By Manu Madhok, Superintendent of Schools
As we officially end our Spring Break and join the collective effort of British Columbians to ‘flatten the COVID-19 curve,’ we, like school districts around the country, are entering into uncharted territory.
I want to share some context of our current situation and provide some details of what parents can expect over the coming weeks.
• In-Class Learning in all BC schools was suspended Wednesday, March 18th. This means thatstudents will NOT be in schools on Monday, April 6th. There are no timelines or dates for a returnto the regular school year.
• BC School Districts have been asked to focus on the following four priorities, listed in priority, over the coming weeks:
1. Ensuring the health and safety of our students, families and employees.
2. Provide services to support the children of essential workers in our communities.
3. Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
4. Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.
• Our focus next week is on ensuring that our Health and Safety protocols are understood and practiced by all employees and so our schools will be closed to the public until further notice.
Parents can expect updates from their school on a process to pick up student materials which will begin the week of April 14th.
• Our schools will be using the beginning of the coming week to schedule conversations with
teachers and support staff in small groups to:
1. Review health and safety protocols.
2. Allow teachers to pick up materials and supplies to help them with their planning and establish a school parent communication plan.
• Schools will also be beginning their planning to support our most vulnerable students.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AS A PARENT/GUARDIAN?
• You and/or your child can expect to be contacted by one of your child’s teachers in the coming week. Teachers want to connect with their students to check in on how they are doing and talk about next steps. Please note that if you see an incoming blocked telephone number, it could be your child’s teacher.
• We are attempting to determine the best fit for most families as we proceed with continued instruction and we know that for many families that will not be a digital solution. Please expect these types of questions from your teacher as they will help us design the best solutions for your children.
• Please know that this new type of interaction with teachers will not replace or look like regular instruction in a classroom. We will be doing our best to engage our students and families with creative ways to learn, but I want families to know that this will not look like a regular school day.
• We will continue to provide regular updates to our families on our websites and social media feeds.
• Please be patient with our educators as this type of interaction with students and families is new
to them as well.