As the summer slowly winds to a close and we prepare to welcome students back to school, I am reaching out to provide information about our start-up for the 2022/23 school year.
Student and Family Affordability Fund
As you may have heard, the provincial government announced a one-time fund of $60 million dollars to support children and families affected by rising inflation and associated cost of living challenges. The money is to be used to support families in need with school supplies, meals, and school-related fees. For the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District, this will result in a one-time allocation of $1.6 million dollars.
We will be taking the next few weeks to consult with Indigenous rights holders, staff, district and school Parent Advisory Councils (PACs), and other stakeholders to determine how this money can best support the specific needs of families in our community. To ensure we also address any emergent needs associated with school start-up, we are releasing a small portion of the funds to our schools immediately. If your family is experiencing affordability concerns related to school start-up, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s school principal. All requests for assistance are handled confidentially and with care.
I will provide you with a further update once our consultation process is complete and we have determined how the funds can be most equitably applied.
Updated Communicable Disease Guidelines
Based on the updated guidelines, we will be reopening our schools with similar measures we had in place before summer break. For your convenience, I have highlighted the key considerations below:
STAY HOME IF SICK
Students and staff must continue to monitor their health daily to ensure they are not experiencing symptoms of illness (including but not limited to COVID-19 symptoms) and should stay home if they are sick or unable to participate fully in routine activities. If your child has symptoms that may be COVID-19, use the online self-assessment tool. The BC Centre for Disease Control provides guidance on self-isolation, including when one can end self-isolation after a COVID-19 infection.
MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS
Masks are one layer of protection used to prevent the spread of communicable disease. The decision to wear a mask beyond when it is recommended by public health is a personal one, based on individual preference. The individual choice to wear a mask should be respected.
Staff, students and visitors will be encouraged to practice frequent hand hygiene. You can find more information about appropriate hand hygiene on this BC Centre for Disease Control poster.
Parents and staff should teach and reinforce good respiratory etiquette practices among students, including coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow or tissue; throwing away used tissues and immediately performing hand hygiene; and not touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Staff and students should be encouraged to respect the personal space of others (the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person).
SHARING FOOD, BEVERAGES & OTHER ITEMS THAT TOUCH THE MOUTH
Staff and students should be discouraged from sharing items that touch the mouth (e.g., food, drinks, unwashed utensils, cigarettes, vaping devices). Shared-use items that touch the mouth should be cleaned and disinfected between use by different individuals.
Public health advises that vaccines are important tools to protect against many serious communicable diseases and encourages all eligible staff and students to ensure they’re up to date on all recommended vaccines for communicable diseases, including COVID-19 vaccines.
We look forward to welcoming your children back into our schools.
On behalf of the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District, I wish you and your child a happy, safe, and successful 2022/23 school year.
Superintendent of Schools