May 13, 2020

SD73 staff will be returning to schools on May 19, 2020. While learning by distance also continues, we are making plans for a voluntary partial-week return to school for kindergarten to grade 5 students. We expect to be able to tell parents by May 22, what the return to school date will be. 

Teachers will be contacting parents to find out if their children will be returning to class.  Knowing each family’s decision is important, because it will help us determine classroom schedules.

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

How will you be addressing bussing?

There are no plans to bring back bussing services for students at this time. 

What options will there be for students who cannot return to school for the last few weeks?

Although every possible step is being taken to ensure it is safe to return, we understand that this may not the right choice for you or your children. If this is the case, rest assured, their learning by distance will continue.

How will graduation be celebrated for Grad 2020?
Each graduating class will have some form of commencement ceremony that will include the production of a video. Parents of grade 12 students are being contacted about the details for their school. 
Why are you not bringing the grade 12 students back first? Why are you bringing back the younger grades first? 
The focus is on our youngest students because schools are a critical part of BC’s Restart Plan, which means parents of younger students who need to return to the workplace need this form of support first.
What does the term ‘priority students’ mean?
The term refers to those students who have complex learning needs or students identified as needing to be provided with in-class instruction.
What does this mean for children and teens with complex needs? Will support staff members be brought back to school?
Support staff will be working at the school and are part of the planning process now underway. 
Will there be mandatory requirements for immunization to return to school in the fall?
BC’s new Vaccine Status Reporting Legislation applies to all students in the province, including those who are home-schooled. It does not apply to children attending schools in First Nations communities. For more information, visit the BC Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation page, or contact their local health centre to speak to a public health nurse.

We understand you have questions about what comes next for students, their families and for SD73 staff in this time of distance learning during the global pandemic. Our continuity of learning plan has now been launched. Teachers and students are establishing learning routines, and we are beginning a new journey together.  Please send us your questions, and we will do our best to answer them here. Send your questions to

In the meantime, we thank you for your patience. We hope you are managing alright, and you are taking time to rest and take care of yourselves. 


Ministry of Education FAQ
Provincial Health Officer Orders

Full listing of Provincial Health Officer Orders

  • We all need to take personal responsibility and make the right choices now to protect our most vulnerable and our health care workers.
  • Local bylaw officers have been asked to help ensure compliance with the Provincial Health Officer’s orders around large gatherings and business closures.
  • Local bylaw officers will also be out reminding people in public spaces to physically distance.
  • We want to make sure bylaw officers can tackle the most serious risks so we ask the public to use their judgement and only contact bylaw officer when necessary, for serious offences of the PHO’s orders on business closures and gatherings.



What are the school district’s obligations as an employer during this pandemic?
Issues with respect to COVID-19 are evolving rapidly. The school district has policies and procedures in place to address these matters. The school district is aware of and is following its obligations as an employer under the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. The school district is also following the information, recommendations, and orders of the BC Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and their applicable regional health authority. All of these policies, procedures, and obligations apply to all employee groups in the district and we will be addressing these issues in the same manner across all of our employee groups, not on an individual bargaining unit basis.
How can SD73 staff request a ROE (Record of Employment)?
A Record of Employment (ROE) is necessary for employees applying for Employment Insurance so that Service Canada can use the information to calculate their EI benefits. In order to efficiently prepare this for staff, Finance asks that staff email with the following information in the subject line:  "ROE Request - LAST NAME, FIRST NAME". In the body of the email, staff are asked to provide their name, employee number and a telephone number where they can be reached. We are committed to processing these requests as quickly as possible
What happens for students who need to get something from their school lockers or desks? 
Schools and teachers are reaching out to students to facilitate the removal of personal belongings from schools. The focus is on safety. Please follow their instructions. If you have not yet heard from your teacher or school principal, please contact them. 
Where is information posted about what SD73 staff employment it will look like while in-classroom instruction is suspended?  
Information is being posted to the SD73 Intranet, and emailed in bulletins to staff. 
 What will happen to graduation ceremonies, have they been cancelled?
No decision regarding graduation ceremonies has been made at this time. 
Is there a complete list for who is deemed an essential service, and workers whose children will be in schools? Are Telus access technicians, for example, who are expected to work and on call during off hours, included? Or as another example, are you considering palliative care aides, nursing home aides, sanitation workers, sewage treatment workers, shelter aides, lab techs, cleaners, correctional officers, grocery delivery personnel as frontline, essential services, to qualify to have their children in school?

We acknowledge the important role we play in supporting the children and families of British Columbia as we work through this unprecedented crisis. We are working closely with the BC Government to determine how best to support those working in essential services. 

For those parents of children in grades K to 5 and considered to be essential workers as determined by the Province of BC, please reach out to your principal directly if you require in-school support for children to ensure you are able to respond to critical civic services during the pandemic. We are aiming to have support for essential workers operational by Monday, April 6.

If some children are going to be able to attend school while most of them are not, with the suspension of in-classroom instruction, does this mean some children will have better access to education than others? 

The focus is on keeping all our students as safe as possible. This means the majority of students need to be learning at home. We are committed to the learning of each and every student. When we say some children may need to attend a school in a special circumstance we are referring to the children of people who will not be able to stay home because they are performing essential services – like medical health professionals, first responders, pharmacists and critical infrastructure workers.

What will happen for kids who have autism and need extra support to maintain their education. Especially if their parents are health care workers or work in other essential service areas? 

We know there are vulnerable students who have unique needs; important services like school meal programs, and child care services operating on school grounds that need to be addressed. We understand some of these children may have parents who work in an essential services area. These issues have been considered in our planning, and parents of these children will be contacted by their school.

How can I register my child for K.O.O.L? Would this be a good idea for my child during this crisis?

Registration at @KOOL will be prioritized to those students currently at @KOOL, then for SD73 students needing to meet graduation requirements. Each student should have heard from their school or teacher at this point. If you have not heard, please do reach out and contact your school. 

When will school be back?
In-class instruction is suspended indefinitely. While learning will continue, school will look different during this crisis. 



 How do I get tested for COVID-19?

COVID-19 testing locations are operational across the region. Please note that people are being asked NOT to go to testing locations without an appointment.

Testing is available for all who need it, but not everyone needs a test.

To determine whether a test is required, individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact:

  • Their primary care provider, or
  • HealthLinkBC (811)

Testing Resources:


Self Isolation / Quarantine

How do the authorities track whether we are following the rules for self-isolation?
We are in an unprecedented situation. Our government and health authorities, at the national, provincial and local levels, have made self-isolation necesary in all except essential services. It is up to us to do our civic duty to protect ourselves and each other. It is the responsibility of each of us to do the right thing. 
Difference between quarantine (self-isolate) and isolate
Difference between quarantine (self-isolate) and isolate from Health Canada.


Sick Leave

 When can I access my sick leave?
Employees with symptoms of any illness, whether they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or any other illness, can access the sick leave available to them in the normal manner.
 What if I have run out of sick leave or I don’t have sick leave?
If, for whatever reason (including having run out of sick leave) you do not have sick leave, the Government of Canada has announced it will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. The link to that information is here:
 What is the process for accessing sick leave if I am required to self-isolate?

If you find it necessary to be away from work for any reason, you must call or email the appropriate department:

  • Clerical / CEA / Custodial: 372-7846 (24 hour answering machine)
  • Maintenance / Grounds: 851-4420
  • Transportation: 372-5853
  • Email:


Employees must call prior to their normal start time. Speak very clearly stating your full name, the date you will be absent, your position, location and reason for your absence.  

REMEMBER – if a replacement is necessary, the dispatcher needs time to contact someone and have them there for your start time, so the earlier you call the better.

If you know the length of your absence, please state it when you call.  If you do not know how long you are to be away, you must call each and every day of your absence.

You must also call your work location supervisor in addition to the above. If you are not able to phone more than one location, please mention this when you call the answering machine and the dispatcher will contact your supervisor for you.

Custodians working the afternoon shift are asked to call prior to 12:00 noon in order for a replacement to be sent in if needed.

 Returning to work after any extended absence due to illness
Prior to returning to work, employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or any other illness requiring an extended absence from work should be free from all symptoms and are no longer contagious. Please contact your health care provider or call 811 for more information.  


Travel Advisory

What do I need to know about travel of any kind?
All non-essential travel, both domestic and international, is now banned.  
 What does that mean for staff, parents and students?

All employees are expected to comply with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) including the recommendations with respect to out of country travel and further, employees also have obligations under the Workers Compensation Act to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and others in the workplace — there are basic expectations during the current public health crisis.  




Contact Us