Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday September 17, 2021

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

Last week, we appreciated seeing new and old friends and being back into a routine. While it will take time to settle, it is always helpful to remind ourselves of why we do this work. Each week, I look forward to sharing inspiring stories from our schools.

Clearwater Secondary

This week, I spoke with Darren Coates, principal of Clearwater Secondary School, and he shared how “one of the biggest changes this year compared to last year is not being in cohorts” because it enabled him to provide additional programming and services to support students. “I have always valued the one-to-one reading mentorship program that we have done, which involved grades 11 and 12 students reading with grade 8 students.” The program had stopped last year because students were in cohorts. “Seeing the program back in action this year is inspiring because I know that there are so many benefits—pre- and post- reading results show improvement, and it builds social connections between different grade levels.” Darren also shared a second moment of inspiration, which was focused on CSS’s food program. “Last year, the cafeteria was open to half of the school (Gr. 10, 11, 12) and the others (Gr. 8, 9) had boxed snacks.” He explained, “Being able to open the cafeteria for everyone has created connections not only between different grade levels but it has allowed senior students to serve junior students.” It also gives him an opportunity to meet his students and to show that he cares.

COVID-19

Last year, COVID cases were reported as they happened through the Interior Health website, school community notifications, and Superintendent Updates. Interior Health has stopped the community-wide notification practice and has directed school districts to do the same. Broad, school-wide notification is not something that is done as a usual practice in communicable illness containment. Given that there is a high rate of vaccination for COVID in BC, the expectation is that COVID will be treated like other communicable illnesses.

The other change this year is that whole classes are unlikely to be required to self-isolate. Interior Health continues to prioritize contact tracing in schools, and their advice about whether to self-monitor or self-isolate depends on a range of factors, including whether the person has been partially or fully vaccinated. Interior Health will continue to notify students, parents/guardians, and staff when they are required to self-isolate or self-monitor if they are found to be close contacts of a positive case.

We continue to implement our COVID protocols with vigilance. Our SD73 Communicable Disease Prevention Plan has information about our protocols, which are based on Ministries of Health and Education guidelines: Provincial Communicable Disease Guidelines for K to 12 SettingsBCCDC COVID-19 Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K to 12 School Settings and B.C.’s K to 12 Education Recovery Plan.

In addition to our District Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, every school has posted their school communicable disease prevention plans on their websites.

Interior Health vaccination clinics in secondary schools are listed here.

Thank you for being partners in making our schools places of inspiration for our students, staff, and families. I look forward to hearing and sharing more stories next week as we take on the new learning and opportunities that continue to inspire us.

Rhonda Nixon, PhD

Superintendent

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