As most of our schools move into spring break, I want to once again express my deep gratitude to staff, families, and students for rising to the challenges presented by this pandemic. Thanks to the dedication and tenacity of our staff, we were able to keep all schools open during the Omicron wave that followed winter break. I extend my sincere thanks to staff at every level of our organization, and wish all our school communities and families a restful and well-deserved break.
If your family is travelling over the break, please remember to review and follow any federal requirements as posted on the Government of Canada website (https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/travel-restrictions/covid-vaccinated-travellers-entering-canada#children). I would also like to take this opportunity to share a number of important provincial updates, which I have posted below. Should any other updates be issued over the spring break that may impact our schools, I will share these with you as they become available.
Updates to Provincial Guidelines
As we transition to the longer and brighter days of spring, we also see important updates to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings. These updated provincial guidelines will go into effect the first day of spring break, which for most of our schools starts on March 14, 2022. For our balanced calendar school, Kanaka Creek Elementary, the updated provincial guidelines will also go into effect this Monday, March 14, 2022.
Below is a summary of some of the key updates that will go into effect March 14, 2022. The full guidance document with changes highlighted is available online.
- Masks: The decision to wear a mask or face covering will be a personal choice for staff, students and visitors. A person’s choice is to be supported and respected.
- Inter-School Events: Inter-school events or those with visitors (e.g. parent spectators):
- Should not exceed 50% capacity and proof vaccination should not be implemented while the PHO Gatherings & Events Order is in place.
- Can return to 100% capacity when the PHO Gatherings & Events Order is lifted (expected end of day, April 7, 2022).
- Space Arrangement: Schools can return to classroom and learning environment configurations and activities that best meet learner needs and preferred educational approaches, though strategies to create space between people should still be considered.
- Visitor Access/Community Use: Schools can return to routine sign in/out practices and do not need to keep a list of dates, names, and contact information of visitors for communicable disease prevention purposes. Schools can also return to routine pick-up/drop-off practices.
We expect to receive another update to K-12 guidelines mid-April and will share that update with you at that time.
Indigenous-Focused Graduation Requirement
The Ministry of Education has launched a public engagement process for the new Indigenous-focused education requirement for grades 10-12. The ministry is encouraging students, families, staff, and community partners to visit https://engage.gov.bc.ca/Indigenousgradrequirement and share their thoughts on the proposed approach for the new requirement. This web page includes information about the proposed model and an opportunity to provide feedback. The 15-minute survey will be open until April 22, 2022.
Superintendent of schools