As spring break draws to a close, I want to thank you for your patience as we work towards reconnecting with all students to provide teaching and learning opportunities during this challenging time. We now have extensive and clear guidance from the Ministries of Health and Education on how we are to organize for student learning in our new context.
I am writing to provide you with information about some of the changes we are making to our education system at this uncertain and quickly changing time. I also wanted to update you on the planning work our school district has been doing over the past couple of weeks.
I have received many emails and messages from families, students, staff and community members expressing anxiety about how we will manage safely and in the best interest of our school communities. While these are difficult times, I strongly believe that our school district community is full of generous and talented adults, children and youth. Many have already reached out to me to offer their help. I know that as we start working again with our students, we will all find strength from a collective sense of purpose and direction.
As you know, last week the provincial government suspended in-class instruction indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means that students will begin to work with their teachers and instructional support staff in different ways over the next few weeks and possibly beyond.
In the next short while, our staff will be in contact with students and families to organize for continued learning. We will be checking with you about how we can best support learning in formats that enable us to maintain a safe distance. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our students.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Last night, the Ministry of Education sent out a document that answers some of the common questions families may have. We have added these questions/answers to our own list of FAQs on the school district website at https://www.sd42.ca/faq/.
You can browse or search through the questions and answers, or can submit your question directly to us if you do not see it on the list. Staff will be updating the FAQs on this page as more information becomes available.
Childcare for Children of Essential Service Workers
The BC Ministry of Education requested that school districts provide daytime childcare for children of essential service workers so that these individuals can continue to work. Earlier today, we sent out a link to an online survey that will help us identify families in our school district who will require these services. For your information, that link is https://letstalksd42.ca/esw-survey.
The survey closes at 4:00 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020. We will be following up with families requiring this service by Friday, April 3, 2020. If you are a health care worker, please complete the survey as soon as you are able so that we can respond to the needs of the health care system as quickly as possible.
Supporting Student Learning
I know many of you will have questions about how the school district will support your child’s learning now that in-classroom instruction has been suspended.
School district staff have been working hard behind the scenes on the necessary planning. This planning will continue at the school level next week as teachers and principals prepare to provide students with learning opportunities.
We want to be very thoughtful not to overburden students and families with unrealistic expectations. Our goal is to provide our students with engaging, meaningful and manageable learning opportunities. Your child’s teacher will connect with you before the end of next week to discuss next steps.
In the meantime, I have attached for you in the parent portal message version of this letter a list of the many online learning resources available for families in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District. These password-protected online resources cover the BC K-12 curriculum and include many interactive multimedia resources. The passwords are provided in the attachment you will have received with my message through the portal.
I know that some of our families have limited access to online resources. I want to assure you that we are working to ensure we provide meaningful learning opportunities for all our students.
Finally, we know that many of our families depend on our school-based meal programs. The Ministry of Education has asked all school districts to plan for continued delivery of these programs and we are doing that planning work now. The continued health and safety of our families and staff is our top priority, and we are working closely with Fraser Health to establish all necessary processes and protocols.
I will provide families with an update once we have more information and our plans are finalized.
As I close this letter, I want to reminding you again that your child’s teacher(s) will be reaching out to you in the coming week. In the meantime, I hope that each one of you has the support of family and friends and that you are connecting from a safe distance in new and positive ways.