Superintendent’s Update

Posted On Friday September 24, 2021

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of September. Students and staff are preparing for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (September 30). Barb Hamblett, principal of Valleyview Secondary, recounted how they are furthering Truth and Reconciliation in her school.

Truth and Reconciliation in Valleyview Secondary

Principal Hamblett explained, “We have a committee called Téxemnem-kt meaning ‘paddling together’, which includes representatives of diverse stakeholders in our school community.” The power of this committee is that they have been together for some time working on improving Indigenous education for students including “searching for opportunities to teach where we haven’t gone yet.” This year, in preparation for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, this team recognized the work they have been doing to understand the impact of residential schools, but they felt they needed to start learning more about some of the root causes of residential schools. Through a video project last year, students expressed curiosity about the Indian Act and the impact it continues to have on people today. They prepared a menu of learning choices for classes including Bob Joseph’s interview about his book, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality (2018). As each class lives their learning together this week, they will write their thoughts using an iceberg to go from their initial learnings recorded on the “surface of the iceberg” to their “deeper learnings”, with evidence, which are recorded on “lower levels” of the iceberg. This focus on learning together about the Indian Act and the impact on Indigenous people today will prepare the students to consider lessons learned prior to lowering the flag in honour of our first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in our district.

COVID-19

On September 21, 2021, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that broad school notifications about COVID 19 cases in schools had caused anxiety last year, which was the reason for not continuing school notifications this year. After our first few weeks of school, she concluded “that parents require an authoritative source to understand what is happening at their children’s schools.” Dr. Henry indicated that Interior Health plans to notify parents about COVID cases in schools. Superintendents take direction from Public Health, the Ministries of Health and Education, and BC’s Public Health Officer in the area of Health, and we will follow the recommendations once released about how these broad notifications will happen.

We have updated our District’s Communicable Disease Prevention Plan regarding spectators at secondary sports events. Although the school year started off with no spectators, the District has now completed its review on how to safely operationalize secondary athletic events with spectators. Regional restrictions remain in place for the Interior Health Authority, which has placed restrictions on spectators and event sizes:

  • Indoor events are not to exceed 50 persons present (spectators)
  • Outdoor events are not to exceed 100 persons present (spectators)

Interior Health vaccination clinics in secondary schools continue and are listed here.

I appreciate your patience in working through the changes to our COVID-19 protocols as we live them. As we enter into this last week of September, everyone’s efforts to come together as a community and to share uplifting stories about Truth and Reconciliation has been and will continue to be inspiring.

Rhonda Nixon, PhD

Superintendent

Contact Us