Parent Resource Page

Parent Resources

Information Parents Need

We know this pandemic is affecting parents and children. Interior Health information about COVID-19 school exposures and community information regarding the situation in this district can be found below. 

SD73’s Re-start Plan , approved by the Ministry of Education, can be read 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.

Our updated Health and Safety Guidelines can be found here

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


Parenting Through the Pandemic

What Schools Look Like Now

Our highest priority is the ongoing safety of students and staff. Here is an overview of what's being done in schools during this 2020-2021 school year.

 

Students are organized into Learning Groups. 

On the advice of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), students and staff are organized into learning groups, or cohorts. This reduces the number of close, in-person interactions. 

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

The numbers of students in learning groups vary by type of school:

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

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

 

Masks are required for staff and students in middle and secondary schools.

While the Provincial Health Officer requires masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces, this does not apply to schools. This is because schools are controlled environments, not public spaces. COVID-19 is primarily transmitted in home-like settings and in unstructured community settings, and increasing mask use in school at this time is not necessary.

Knowing that our current safety plans are very successful, there is no reason to increase the existing mask protocols in school. Three-layer masks are not required in schools by the Provincial Health Officer at this time.

Please continue to refer to the Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID-19 document for masks in schools.

Two reusable masks have been provided to staff. Masks will be a personal choice for some students and staff. Masks provide additional protection in a multi-layered system of protection to reduce the risk of transmission.
 
There are three types of masks that will be utilized in our schools/facilities:

  1. Surgical masks - for first aid attendants only as part of their first aid kit.
  2. Disposable non-medical masks -  for any visitors, or for staff or students who become ill and do not have a mask, or for any student or staff who forget their mask at home.
  3. Reusable non-medical masks - all staff and students will be provided with two reusable masks.

Non-Medical masks will be used when physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained, and no other controls are feasible, and when interacting with staff or students outside of their cohort. 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 cafeterias.

Those that choose to wear non-medical masks must still seek to maintain physical distance from people outside of their cohort. There must be no crowding, gathering, or congregating of people from different cohorts, even if non-medical masks are worn.

Masks are an added layer in our controlled environments and as workers, we can continue to be vigilant about wearing masks in common areas, Including entering our workplaces and any time we leave our designated work area or office. 
Please continue to ensure all other controls are being followed such as staying home when ill, washing your hands, respiratory etiquette, and keeping a safe distance from others when possible.   

 

Schools are controlled environments where the focus is on protecting the safety of students and staff. 

The key to safety in schools includes the following: consistent groups of people; strict illness policies for students and staff; ensuring everyone follows effective personal practices like handwashing. Schools are expected to follow these District Policies, which are aligned with the Provincial Health Office, the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Education: Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline - COVID-19

 If someone in a school community tests positive for COVID-19, Interior Health will coordinate actions to be taken. 

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.

 

If a student becomes ill at school, the parent or caregiver is contacted first. 

As outlined in the health and safety guidelines document, Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID -19 (p. 12), the parent or caregiver is 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.

 

Cleaning protocols are in place to ensure high touch points are kept sanitized. 

Cleaning and disinfecting occurs when staff and students are not in the immediate area from our custodian team. Teachers, students and other staff are doing their part to ensure their spaces stay clean. Only products that meet rigid criteria are approved 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. These products are:

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

Parenting Through the Pandemic

Parenting Skills for the Pandemic

We know parents and children need support in coping with the pandemic. We hope these recorded parent outreach sessions can offer some insight and comfort. Katherine Gulley is a private counsellor, and a former clinician at Child and Youth Mental Health. These are sessions she has held for the District beginning in April, 2020. 

2020-2021 School year

  • Support for parents, held April 13, discussed  ways to regulate well-being in navigating the stressors of the pandemic environment and the additional demands of supporting children's learning.

Community Agency Support

8 Tips to Support Grade 1 Readers at Home

 8 Tips to Support Grade 1 Readers at Home
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 

COVID-19 School Exposures

Interior HealthInterior Health’s COVID-19 school exposure webpage provides timely and accurate information for parents, teachers, staff and students about COVID-19 cases in schools as they occur, and details about the school notification process. 

 Updates from SD73

Nov. 27, 2020 - Why Mask Policy is Unchanged in Schools

Dear families,

 

You may have questions about the recently issued orders by the Provincial Health Officer requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces. This order does not apply to schools, because they are controlled environments, and not public spaces.

 

The school environment is controlled by relying on consistent groups of people following safety measures including staying home when sick, increased cleaning and regular handwashing,  keeping a safe distance from others when possible, and keeping students in classrooms and in their learning groups. Adults, middle and secondary students are wearing masks in common spaces.

 

Provincial health data confirms that increasing mask use in schools is not necessary because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted in home-like settings and in unstructured community settings.

 

Under the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings, adults, and middle and secondary school students are required to wear a non-medical mask, face covering or face shield in high traffic areas. This includes buses, common areas like hallways, and anytime they are outside of their learning groups whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

 

Non-medical masks are not recommended for elementary students due to the increased likelihood they will touch their face and eyes. They would also require assistance to properly put on and take off their mask, requiring increased close personal contact from school staff.


While the guidelines do not require masks in all circumstances in our schools, the guidelines do not prohibit the wearing of masks. Students are welcome to choose to wear a mask outside of the recommended guidelines.

 

Even if masks are worn, there must be no crowding, gathering, or congregating of people from different cohorts. This includes groups of parents and students on school grounds during pick up, drop off and lunch breaks.


We must remain vigilant in maintaining the controlled environments in our schools. We ask you to continue ensuring steps are being taken, including keeping your child home when ill and following our visitor protocol if you should be required to come to school.

 

If you have questions please visit our Parent Resource page. In addition, Interior Health’s COVID-19 school exposure webpage contains timely and accurate information about COVID-19 cases in schools as they occur.  

The health and safety of students, families and staff are our continuing priority. We appreciate your continued support.  

 

Terrence S Sullivan Ph.D
Superintendent of Schools 

Nov. 17, 2020 - RE: School Community Member Tested Positive for COVID-19

Dear families:

As you may have heard, a member of the NorKam school community has tested positive for COVID-19. They are self-isolating at home with support from the local public health teams. Our thoughts are with them and with their family during this difficult time.

The District is following the processes established by Interior Health to respond to this pandemic. A letter was sent to all parents and staff at the NorKam school community this past Sunday. Out of an abundance of caution, the District custodial detail team provided an enhanced cleaning of NorKam last weekend.


Interior Health will coordinate ongoing communication related to this situation, and the District will support them. It is important to note that only Interior Health can determine who is a close contact.

Our continuing priority is the health and safety of students, families, and staff. The virus is in the community – and there is an ongoing need for calm, care, and caution as we each do our part to keep each other safe in our community and schools.

We remain committed to ensuring our schools and workplaces are controlled environments, following the procedures outlined in the  Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools Guideline – COVID-19. They are based on the recommendations and direction of the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Provincial Health Officer, and the Ministry of Education. It is important that we maintain the security of our buildings and workplaces.

Safety measures have been proven to work well in schools because they are controlled environments that have consistent groups of people. Safety measures include students (and staff) staying home when they are sick, increased cleaning in schools, regular handwashing, wearing masks in common spaces for adults, middle and secondary students, keeping a safe distance from others when possible, and keeping students in classrooms and learning groups.

Please refer to the School District website to remain current with respect to any new information regarding our response to the virus.

I want to acknowledge the professionalism of our teachers and staff during these last few months. They are providing the essential service of education to our children and youth through this pandemic. Their remarkable effort is making a difference.

Schools bring a much-needed sense of continuity, stability, and security to our communities. This will continue to be important if we are called on to respond to additional cases of COVID-19 in our schools. Your support has been critical as we address all the challenges presented by this virus. We will continue to need your support in the weeks ahead.

Terrence S Sullivan, Ph.D
Superintendent


Parent Resources – General

 Understanding ADHD - Video Presentation

In this presentation (view here), Dan shifts mindsets from the symptom focused Outside-In Perspective; to the Inside-Out Perspective which provides a simple and useable understanding of ADHD brain function. The ADHD Inside Out Framework that he has developed allows participants to understand and respond to ADHD properly; what’s more, it explains ADHD in simple terms, which makes the Framework useable by anyone who encounters ADHD.

Dan offers strategies to help your student succeed in an educational setting.

Dan Duncan is an ADHD Coach/Consultant who coaches privately through his business ADHD Inside Out. He works in association with the BC Interior ADHD Clinic, and UBCO as an academic strategist.

Dan was diagnosed with ADHD in his 30’s. Together with his wife, he raised two sons - one has ADHD, the other does not. The son with ADHD is in his first year of full-time teaching as a grade 9 teacher, while his other son is completing a Masters degree.

  

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