Update: Optional partial return to school
May 15, 2020
Dear students, parents and staff,
Last week we reached out to let you know that the province had announced its BC restart plan, including sharing news of an upcoming shift in the return to school process.
All week we’ve been working hard to map out ways to safely and efficiently facilitate that plan – part of that hinging around follow-up information we just received from the government today.
Here’s what we now know we’re working to achieve:
- The shift to Phase 3 – the continuation of remote learning for many, and the part-time, voluntary return to in-class instruction for some – is on-track to start on Monday June 1.
- For families who make the choice to send their kids back for the partial return, the goal will be to provide instruction at a 50% level for kids in K-5, and at 20% for those in grades 6-12.
- Students who are already accessing schools 5 days a week and/or for full days (kids from families of essential service workers, vulnerable students and those with diverse needs and abilities) will continue to have access at the current level of in-class instruction.
- And, as announced by the Premier today, the Provincial Health Officer has decided that it is now safe enough for us to plan for September at a phase 1 level: a full return to in-class instruction for K-12.
Included in today’s news are rigorous new rules that will ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and families – developed under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer and alongside Worksafe BC. There will be reduced numbers of kids in classes, staggered lunches and drop off times, increased access to handwashing stations, additional mandates around cleaning and disinfecting schedules, and more.
For additional details on the provincial announcements made today, please read their full press release here: 2020PREM0026-000890
What’s next? Principals will send out a survey today. They need your responses to that as soon as possible: it will enable them to calculate appropriate numbers and figure out what the exact schedule at your school should be. Then together, we will take the information you’ve provided, and the requirements and guidance shared today and set the final pieces of our New West plan in place. That will be submitted to the Ministry of Education for final approval on May 25th, with the voluntary return on-track for the following week.
Again: it will be your choice as a parent to decide what the best option for your family will be. We know many will continue with remote learning. And we’ll ensure that every child, no matter which path you choose, will continue to receive equitable opportunities to continue their learning.
And I want to thank you. Thank you for the patience you’ve shown and for the outstanding efforts to work collaboratively through a challenging time.
In continued appreciation,
Superintendent of Schools / CEO