As mailed out by our Superintendent:
Earlier this week the press release from the Government of BC with details about additional health and safety measures and the delayed return to school for students until January 10.
While the return to school following Winter Break has been delayed for students, on Tuesday, January 4 principals and school staff will be back at work. Their primary goal will be to review updated health and safety protocols and plan for school start-up on Monday, January 10. While no instruction will take place from January 4-7, schools will be open for a limited number of students. This will include children with diverse abilities and students whose parents or guardians are essential healthcare workers. The Ministry of Education has also asked districts to try to accommodate the children of other essential workers, including teachers and school staff, as capacity and staffing levels allow. And while you may be reaching out to them now, please know that your principal will not have a full assessment of staffing levels at your child’s school until Tuesday morning.
We have seen the impact on society over the holidays of the more transmissible COVID-19 Omicron variant with an increase in cases and subsequent impacts on businesses, such as thousands of flights being cancelled due to staffing shortages. We have been asked to evaluate staffing impacts with potential increases in absences in the District due to COVID-19 infections. Schools reflect what is happening in the community and there is a possibility that, at some point, we will experience what is called a functional closure – that is, when there is insufficient staff to provide instruction and appropriate supervision.
Evaluating the impacts on staffing, preparing for the event of a functional closure, and implementing strategies for additional safety measures will take time next week and I thank you in advance for your patience. I acknowledge there will be many more questions in the days to come. You can expect further communication later next week, in advance of the full return to school on Monday, January 10.