins to ease restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, public schools will play an important part in the provincial government’s Restart Plan announced on May 6. On Friday, May 15, Premier Horgan and Minister of Education Fleming announced that all schools in the province will move to “Stage 3” of the Education Restart Plan effective June 1, 2020. They indicated that they are giving parents the choice to send their children back to school, on a part-time basis, beginning on June 1. This prepares students and teachers for a return to full-time face-to-face classes in September, provided it is safe to return.

As always, student, staff, and family health and safety are paramount. The carefully measured steps outlined by the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control, coupled with the ministry approved district return to class safety plan, will ensure a smooth transition back to school for students on a part-time basis on June 1. We want to assure you that we will continue to be diligent in ensuring that all public health expectations are met or exceeded as more students and staff return to our schools.

 

Stage 3 Guiding Principles:  All stages of the education restart plan will continue to be guided by health and safety guidelines, measures, protocols and orders, as well as the principles developed for continuity of learning during the pandemic:

 

Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students, families and employees.
Provide the services to support children of essential workers.
Support for students who may need special assistance.
Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.
 

Stage 3 Restart Plan: 

 

Children in Kindergarten to Grade 5: in-class learning 2 days per week, supplemented with remote instruction on Fridays.
Children in Grades 6 to 12: remote learning supplemented with up to 20% in-class instruction (i.e., tutorials, seminars, small group instruction).
Children of essential workers (aged 5-12) will have the option to attend school 5 days per week.
students with disabilities/diverse abilities and students needing additional supports may be provided with extra opportunities.
Families who decide not to send their children to class: continued remote instruction until the end of the 2019/20 school year (please see information below).
 

Please note that as we return to part time in class instruction, it will be an unreasonable expectation for K-5 teachers to continue the same schedule for online learning. Parents of students from K-5 choosing not to send their students to school for the month of June can expect their students’ learning to be supported one day a week through online platforms, with more information communicated to parents by their school before June 1. Parents are also encouraged to visit the new ministry Keep Learning website that provides learning resources and supports for K-12 students. This site is being updated as new resources are available.

 

District Preparation and Path Forward: 

As we move from Stage 4 to Stage 3 of the Education Restart Plan, the district plans to transition students of essential workers from G.W. Graham Secondary to their respective schools the week of June 1. Information regarding the transition plans will be provided to parents the week of May 25.

I know you probably have many questions about the transition to part-time in class instruction as well as the design of the program. We will be working diligently on these plans over the next two weeks and please be assured that your school principal will be communicating with you the week of May 25. We will continue to update information on our district website to ensure clarity in communication.

Also, the school district and its partners will continue to provide food hampers to families that have been accessing this service until the end of June. A sincere thank you to all of our partners for their continued support for this invaluable service.

The district will also commence its regular transportation schedule on June 1, 2020.

Parents/Guardians of grade 12 students, by now you should have been contacted by your school administration team in regards to plans to hold a virtual/personal commencement ceremony for your student(s), while strictly adhering to all of the required health norms. I realize this does not replace traditional commencement ceremonies but I know that schools will do their best to make this a memorable occasion for your families. Thank you in advance to the staff at our high schools for organizing these events and honouring our students.

I would like to close by thanking the greater community for their efforts and unwavering commitment to support one another through these difficult times, while pulling out all the stops to help flatten the curve. Although getting to this point is a celebration, we pause to bow our heads to think of all those families that have lost a loved one to this pandemic. My sincere gratitude to you and to all staff for the incredible work that has been done collaboratively to support our students in their learning since Spring Break. I am sincerely grateful for your patience, compassion, fortitude and care during these challenging times. We will continue to lean on each other as we walk this journey together.

Sincerely, 

Rohan Arul-pragasam

Interim School Superintendent

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