Parent Resource Page

Return to School

EDUCATION RE-START PLAN 2020

Update: September 3, 2020

SD73’s Re-start Plan has been approved by the Ministry of Education. You can read it here. Our operational guidelines, developed with our education partners and health authorities, ensure a consistent districtwide approach to keep schools safe for all students, teachers and staff.

In addition, we have updated our Health and Safety Guidelines, which can be found here. The essential elements in the safe re-start of schools are: consistent groups of people; robust illness policies for students and staff; and the ability to have most people follow effective personal practices like hand washing.

The Ministry of Education has given school districts the flexibility and certainty to find options that work for families. This includes the authority for all school boards to offer remote options to students within their districts, as well as the tools they need to increase their existing programs to meet demand.

This means students can maintain their spots in their schools if they choose to learn through Distance Learning. Schools will be able to provide more detail options for parents as they connect with families during the week before school. 

Parents and guardians who are considering moving their children to online and distributed learning or homeschooling are asked to contact their school principal after August 31. 

For online and distributed learning options, see Kamloops Open Online Learning, @KOOL. For homeschooling options, check the BC Government Homeschooling page.

You can find UPDATED FAQs below, by category. 

If you require more information about your child specific situation please contact your school's principal. 


Parent Resources

For additional information please check the Ministry of Education’s Return to School website.

Questions about specific circumstances

Dear parents and guardians, we are receiving your questions regarding specific circumstances unique to your families and children. These questions will all be answered through your schools. Questions about medical concerns, learning options, pick up times, schedules,  and how breaks, lunch and recess will be managed are best answered by your school because each circumstance will have a different solution in each school. Principals and/or teachers will be contacting each family before the first day of school to provide you with the information you need about the first week of school, and to answer your questions. 

First Week of School 

1. What is the SD73 Education Re-start Plan?

The SD73 Education Re-start Plan outlines how students and staff will be returning to school in September. You can read it here.

2. What will the first week of school look like? 

To prepare for Stage 2 of the BC Re-start Plan and to ensure consistency between all schools, September 8-11 will serve as an orientation week for staff and students. There will be a gradual restart to allow extra time to orient students and staff on the new health and safety measures in place.

September 8 & 9 

  • All staff will meet with their staffs’ and school’s joint health and safety committee to receive instruction on how the updated BCCDC guidelines will work in their school. This time allows teachers and staff to adjust to their new routines, finalize plans for learning groups, review health and safety protocols and confirm lesson plans that align with Stage 2. 
  • Principals will review the health and safety guidelines, goals, guiding principles and expectations of the re-start plan. Staff will contact families directly to inform students of their orientation date and provide necessary information regarding entrance/exit procedures, health and safety protocols such as physical distancing, washing hands upon entry and health assessment responsibilities.

September 10 & 11

  • Students will return to school full-time on September 10 OR September 11 for orientation. Staff will communicate with families regarding the date their children will attend. 
  • Students can get familiar with classrooms that will look different than they did in June and before the pandemic. During orientation, students will be assigned to their class or classes, find out who is in their learning group, practise their new routines, familiarize themselves with how to safely move from the class to outdoor and common areas of the school and review health and safety protocols. 

3. How will the plan be rolled out? 

   Before September 8: 

  • Schools will place students and staff in learning groups. 
  • Schools will send home Health Assessment Agreement notices to families. 
  • Schools will communicate Re-start information to families. 
  • School staff will contact families.

   September 8 and 9: 

  • Schools will notify students of their orientation date and schedule.

   September 10 and 11: 

  • Staff will review health and safety protocols with students. 

4.  What will the schedule be for elementary students? 

Elementary students will follow a regular school schedule, like any other year. 

5. What will the schedule be for middle and secondary students? 

To support the implementation of learning groups at middle and secondary schools, the quarter system or Copernican system will be used. Students will be enrolled in two classes a day for ten weeks for four quarters. Schools will have the flexibility to offer off-time table courses and variations to the quarter system to meet individual program needs such as for International Baccalaureate, secondary students at Kamloops School of the Arts and the Trades and Transitions programs. The quarter system will allow for fewer transitions, staggered breaks and it will facilitate learning group timetabling to meet the health and safety requirements. 

6. **NEW** How and when will my child attend school on the first day? How will the first day of school work? Will there be staggered start/end times for elementary students? If so, when will parents be notified about the schedule? How many days a week and what hours a day my child will be returning to school. Is it the same as before 8:30-2:30 Monday-Friday?

The details for your child’s first day of school will be provided by your school. School staff will be contacting you on Sept. 8 or 9 to provide you with this information.

7. **NEW** Will students be receiving an updated course timetable showing the quarters and the 2 classes for each quarter, prior to starting Sept 10/11th either via email or MyEd?

 Student timetables will be shared with students on their first day of attendance at school, either on Sept. 10 or 11

8. **NEW** Will there be full day instruction on both days for elementary and high-school on September 10 and 11?  Or is this time to be assigned for small groups of students on one of the days to receive some orientation and safety instruction and get their schedules with full time start on Monday, September 14?
Both Sept. 10 and 11 are full days of orientation for both elementary and high-school, but students will only attend on one of the days. The date for orientation and the information on learning groups will be provide by school staff on Sept. 8 or 9.

9. **NEW** Just wondering what the plan is for lunch breaks? Can students go off campus or must they bring lunches and remain at school?

Students will remain in their learning group during recess, lunch and break times. Elementary students can socialize with a friend in a different learning group if they are outside and minimize physical contact or if they are inside and are able to maintain physical distance. Middle and secondary students must consistently maintain physical distance in all environments. In situations where physical distancing cannot occur outside of cohorts, non-medical masks must be worn.

Microwaves will no longer be available in common areas.

10. **NEW** Please explain the quarter system. If students will take two courses instead of four, does this mean students, including those in Grade 9, won’t have a full day of school?

In the quarter system or Copernican system, students will be enrolled in two classes a day for ten weeks for four quarters. They will attend for the full day. The quarter system will allow for fewer transitions, staggered breaks and facilitates learning group timetabling to meet the health and safety requirements.

11.**NEW**   What is the class size going to be for elementary and middle school?

Class sizes remain the same, 20 to 29 (depending on grade) for elementary and 24 to 29 for middle school (depending on subject).

12. **NEW**  How will lockers work?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 26), “The use of lockers in schools will be suspended until September 30, 2020 to avoid hallway gatherings. Locker use will be revisited for consideration during the winter season.”

13. **NEW** Will we be getting school supplies lists? How will communal school supplies be provided, as they are in previous years? 

As in prior years, school supplies are provided at nominal fee for all for elementary and middle school students. High school students will receive a supply list from their teachers.

14. **NEW** There is a rumour going around that kids will only be back two days a week. Is this true?

Students will attend for one day during the first week only. Beginning Sept. 14 school resumes to full-days, every day. Your school will provide you with a specific bell schedule.

Learning Groups

1. What is a learning group?

On the advice of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), students and staff will be organized into learning groups, or cohorts. This reduces the number of close, in-person interactions and supports a full return to in-class instruction for most students.

A learning group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout the school quarter, semester or year, and who primarily interact with each other. A learning group could be made up of:

  • A single class of students
  • Multiple classes that sometimes join together for additional learning activities
  • A group of secondary school students with the same courses

Learning groups can also include staff: Teachers, Specialist support staff and/or Education Assistants (EAs).

2. What is the rationale for learning groups?

Compared to other public settings, schools have a relatively consistent set of people accessing the building. The majority of those people are children, who are at lower risk of COVID-19 infection. By introducing learning groups, schools are further reducing the number of interactions between students and staff.

Schools have a comprehensive set of safety measures in place, including enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, frequent hand washing and/or sanitizing, and policies that require students and staff to stay home if they are ill.

Other public settings do not have these features and measures in place, and rely on stricter social distancing and mask requirements.

 How will learning groups function during the school day? 

Students will remain in their learning group during recess, lunch and break times. Elementary students can socialize with a friend in a different learning group if they are outside and they minimize physical contact; or if they are inside and are able to maintain physical distance. Middle and secondary students must consistently maintain physical distance in all environments. In situations where physical distancing cannot occur outside of cohorts, non-medical masks must be worn.

 3.  How big are learning groups?

  • Elementary: 60
  • Middle: 60 and 90
  • Secondary: 120

4.  What will learning groups look like at different schools?

  • Elementary School: Elementary schools will still be organized into classrooms as students’ primary learning environment. The learning group of 60 could be two classes that work together on shared projects, or up to three primary classes that go outside together on a regular basis
  • Middle School: Middle schools that follow an elementary school model (one classroom with one teacher) will be organized like elementary schools. Middle schools that follow a junior high model (students move between classes and take a range of subjects taught by different teachers) will be re-organized to limit students to learning groups of no more than 60 students and staff.
  • Secondary School: Secondary school students will continue to be organized in classrooms. School timetables will be organized to limit students to learning groups of no more than 120 students and staff. For example, students in a learning group might take some of their courses together, and then take separate electives outside of their learning group where they would need to practice physical distancing from other students. Secondary schools will be able to re-organize learning groups after each quarter or semester. Larger secondary schools may have to offer a blend of in-class and remote instruction.

5. Will Brock Middle school students be in learning groups of 60 or 120?

Brock Middle School students will be in learning groups of 90.

6. Will siblings all be restricted to the same learning groups?

No.

7. How will the children be kept in cohorts to minimize contact with other groups of children, how will this be enforced during lunch and playtime?  How does this work for a school with 300 children? 

Students may be assigned different areas at break and lunch, and use separate entrances and exits, if they cannot maintain physical distancing.  Breaks and/or lunches may also be staggered so fewer students are in areas at the same time.

8. I am trying to imagine what the return to school looks like and am having a tough time understanding “cohorts”.

Descriptions of possible learning group cohorts can be found here. Each school is currently working to structure learning group cohorts that will best meet the needs of the majority of students while adhering to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education and the Health Authority. Specific school information about learning groups will be available from the school principal after August 31.

9. Will the implementation of learning groups affect timetables?

Some secondary schools may change how they offer courses. For example, a student takes two courses at a time every 10 weeks and then continues a rotation of two courses every 10 weeks. Some schools may supplement in-class instruction with online, self-directed or remote learning where course offerings cannot be delivered through learning groups or physical distancing.

10. **NEW** Can we make requests regarding who is in our child(ren)’s learning group? What if there are circumstances like needing to stay away from bullies or making sure children who share the same after-school care are together?

School principals will determine learning groups. If you have specific concerns regarding your child(ren)’s learning group please contact your school principal after Aug. 31

11. **NEW** How does the 120 person cohort (without physical distancing and/ or masks within) reconcile with the need to keep contacts at 60 per cent or less than normal?

COVID-19 virus has a very low infection rate in children (ages 0 to19). In BC, less than 1 per cent of children tested have been COVID-19 positive, and even fewer are suspected to have been infected based on serological testing.

According to our Provincial Health Officer, and the BC Center for Disease Control, most children are not at high risk for COVID-19 infection. Children under 10 comprise a smaller proportion of the total confirmed child cases compared to children between the ages of 10 and 19. Based on published literature to date, the majority of cases in children are the result of household transmission by droplet spread from a symptomatic adult family member with COVID-19.

Compared to other public settings, schools have a relatively consistent set of people accessing the building. We know who is in each of our schools and we are requiring parents and staff to do a health assessment each morning before leaving for school.

Learning groups further reduce the number of interactions between students and staff.

The PHO order on mass gatherings does not apply to schools, as events are defined in the order as an irregular gathering, like a party or celebration.

12. **NEW** Will middle and secondary students be moving between classes and, if so, how will the schools limit contact to the learning groups?  Will students perhaps be doing fewer subjects to restrict movement?

Middle and secondary students will move between classes with their learning groups. 

13. **NEW** When will we have a clear picture on the learning groups?

This detail will be provided by the school on Sept. 8 or 9.

14. **NEW** Why does Brock Middle School have 90 students in its learning groups?

At Brocklehurst Middle School, the learning group size of grade sevens is 60, while students in grades eight and nine will have larger learning groups to mirror that of other secondary schools and allow for greater course selection.

Masks

1. Will there be a mask requirement?

Masks will be required for staff, middle and secondary students in high traffic areas such as buses and in common areas such as hallways or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained. Exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

The Provincial Health Officer does not recommend mask for elementary children. More information is here.

2. Will schools be providing students, at a minimum, with two surgical masks a day, and provide them with proper instructions for using them?

Each student will be provided with two reusable, non-medical masks. Additional disposable non-medical masks will be available on an as-needed basis. Students will receive health and safety instructions during the orientation week.

3. Can a student wear a mask if they have anxiety about not wearing one?

Yes.

4. **NEW** Are Kindergarten students required to wear masks?

No. Masks will not be required for elementary students

5. **NEW** Will surgical masks and other personal protective equipment like gloves and gowns be provided?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 21):

Safety eyewear are provided for first aid attendants and to others that normally require them, (e.g. trades staff).

Face shields are not a replacement for a mask and are not required by staff or students for the purpose of protection against COVID-19 in schools. Some exceptions exist, such as per specific plans or safe work procedures (e.g. personal care plans and first aid procedures).

Gloves are not being provided for the purpose of COVID-19 protection as per public health advice. There are, however, other practices which routinely require gloves and these practices should continue. Where PPE has been identified for tasks prior to COVID-19 pandemic, continue to use this PPE when preforming these tasks.

In circumstances where supporting students with disabilities and diverse abilities may require staff providing support services to be in close proximity or in physical contact with a student, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, is not required beyond that used as part of the personnel care routine.

When staff are in close physical proximity with a student within their learning group, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, is not required beyond that used as part of the personnel care routine.

Students with complex health needs may have Personal Care Plans developed in conjunction with the health authority. The same personal protective equipment needed prior to COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, and gowns, as identified and required by the health authority for implementing a student’s Personal Care Plan, continues to be required during this time of concern due to COVID-19. No additional personal protective equipment is required unless identified on a case by case basis by the health authority. For particularly complex cases, example feeding tubes, direct inquiries to the Director of Instruction – Elementary Education and Learning Services.

6.**NEW** Are face shield available for those that can't wear masks, like elementary students? 

Face shields will not be provided to students. As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 21 - 22), “Face shields are not a replacement for a mask and are not required by staff or students for the purpose of protection against COVID-19 in schools.”

7. **NEW** How can I go about receiving exemption for my children to wear masks?

 Contact your school principal.

Safety

1. How will you protect students and staff in schools? 

The key to the safe re-start of schools includes the following: consistent groups of people; strict illness policies for students and staff; ensuring everyone follows effective personal practices like handwashing. For detailed information, please read Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline - COVID-19

How will you maintain physical distancing?

Schools may use ‘spread out and stagger’ approaches to provide physical distance between students and staff:

  • Different classroom and learning environment configurations, like desk and table formations
  • Increased spacing between students in classrooms
  • Staggered recess/break, lunch and class transition times
  • Increased outside time for students
  • More individual activities or activities that encourage more space between students and staff
  • Limitations on assemblies and other large gatherings

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) advises that staff and students in a learning group do not need to physically distance from each other, but that minimizing physical contact is still important and encouraged. Staff and students should continue to practice physical distancing if they are interacting with people outside of their learning group, or if they are not part of a learning group. Schools should focus on how students and staff can move around safely.

2. As a parent, I would like to be able to see with my own eyes how things are going to look in the school and classrooms and I believe we should have this right. Will I be able to contact our admin and set up a time to come in and check things out - of course wearing a mask?

Our schools are a controlled environment to reduce the spread of communicable disease like COVID-19. All nonessential staff and members of the public are currently not entering our buildings unless approved by site administrator. At this time, we would ask that you speak with your administrator to discuss any specific concerns. There will be a reduction of items in classrooms. Hallways and entrances and exits will look different with floor markers and some may be one direction. 

3. I would like to see the plans to keep teachers and children safe , including notification of pod group, TOC teachers per/pod and safety measures. 

Protocols for health and safety are outlined in the SD73 Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools guide.

4. If a student or teacher within our child’s pod gets COVID-19, will we be notified? If they are confirmed does the entire pod have to go on 14 days of quarantine? What will that look like?

If a staff or student in a school is confirmed by public health as positive for COVID-19, public health will work with our school administrators to determine actions to be taken. These actions will be determined by public health including communication.

5. Valleyview Secondary is at about 130 or 140 per cent capacity.  That was before renovations started. I am wondering if that is being given consideration in the restart plan?

Yes, the physical space available in the school will be considered. Two additional portables were installed at Valleyview over the summer.

6. How will teachers on call (TTOCs) and education assistants (EAs) be managed?

The BC Principals and Vice Principals Association and other partners have identified this as an area that requires more discussion and development, and the logistics and safety implications are still being addressed. We recognize that the availability of TTOCs needs to be a critical component of the plan as teachers will be required to stay home if they are unwell, and that both EAs and TTOCs could be coming from outside an established learning group.

7. **NEW** Are you absolutely sure my child will be safe?

We understand parents are anxious for their children’s safety in schools. We are confident in the direction provided by our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. With her guidance, and following the parameters she has set with the Ministry of Education, we are moving forward with an approved Education Re-start Plan. This plan is supported by the Kamloops District Parents Advisory Council, the SD73 Board of Education, the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association, the Aboriginal Education Council, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

We know there are risks, and we know there may be cases of COVID-19 in our schools this coming school year.  As directed by the Dr. Henry, this plan will minimize the potential for transmission and maximize our ability to efficiently find and make sure the source of transmission is stopped. 

8. **NEW** What scientific evidence-based assurance can you provide for our children's health, well-being and safety based on each of the directives you have currently put in place as your guidelines for a safe return to school on September 10, 2020?

 COVID-19 virus has a very low infection rate in children (ages 0 to19). In BC, less than 1 per cent of children tested have been COVID-19 positive, and even fewer are suspected to have been infected based on serological testing.

According to our Provincial Health Officer, and the BC Center for Disease Control, most children are not at high risk for COVID-19 infection. Children under 10 comprise a smaller proportion of the total confirmed child cases compared to children between the ages of 10 and 19. Based on published literature to date, the majority of cases in children are the result of household transmission by droplet spread from a symptomatic adult family member with COVID-19.

Even in family clusters, adults appear to be the primary drivers of transmission.

Children under one year of age, and those who are immunocompromised or have pre-existing pulmonary conditions are at a higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19 (visit the BCCDC Children with Immune Suppression page for further details).

Children who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can still receive in-person instruction. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to consult with their health-care provider to determine their child’s level of risk. Children typically have much milder symptoms of COVID-19, if any. They often present with low-grade fever and a dry cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms are more common than in adults over the course of disease, while skin changes and lesions are less common.

9. **NEW** Will any thermal body scan or any kind of body temperature detection will be used in schools? Are they doing daily temps for staff and students at entry? Will staff be required to be swabbed, prior to returning to work, if they call in sick or are showing symptoms? Will staff be changing their clothes and shoes after entering the building and before leaving? 

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 11), There is no role for screening students or staff for symptoms, checking temperatures, or COVID-19 testing. Screening staff or students are reserved for health-care professionals. The following COVID-19 precautions and controls are in place:

Stay home if you are sick.

Any student, staff or other person within the school who has symptoms of COVID-19 OR travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak must stay home and self-isolate, including children of essential service workers.

Any student, staff, or other person within the school who has cold, influenza, or COVID-19- like symptoms should seek assessment by a health-care provider.

Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household has cold, influenza, or COVID19-like symptoms, provided the student/staff is asymptomatic.

It is expected the symptomatic household member is seeking assessment by a healthcare provider.

Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms, which are related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal. If they experience any change in symptoms, they should seek assessment by a health-care provider.

Parents and caregivers must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school. o If a child has any symptoms, they must not go to school.

Staff and other adults must assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, or COVID-19 prior to entering the school.

If staff or any adult has any symptoms, they must not enter the school. School administrators must: Ensure school staff and other adults entering the school are aware of their responsibility to assess themselves daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease prior to entering the school.

Clearly communicate with parents and caregivers about their responsibility to assess their children daily before sending them to school.

Those unsure of if they or a student should self-isolate or be tested for COVID-19 should be directed to use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.

They can also be advised to contact 8-1-1, a family physician or nurse practitioner to be assessed for COVID19 and other infectious respiratory diseases.

If concerned, they can be advised to contact the local public health unit to seek further guidance. Informing and ensuring staff and students are aware of their responsibility to self-assess is critical.

10. **NEW** Will they need to sanitize their hands before entry?

 As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 13), students and staff will be expected to wash their hands, often, including when they arrive at school and before they go home. Here are the handwashing requirements:

Students Should Wash Their Hands:

  • When they arrive at school and before they go home
  • Before and after any break – example, recess or lunch
  • Before and after eating and drinking – excluding drinking at students’ desk
  • Before and after using an indoor learning, space used by multiple cohort’s example gym, music room, science lab etc.
  • After using the washroom
  • After sneezing or coughing into hands
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty

Teachers, Administrators and Support Staff Should Wash Their Hands:

  • When they arrive at school and before they go home
  • Before and after any breaks e.g. lunch
  • Before and after eating and drinking
  • Before handling food or assisting children with eating
  • Before and after giving medication to a student or self
  • After using the washroom  
  • After contact with body fluids (i.e. runny noses, spit, blood, vomit).
  • After cleaning tasks
  • After removing gloves
  • After handling garbage
  • Whenever hands are visibility dirty

11.**NEW** Will sanitation stations be available at 6ft intervals or on each desk as to avoid entering someone else's 6ft space? 

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 14), hand sanitizer will be made safely available, and is considered an alternative only when a sink is not available.

“If a sink is not available, use hand sanitizer with 60%-70% alcohol agent. Please note, this is not as effective as washing hands with soap and water. Antiseptic agents are to be used as a last line of defense only. If hands are soiled with visible contamination, they must first be washed with soap and water. The hand-sanitizer may then be used to further reduce the microorganism load on the skin.”

12.  **NEW**   If a school is not following the safety rules in place, and a staff member, a child or a parent brings this to the attention of the principal, will they be heard? As a parent how do we hold the school to these safety practices? What are the penalties if the school is NOT following safety protocols?

 If you have concerns in this regard, first speak to your child’s teacher. If you feel you need to take the matter further, please speak to the principal of your child’s school. If you still feel the matter needs attention, please speak to the assistant superintendent.

13. **NEW** What is the protocol with children that do not listen to the COVID protocols? How will you deal with students who have behavior challenges and have had issues with physical boundaries prior to COVID-19?

 If there is an issue regarding a student not following the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the school will contact the student’s

14. **NEW** If Casinos and other such operations are not restarting, why is it considered acceptable to return children to school? 

COVID-19 virus has a very low infection rate in children (ages 0 to19). In BC, less than 1 per cent of children tested have been COVID-19 positive, and even fewer are suspected to have been infected based on serological testing.

According to our Provincial Health Officer, and the BC Center for Disease Control, most children are not at high risk for COVID-19 infection. Children under 10 comprise a smaller proportion of the total confirmed child cases compared to children between the ages of 10 and 19. Based on published literature to date, the majority of cases in children are the result of household transmission by droplet spread from a symptomatic adult family member with COVID-19.

Compared to other public settings, schools have a relatively consistent set of people accessing the building. We know who is in each of our schools and we are requiring parents and staff to do a health assessment each morning before leaving for school.

Learning groups further reduce the number of interactions between students and staff.

The PHO order on mass gatherings does not apply to schools, as events are defined in the order as an irregular gathering, like a party or celebration.

 15. **NEW** With cases rapidly increasing in BC in the past few weeks, at what point will you consider adjustments to the current guidelines you are now implementing?

The District will continue to follow the guidance and direction of the Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Education in making any adjustments to our school plans or health and safety guidelines.

16.**NEW**  What protocols are you implementing from lessons learned relevant to COVID-19 from recent situations in other places? 

The Re-start Plan incorporates everything learned so far, including lessons from June, 2020, when schools were re-opened on a limited basis. In addition, the Provincial Health Office is monitoring the response to COVID-19 in other jurisdictions on an ongoing basis. Her guidelines and direction to the Ministry of Education are informed by this knowledge.

17.**NEW**  What is the protocol if a student becomes ill at school? Who is contacted first if a student becomes ill?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 12), the parent or caregiver will be contacted first if a student becomes ill at school. Parents or caregivers must pick up their children as soon as possible if they are notified their child is ill. The following steps are required if a student develops symptoms at home, or at school:

If a student develops symptoms at home, parents or caregivers must keep their child at home until they have been assessed by a health care provider to exclude COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, AND their symptoms have resolved.

If a student develops symptoms at school, staff must take the following steps:

Immediately separate the symptomatic student from others in a supervised area.

Contact the student’s parent or caregiver to pick them up as soon as possible.

Where possible, maintain a distance of 2 metres from the ill student. If not possible, staff may wear a mask if available and tolerated, or use a tissue to cover their nose and mouth.

Provide the student with tissues to cover their coughs or sneezes. Throw away used tissues as soon as possible and perform hand hygiene.

Avoid touching the student’s body fluids (e.g. mucous, saliva). If you do, practice diligent hand hygiene.

Staff responsible for facility cleaning must clean and disinfect the space where the student was separated and any areas used by them ( e.g. classroom, bathroom, common areas).

Contact the local public health unit to notify them of a potential case and seek further input.

18.**NEW**  How are the children protected from sick adults?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 12), school staff must stay home if they are sick. If they develop symptoms at home, they must stay home until they have been assessed by a health care provider to exclude COVID-19 or other infections diseases, AND their symptoms have resolved.

19.**NEW**  How is 6ft maintained in school based on traditional class sizes? Will group assignments will be changed to individual assignments?

A learning group is a group of students and staff who remain together throughout the quarter, semester or year and who primarily interact with each other. As recommended by the PHO, learning groups provide a range of benefits including increased peer interaction.  Physical contact will be minimized and physical distancing will not be required within this group.

20.**NEW**  Will visitors be limited to essential staff only? No PAC members? Does that mean no visiting sports teams or community educators, like people from the wildlife park or big little Science center?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 23), mandatory school site protocols will ensure controlled access and movement of people within the school. This includes rules about visitors to schools. 

  • Visitors will be prioritized to those supporting activities that benefit student learning and well-being, for example, teacher candidates, public health nurses, meal program volunteers.
  • Visitors must follow SD73 Visitor procedures (e.g. sign in at the main office).
  • Limit school visits. Visitors must phone office to make an appointment.
  • Drop off and pick up of students will be outside only and if available, located at the exterior classroom door.
  • If this is not available, a school plan will be developed to ensure limited number of students are in one area.
  • Visitors who have travelled or had any symptoms in the past 14 days should not enter the school.
  • School volunteers are not to be used in classrooms during this stage.
  • Visitors will be required to wear a face mask.

21.**NEW**  With there be a lunchtime enforcement of the 6ft of spacing? Will there be more staff as parents are not essential visitors? 

 Students will be educated on physical distancing.  Floor decals in the school will provide an example of this distance to remind students.  Staff will remind students that this is required.

22.**NEW**  How will educational assistants maintain 6ft without disturbing others in learning assistance?

CEAs will work with students to provide the support they require with as little disruption to others as possible.

23**NEW**  Is there any possibility that the school district would consider a model that would allow for smaller class sizes?

Our district is following the requirements of the Ministry of Education and the PHO.  If this is recommended in the future, this will be incorporated into our plan.

24.**NEW**  What will lunch/recess eating time supervision look like for younger students? 

Supervision will look the same for younger students, although due to staggered lunches and breaks, more adults may be available.  Supervisors will be wearing masks.

25. **NEW**  How will the schools keep our youngest students safe around food? (allergies, choking, sharing food, maintaining distance, hand hygiene)

Supervision will be available for students during breaks.  Supervisors will be available to assist students as required.

26.**NEW**  I have 4 children and due to the age differences will be in 4 different cohorts….so how does this protect my children and the others when they are exposed to each other at home?  

Schools will look different this year. They will not be open to the public, they will be controlled spaces. That means stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards will be kept and students will have contact only with others in their learning groups. This contact will not necessarily occur with everyone in their learning group every day, but it may occur over the course of a semester or the school year. There’s a lot more to say about how schools will be kept safe, and for more information, please read the District’s updated health and safety guidelines,  Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19, which are being followed in all district schools.

27. **NEW**  I am wondering if the school district has thought about half-size classes, every other day, and alternating attendance as a form of class size limit, and social distancing for students?

Our district is following the requirements of the Ministry of Education and the PHO.  If this is recommended in the future, this will be incorporated into our plan.

28.**NEW** How many children are going to be in each class per day or is there going to be alternate days for small groups of children?

 Students will learn in regular class sizes.

29.**NEW**  How will you maintain low occupancy in the hallways? Will there be a staggered bell schedule to promote less people entering and exiting at one time?

Schools have developed plans that consider controlling the movement of students during non-instructional time. These plans are specific to individual schools, accounting for their unique building floorplan and enrollment. 

30.**NEW**  Will the teachers be expected to sanitize the classrooms?

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 15-16), regular, enhanced and as needed cleaning will be performed by custodial staff. This includes:

  • Daytime custodians will disinfect contact surfaces and high contact areas.
    Custodial staff will ensure ongoing inspection and filling of hand washing supplies, including alcohol-based sanitizer dispensers in portables.
    Custodial staff will monitor supplies to ensure cleaning all necessary supplies are available. Evening custodial staff will thoroughly clean all areas.
  • Custodial staff will check the sign-in/out sheet at the main entry at every shift to monitor people who have been in the building. All areas in the school that have been accessed must be cleaned.
  • Other staff may also clean areas as needed to maintain a clean environment. If cleaning is required, staff will notify the principal or school office. Employees using district vehicles must clean and sanitize vehicles after use.
Ventilation and Handwashing

1.  I am worried about poor ventilation contributing to the spread of the virus. How is that compatible with in-classroom learning in our district?

At this time there is no evidence that a building’s ventilation system, in good operating condition, is contributing to the spread of the virus (COVID-19, Ministry of Education). Our ventilation systems are set to ensure outdoor air (intake) is open as much as possible while maintaining comfortable indoor temperature.

2.  How will you be upgrading the ventilation in portables?

Portables have their own individual HVAC systems which require outdoor air (intake) to be brought into the classroom no different than any classroom in a main building.

3. What plans are being put in place for students in portables to have access to running water and soap to allow for frequent hand washing throughout the school day?

 Hand sanitizing dispensers will be installed in each portable. 

4. **NEW**What is SD73 doing to update ventilation in all school environments before the start of classes?

SD73 heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed operated and maintained as per standards and specifications for ongoing comfort of workers (and students). (Part 4 OHS Regulation)
How do HVAC systems work in SD73?
• During the day, the systems are set to occupancy, this means that the system includes fans that continuously run for movement of air.
• Set temperatures in each building.
• Filters are changed on a quarterly schedule.
• Outdoor intakes are set at a minimum opening and adjusted according to outside temperature. Minimum standards ensure outdoor air is brought into the system (building)

Quarantine
1.  If numbers continue to increase will we go back to online learning? Will online instruction be available in the case of a possible shut down/quarantine period?

This will be the decision of the Ministry of Education and the provincial health authority. This information will be communicated by SD73 to all students and families if changes are made to the current delivery of educational service.

2.  Will there by a policy on isolation when travelling between provinces? Will there be a mandatory isolation period for students who travel?

The school district follows ministry of health guidelines and continuously ensures we are following current recommendations. At this time there is no isolation policy for traveling within provinces. New registrants from out of province will have detailed health and safety information and protocols included in their registration process.

3.  How will social distancing be enforced on playgrounds and at recess and lunch breaks?

Plans will be put in place to ensure learning groups take breaks at the same time, students can socialize with peers in different learning groups if they are outdoors and can minimize physical contact or if they are indoors and can maintain physical distancing

4. *NEW** If my child becomes ill with flu like symptoms anytime throughout the year, will they have to isolate at home for two weeks and only be able to return to school after a negative Covid-19 test? What will the protocol be if a child in the classroom ends up getting sent home with flu-like symptoms? Will the whole class have to stay home until we know there has been no Covid-19 exposure?

Any person who is ill with flu-like symptoms should remain at home until the symptoms have ceased. Persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms should contact 811 to report the symptoms and to receive direction from the public health authority. If a student develops flu-like symptoms while attending school, the student will be provided a mask (if they do not have one in their possession), separated, supervised, and a parent / guardian will be contacted to arrange pick-up. No other students will be required to remain at home. In the case of a positive Covid-19 exposure, Public Health will initiate contact tracing protocols.

5.**NEW**  If one child becomes ill with COVID-19, will everyone in the class and school go into isolation for 14 days?

As Above

6.**NEW**  If a child becomes ill in a household with more than one child, will everyone in the household be quarantined?

Any person who is ill with flu-like symptoms should remain at home until the symptoms have ceased. Persons in the same household who do not exhibit symptoms are permitted to attend school.

7.**NEW** What guideline should parents follow on when they should keep their kids home? What will be the return to school policy look like?

As above

8.**NEW** Will students need to be kept home for 2 weeks after they are sick or is a test required? Will at-home learning be provided to children if they are in isolation?

As above.  Students who are at home due to illness will be provided a home-based program.

9.**NEW** For an immune compromised child entering a new school, who has a runny nose, sneezes, and has symptoms like COVID but they are allergies. How is the district going to deal with children like this? I do not want my child being sent home because he is thought to have COVID symptoms.

Students who have a recurring illness, such as seasonal allergies, will be permitted to attend school once their symptoms have eased as a result of normal home-intervention procedures (such as taking allergy medicine).

COVID Testing
1.  What is the process to screen for sick children? 

This will be done at home. Parents are expected to assess their children daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, or COVID-19 like symptoms. Schools will continuously remind staff and students.

2.  What is the protocol for when a sick child is discovered?  

They will be separated from the class, supervised, and a parent or guardian will be contacted to pick them up as soon as possible.

3.**NEW**  Will COVID testing be made available, or done as a routine practice, for students at schools?

Covid-19 testing will not occur at schools and will only be administered by public health officials.

Cleaning Protocols
1.  What is going to be done to ensure children are not exposed to cleaning chemicals?

Cleaning/Disinfecting will occur when staff and students are not in the immediate area from our custodian team. Cleanings may occur during the day from other staff example teacher or support staff. Only products that meet rigid criteria are approved by SD73 for use in the district. The products chosen do not require any additional personnel protective equipment, for example there is no need for gloves, glasses or respiratory protection to be used with the selected products. Products were also purchased with scent considerations such as scent free or reduced scent.

2. **NEW** What cleaning products are approved for use in SD73 schools?

  • RMC Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant
  • Wood Wyant Saber Vert2Go Concentrate

3.  Is every washroom going to be cleaned after every child uses it?

General cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces (door handles, keyboards, grab bars and railings) will be completed at least twice per day twice, this includes restrooms. Extra custodial staff have been added to the daytime shifts to increase these minimums.

4. **NEW** Will there be more janitorial staff to accommodate the increased need for cleanliness? 
The Board of Education allocated an additional $1.2 million dollars towards the hiring of 18 more custodial staff to support the increased cleaning in schools?

5.**NEW** What happens with classroom clutter such as textbooks and things that can't be sanitized like communal books, blocks or toys? 
It is an expectation that this will not occur. Administrators and each school's health and safety committee will work together to ensure all spaces have limited essential items.   

Immune Compromised and Special Needs
1.  What provisions are being made for children at risk?

Equity and inclusion are a particular focus in our plan. Schools will continue to deliver support and services for students, Inclusive Education Plans will continue.

Students requiring additional support will receive full in-class instruction. Options and support for students with underlying complex medical needs will continue.

Parents of children with complex medical conditions, or underlying risk factors, are being directed to consult with their health care provider to determine their child’s level of risk regarding a return to school. Protective self-isolation is only recommended for children who are severely immune compromised, on a case-by-case basis.

2.  How will you ensure children at risk will be kept in a safe physical distance?

Kindergarten students have a gradual entry for the first week, which consists of students coming in smaller groups for a shorter duration. Times are allotted for parents and guardians to meet with the teacher to discuss their child’s learning program. Teachers and Certified Education Assistants within a child’s cohort are not required to maintain physical distancing.

3.  Is there going to be extra help for children with special needs?  How is it going to be delivered?  Will there be more support staff?  

School teams will continue to develop Inclusive Education Plans, programs and services to provide additional support to students. The delivery models and number of support staff will remain the same.

4.  How can parents be assured their children are not bringing illness home?

Health screening will be done at home by families. Teachers will have a class discussion regarding screening each morning. Students within cohorts are not required to maintain physical distancing. Sports can be played within cohorts. If students from multiple cohorts are together, physical distancing must be maintained. There will be no sporting events between schools.

School Bus Transportation
1. What is the school bus schedule? 

All students will be picked up from home or school at the normal times. Student transportation will follow health and safety precautions.

1. School bus walk limit policy to schools and buses in effect in all areas of the School District:

  • Primary students, K to Grade 3 – 4 km. to a school and 3.2 km. to a bus stop.
  • All other students, Grade 4 to 12 – 4.8 km. to a school and 3.2 km. to a bus stop.

2. Those students who have not received a bus registration card in the mail should register for transportation within the first week of school to ensure a school bus ride        for the 2020-2021 school year. Bus registration forms are available from your bus driver.

3. All bus schedules are subject to changes in the course of the school year as a result of traffic patterns, weather conditions and population density.

For further information on bus routes and schedules, please contact the School District Transportation Department at (250) 372-5853.

For Clearwater school bus schedules, please call (250) 674-3224.

2.  Will school bus transportation be affected?

The district is following the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) public health guidelines for schools, including the recommendation for student transportation on school buses:

  • Buses should be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with BCCDC guidelines
  • Buses should be loaded from back to front and offloaded from front to back
  • If space is available, each student should have their own seat unless sharing with a member of their household
  • Middle and secondary school students should wear non-medical masks
  • No student should be required to wear a mask if they do not tolerate it
  • Schools and school districts can consider a transparent barrier to separate the driver from the students
  • Schools and school districts should use consistent and assigned seating where possible
  • Schools and school districts should keep up-to-date passenger lists to share with public health if contact tracing needs to occur
Curriculum and Assessment
1. What is the plan for curriculum, assessment and report cards? 

The return to full in-class instruction in September will include the Provincial curriculum for all students at all grade levels with regular report cards and regular assessments at the classroom and provincial level. 

Staff members must ensure activities, assignments and assessments are accessible to all students and families, as appropriate for any in-class, remote or blended (hybrid) learning. School districts must meet the requirements of British Columbia’s Student Reporting Policy, which allows significant flexibility for schools and school districts regarding the content and format of report cards.

The guidelines also cover the key components of delivering K-12 education during the pandemic, including curriculum, report cards, supports for students with disabilities/diverse abilities, and finance and operations. 

Even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group. Efforts will be put in place to ensure there is not crowding, gathering or congregating of people from different learning groups in a school setting, even if non-medical masks are being worn. Schools will also ensure non-medical masks are available for staff if someone should become ill while at school.

2.**NEW**Did the district have a full plan to deliver the full curriculum, if the start of school was delayed? 

Curricular outcomes will be fully delivered commencing Monday September 14, 2020.

Extracurricular Activities

1.  Will extracurricular activities be curtailed or cancelled?

The Extracurricular activities including sports, arts and special interest clubs can only occur if physical distance can be maintained between members of different learning groups or if reduced physical contact is practiced by those within the same learning group.

Small gatherings, assemblies and concerts can only occur within a learning group. A gathering can include the full learning group (65 for middle or 125 for secondary) and the minimum number of people needed to meet the gathering's purpose. For example, a parent-teacher conference would require one parent per student and a teacher. Assemblies, concerts and other large gatherings like a guest speaker should happen virtually. 

All inter-school events including competitions, tournaments and festivals will not occur at this time.

2.**NEW** Can you confirm if the children's choir will be operating this year?  If yes, when can we expect communication on the plan for the choir.

At this time, we cannot confirm that the choir will, or will not, be operating. The choir is operated in partnership with a community organization and is not solely an SD73 group.

3.**NEW** How will SD73 be communicating with community partners and User groups, around facility rental, after school/evening users.

 All rental contracts have been suspended until September 30, 2020.

Options for Parents

NOTE: The Ministry of Education has given school districts the flexibility and certainty to find options that work for families. This includes the authority for all school boards to offer remote options to students within their districts, as well as the tools they need to increase their existing programs to meet demand. Schools will be able to provide more detail about options for parents as they connect with families after August 31. 

1. Is the return to school mandatory? Will there still be online instruction available for those who do not wish to return to school?

In Stage 2, as is currently outlined by the provincial authorities, all students are expected to return to school. Distance Learning may be available. Guardians should contact their regular school principal after August 31 to discuss program options.

2. **NEW**  Minister Fleming has indicated that there should be flexibility in order to accommodate various student and family needs, and many school districts have created the option to do a version of hybrid learning. Where is this reflected in the SD73 plan?

SD73 offers flexible learning options for those students that are not able to attend in person due to health issues or other personal circumstances.  To discuss these options, please contact the school’s principal.

3.**NEW**What are the options for parents in sending their children to school?

The hybrid model of in-class instruction and remote learning that was offered in June will not be available this fall. Parents have the option to send children to in-class instruction or they can choose Online and Distributed Learning. Online and Distributed Learning provides the BC Curriculum to students with a BC certified teacher in an online format. A third option is homeschooling, which is usually provided by a family member and this does not provide an option for a BC Certificate of Graduation or a “Dogwood Diploma”.

Parents and guardians who are considering moving their children to Online and Distributed Learning or homeschooling are asked to contact their school principal after August 31. Students moving to DL will NOT lose their spot at their current school. For planning purposes, we ask parents and guardians to notify their school to advise if their child is leaving. If there is a decision to later return to their school, they will need to re-apply for a seat in a School of Choice, or re-register in their Neighbourhood school.

4. Will the district be polling parents to get a better idea of who plans to send their children into schools?

There will not be a formal poll of parents and guardians. However, parents / guardians are asked to contact their children’s school prior to September 10th to inform the school if they do not plan to have their children attend.

5. What is the planned schedule for the first two weeks of kindergarten? Can we consider half-days for Kindergarten students?

Kindergarten students have a gradual entry for the first week, which consists of students coming in smaller groups for a shorter duration. Kindergarten students will be required to attend for full days in accordance with the School Act.

6. Return to School

Will there be essential workers registration again?

No. If your child is enrolled in a school, the return to school will be the same for all children, including the children of essential workers.

7. We are new to the school district. What should we do to register our child(ren) in school?

Parents of children new to the district are asked to register their children in person, at their school, two weeks before the start of school for secondary students, and one week before school for elementary students.

8. **NEW**  What is the plan for using the latest influx of money that will be flowed out to each district from Ottawa?
While the announcement on Aug. 25 from Ottawa to transfer funds to support schools is good news, there are few details available at this time. The District’s future planning will continue to focus on maximizing in-class instruction for all students within the revised public health guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  While we know that in-person instruction helps to minimize learning gaps and provide the academic, social and emotional supports essential for learning, additional funding may allow the district to explore other options to ensure we provide continuity of educational opportunity for all students. 

9. **NEW** Mr. Fleming stated that students who have to do distributed learning for health reasons will not lose their connection to their school. Can I be assured from Mr. Fleming’s speech, that my children will have a seat, back at their school of choice next year if they choose to do distance learning this year?

Families can expect to return to their school of choice next year if they chose other learning options for this year.  Please contact your school principal to discuss these options.

10. **NEW** Who do I contact if I would like to change my son from a school of choice to a school in our catchment?

 You can contact your school of choice principal, after August 31.

11. **NEW** If a student has an existing IEP (Individual Education Plan) will that still be in place in September?

Absolutely, and the learning assistant resource teacher will reach out to you in September to renew it.

12. **NEW** If I enroll my children in distance learning this year, will they be able to go back to their regular school if it is at capacity? 

Most schools in the district would be able to re-enroll students that have taken a DL program for a year.

13. **NEW** Why is it not possible for students who chose to return to school to attend class as normal but also have teachers provide an online option so students can receive the same teaching from home?

The option to return to a learning option similar to the one offered in June will not be offered in the province of BC.  The Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer will inform the school district of any changes to continuity of learning.

14. **NEW** What opportunities are there for input for parents? Will there be a meeting to address parents’ concerns directly?

In the development of this plan, the District consulted with its education partners including the District Parent Advisory Council, the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association, the Aboriginal Education Council, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Parents will be consulted regarding learning options for their children. Schools will be contacting each family to discuss education options for their child(ren). 

Essential Workers / New to the District
1. Will there be essential workers registration again?

No. If your child is enrolled in a school, the return to school will be the same for all children, including the children of essential workers.

2. We are new to the school district. What should we do to register our child(ren) in school?

Parents of children new to the district are asked to register their children in person, at their school, two weeks before the start of school for secondary students, and one week before school for elementary students.

Distance Learning

NOTE: The Ministry of Education has given school districts the flexibility and certainty to find options that work for families. This includes the authority for all school boards to offer remote options to students within their districts, as well as the tools they need to increase their existing programs to meet demand. Schools will be able to provide more detail about options for parents as they connect with families after August 31. 

1. Can students stay registered at their current school and do the distance learning option?

No. Online and Distributed Learning is provided through a distance learning school such as @Kool. This method of learning is not connected to your current school. It is a separate school with an alternate method of education delivery.

2. Will the distance learning option be tied to our catchment school?

No. Distance learning is provided through a distance learning school such as @KOOL. This method of learning is not connected to your current school. It is a separate school with an alternate method of education delivery.

3. What are the costs for distance learning? Is there funding available for families to purchase resources/curriculum?

All materials plus a teacher are provided by the distance learning school. For more information about what is available through SD73, check the Kamloops Open Online Learning website, also known as @Kool.

4. Will online learning be capped to a certain enrollment number?

If enrolled in @KOOL, SD73 students will be the priority if resources are limited.

5. Can you choose a distance learning option without providing a doctor’s note as to why you choose this?

 Yes, this distance learning is available without the need for a doctor’s note.

6. Is there a possibility to choose our own curriculum and be overseen by a DL teacher to ensure we are meeting grade level outcomes?

School District 73 teachers use the provincial curriculum. In order to have distance learning teacher support, a student must be registered at a distance learning school.

7. If we choose distance learning, would it be mean enrolling through @KOOL? Will it be an option for anyone who is not comfortable returning to school at this time?

Yes, distance learning is available through the Kamloops Open Online Learning website, also called @KOOL. However, we request parents and guardians inform their regular school that they are choosing this option.

8. Who can we contact regarding distance learning?

For information about distance learning options available through SD73 and for contacts, check the Kamloops Open Online Learning website, also known as @KOOL.

9. How will the district be investing in distance learning platforms and online learning resources, and in educators transitioning to distance learning?

SD73 has an established distance learning platform. Learning resources and teacher training will be provided based upon student enrolment.

10. **NEW** Are we able to do distance learning, even if it's until January or until there is a vaccine available?

Distance or distributed learning is available. Please have a conversation with your school principal to understand your options.

11. **NEW**  Is French Immersion available as a distance learning option in SD73 or anywhere in the province of BC?

French Immersion is not available online as a distance learning option anywhere in BC, including in SD73. Please contact your school to inquire about opportunities to stay connected to your French Immersion school.

School Meal Programs
1. Can our school meal program continue?

We will continue to work with community partners to provide our school meal programs, including meal support to families in need, in alignment with current public health guidelines.

School Supplies - Elementary and Middle School
School supplies (pencils, notebooks, etc.) are available at a minimum cost through your child’s school.
What Staff and Student Health and Safety Rules Are Being Put Into Place For the Return to School?

Staff and Student Health Expectations
Health and safety is a top priority. SD73 is implementing new health and safety guidelines as they are developed by the Provincial Health Office and the Ministry of Education.  

We know you are wondering what will be done to keep students and staff safe in September. The following staff and student health expectations were in place in June, during the Stage 2 re-opening of schools. These are currently being reviewed as the Stage 3 framework is developed, and they will be updated as part of the plan. We are posting them here for your information, and we will re-post them when they have been updated. 

AUGUST 2020

  • All staff will be trained in the health and safety requirements and classroom teachers will teach student health and safety expectations on the first morning of in-class instruction as aligned to the MOE K-12 Provincial COVID Health & Safety Guidelines.
  • All staff are required to maximize physical distancing where possible.
  • Adolescent students should practice physical distancing where possible.
  • Younger children should be supported to focus on minimizing physical contact.
  • Physical distancing guidelines outlined in the health and safety training will require adaptation during unstructured time, such as lunch, breaks, and recess, during physical and health education, and during entry and exiting the building.
  • Any students or staff demonstrating any symptoms of cold, flu, or COVID19 must remain at home under self-isolation.
  • If a staff member has been in a building and subsequently develops symptoms, this must be reported to the principal/supervisor immediately.
  • Staff meetings, assemblies, and other large functions should be delivered in an online or alternate format. 
  • All staff and students must follow the UPDATED SD73 Health and Safety Protocols.

SD73 Education Re-start Plan: The Path Forward July 31, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Here is some information about how students will be brought back; what steps will be taken to protect students; and why it is so important that we do everything we can to bring your children back to the classroom in September.

How we know this is a safe plan

We know that British Columbia ranks among the top jurisdictions in the world for its response to the global pandemic. Under the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the safety of BC students and staff has always been the focus.

We also know the science shows that children are at a much lower risk of contracting and transmitting the virus, and therefore the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and the Ministry of Education have determined that K-12 schools in the province can re-open safely for in-class instruction.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said, during the July 29 announcement, that organizing schools into learning groups helps to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in the event of an outbreak and allows students to return to school with low risk. Dr. Bonnie Henry says that “we’ve gone to this cohort system, because that’s how we could manage it effectively.”

We are confident that we can return to school in September while supporting the health and safety of children and adults under the guidelines published by the Provincial Health Office.

Therefore, for September, students will be placed into learning groups of 60 in elementary and middle schools, and 120 in secondary schools. The details are still being determined by individual school districts across the province, including SD73.

Please know we are committed to telling you as much as we can, as soon as we can.

What steps will be taken to protect students and teachers

Keeping everyone safe and providing for the health and well-being of students and staff during this pandemic is a priority.

We have implemented public health infection control measures including staying home when ill, physical distancing, minimal physical contact, hand hygiene and frequent cleaning and disinfection. 

There will be deep cleaning on a daily basis, bolstered by additional funding from the Provincial Government. Face masks will be provided to teachers, support staff and most students. There is increased funding to access current technology, and increased funding to ensure all students with special needs have access to adaptive technology and software.

Why it is important for students to return to school
The impact of school closures on students is profound. Global research tells us it disrupts the learning process and long-term outcomes for students.

It goes beyond learning loss. Students suffer impacts to their mental health and well-being, and some suffer from food insecurity and loss of access to health services.

Dr. Trevor Corneil, Medical Lead in the Office of our Provincial Health Officer has expressed his concerns that these impacts may affect students for the rest of their lives, and even into the next generation.

We know you have questions. Please ask them!

You can send your questions to us. We will compile an FAQ which you can access on our Parents’ Resource Page on our District website, in addition to providing you with regular updates through email.

Please take care of yourselves, and thank you.

Alison

Ministry of Education Resources for Parents 

Emergency Management BC:

Helping Kids Learn about COVID-19

Educational Videos with Questions from Kids:

Classroom Learning Activities:


COVID Colouring Contest - Kids across BC, and those young at heart, can choose a colouring sheet and enter to win a 4-person emergency kit and a set of walkie-talkies

Learn more about the WE Well-being program: https://www.we.org/en-CA/get-doing/activities-and-resources/wellbeing/

Learn more about the WE Schools @home program: https://www.we.org/en-CA/our-work/we-schools/at-home/

EASE at Home offers helpful tips for parents, like how to teach children calming breathing techniques or use structured games like scavenger hunts to build routine in a way that’s fun: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/ease

The Ministry of Education’s Erase strategy was expanded to include mental health: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase

For more information about available child and mental-health supports and contact information, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/mental-health-intake-clinics

The Ministry of Education has posted Keep Learning - a resource for families with ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources. There is information about how to help children learn and ensure their wellbeing while they’re at home. Even so, the ministry reminds us that teachers and schools still have primary responsibility for continuous learning.

Here is the news release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0026-000580

Here is a letter to parents and caregivers from Education Minister Fleming and the BCCPAC https://www.gov.bc.ca/safeschools

 SD73 Suggested Wellness Links for Parents  

Emergency Assistance

  • If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call  9-1-1  

  • BC Suicide Line: If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or visit the Crisis Centre FAQ page.

  • Kids Help Phone - Immediate support and information and if necessary referrals to community services agencies

  • KUU-US Crisis Line Society (24Hour Crisis Line for Aboriginal Adults/Elders & Youth) Toll free 1.800.588.8717

  • Native Youth Crisis Hotline (24 hour crisis line available throughout Canada) 1.877.209.1266

  • ERASE- Expect Respect and a Safe Education Reporting Tool

  • Ministry of Children and Family Development

    • If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1-800- 663-9122 at any time of the day or night

Health and Wellness

Financial Resources

Ministry of Education

Parenting Support Resources

Recommended Apps 

SD73 Resources for Parents   

Easing Your Children’s Anxiety

Anxiety, worry and concern are all normal human emotions and it is natural for them to increase during times of uncertainty. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Children and Family Development created a new teacher education program to provide age appropriate tools for children and anxiety management called EASE - Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Teachers. It has been very well received throughout the province and in this district.

In response to the current situation and with parents and guardians so involved as active daily supporters of kids in our more socially isolated COVID 19 world, the EASE materials have been adapted for your use.
These fun, easy activities and resource links are designed to be helpful in providing some ideas to support the emotional well-being of all children. You can try one idea or engage in the full set and they are beneficial to every child.
Go here to access either the Kindergarten to Grade 3 ideas or Grade 4 to Grade 7 resources.

SD73 has created this companion resource of some of our teachers reading stories that help kids understand their worries, feelings, and thoughts to go along with the EASE resources. 

Our staff are working hard to collect, vet and curate resources for parents. Here is an Elementary Parents Support Resource site that you can subscribe to, and receive updates as they are posted.

And here is a Secondary Parents Support Resource site, that you can subscribe to, and receive updates as they are posted. 

We are including this link in two places -- you will see it under support for children and teens and we are including it here too, because it is prepared by SD73 staff - We know everyone is affected, and the way adults respond will affect the way children feel about what is happening. Here is some helpful info. 

Support for Children and Teens 

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