Today is the last day of class for most of our school communities in this exceptional year. While the last ten months have not been without their challenges, they have also offered us countless opportunities to celebrate the amazing achievements of our staff and students. I am always impressed but not surprised by the passion, dedication, activism, and care shown by students and staff in our school communities. I encourage you to read through our online 2020/21 District Highlights magazine, which captures some of the achievements from this school year. Attached to my message (below) you will also find a year-end message and expression of thanks from Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside.
I want to reiterate my deep gratitude to all staff, students, and families for following health and safety protocols and protecting our schools during the pandemic. There is much hope – both locally and provincially – that the next school year will bring a return to more familiar routines.
The provincial government shared an update last week on what protocols are likely to look like in the fall. Some of the key anticipated changes include the following:
- students will no longer be grouped into cohorts allowing for normal timetabling;
- restrictions on gatherings, extracurricular activities, and sports may no longer be required;
- guidance on wearing masks in school settings will be confirmed later this summer and in alignment with broader provincial direction for the fall and winter.
Current measures that will remain include daily health checks and diligent hand hygiene. The Ministry of Health has prepared a helpful document that outlines some of the anticipated changes for next school year. You can access this document here: Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools: Outlook for the 2021-22 School Year. We will, of course, share with you the finalized guidelines as soon as they are developed and released closer to school start.
All our work in the school district – from the preparation of school growth plans to the development of our budget document – is rooted in our vision, mission, and values. This school year, we have taken important steps in actioning our commitment to the celebration of many cultures and the appreciation and embracement of diversity. We know, however, that there is much more work to be done. The devastating discoveries of unmarked children’s graves at sites of former residential schools in Kamloops and Saskatchewan serve as heartbreaking reminders of the need for ongoing education, reflection, and social change. Education is key to creating social change. We must continue to cultivate a culture of care in our schools and take every available step to ensure our classrooms and communities are equitable, supportive, and inclusive spaces for all. I look forward to continuing this work with your support.
Thank you again for your resilience and support during this unusual school year.
Wishing you a warm and restful summer,
Superintendent of Schools