Does your child ride the bus?

As planning continues for school re-start on Monday, June 1, School District No. 83 (North-Okanagan-Shuswap) transportation department has important information for the parents of any child who will be riding the bus.

Student pick up and drop off times will remain the same for their return to school on June 1st. However, due to lower ridership, parents are requested to please have their children at the bus stop a minimum of five minutes early in the morning.  In addition, some high school students may return home a little earlier in the afternoon because fewer people are riding the bus.

Parents who have indicted their child will be riding the bus to school will be receiving an email directly from the SD83 Transportation Dept. with finalized information, later today or early Saturday. Please keep an eye out for it.

Drivers please be aware school zones are in effect. For the safety of all, we ask that everyone remember the importance of stopping for a school bus with red lights activated (We Stop – You Stop), please don’t rush the bus, and ensure you not driving distracted around our students or the bus.

Thank you!

Survey closing, finalizing plans for voluntary classes

The survey to determine who is planning on their child(ren) returning to school on a part-time basis, and whether bus transportation is needed, will be closing at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.

This will give the schools a bit of time to finalize plans before students return to school on Monday, June 1. If you have not yet filled in the survey please do so here:

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR K-5 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR GRADES 6-12 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

It would be appreciated if you respond to the survey even if you are not planning on your child returning to class at this time.

After May 28, SD83 asks parents and caregivers to contact their child’s school directly if they change the status of whether their child is attending, or not attending, school. Each week school teams will create weekly class organization structures within the 50% normal classroom limits so this information is critical to planning. Also, after May 28, if your child is a bus student please ensure you also register with transportation (250 832-9415) so that they know who to expect on the bus.

Just a friendly reminder that as of Monday, June 1 our school buses are back on the road, school zones are in effect, and school playgrounds are in use during the school day.

Our staff and students will be following many safety protocols around health checks, handwashing, spacing, equipment use and cleaning. We ask for your support in ensuring your child is not sick if attending school, and in driving safely around our buses and schools. We are also asking the public to not use our schools and playgrounds during school hours as we will be working hard to keep student and staff density low and ensuring safety protocols are followed. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated as we do our best to keep everyone safe. Thank you!

Much organization and thought has gone into preparing our schools including:

  • Surveying all families to see if they intend to send their children to school, and how often.
  • Follow up communication to families that have not completed the survey to ensure all families are contacted regarding their intentions for June.
  • Inform parents which days their children will attend
  • Reduce kindergarten to grade 5 Home Learning support and interactions for May 25-29 to allow teachers and staff to set-up classrooms and prepare to receive students
  • Have Health and Safety Teams at each school review the site-based safety plans
  • Put in place health and safety procedures at each school
  • Have every school staff ‘practice’ the week before return to in-class instruction. This will allow us to identify any improvements we need to make before the return of students.
  • Follow Ministry Guidelines around maximum class sizes (50%) and school densities (50% for K to 5) and (20% for Grade 6 to 12) and strategies to minimize physical contact
  • Organize custodial staff for daytime cleaning supports in each school to accommodate occupancy

Did you see our survey?

SD83 recently sent an email and survey to all our parents (with an email listed with their children’s school). By any chance did we miss you?

With the positive news about the decline in COVID-19 comes recent direction from the Ministry of Education to re-open our schools effective June 1, 2020, to provide additional in-class instruction. Parents will still have the option of keeping their children at home, and some home learning opportunities will continue on-line until the end of the school year.

Stage 3 of the Ministry plan allows for students in kindergarten to grade five to attend up to two to three days per week, with students in grades six through twelve attending up to one day per week. Schools will be open five days a week for children of Tier 1 Essential Services Workers and students requiring additional supports. Busing will be available with capacity limits in place.

We are following all Health and Safety Guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafe BC and the Ministry of Education in order to ensure that our schools are safe places to learn and to work. These guidelines include having no more than 50% of students in attendance in grades K-5 and no more than 20% of students in grades 6-12 at any given time.

In order to meet all of the Health and Safety Guidelines, including the limits described above, we will need to know which students will be returning to schools in the coming weeks. Additional surveys will follow shortly to gather more specific information as June 1st draws closer.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR K-5 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR GRADES 6-12 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

Thank you!

Virtual parent meeting to talk about math!

What is all this math that teachers are sending home? Where are all the worksheets? What is my child supposed to be doing? How do I know if they are on track? What happens if they don’t learn everything this year?

SD83 invites all parents to join us in a virtual meeting on May 12 at 6 p.m. to talk about the kinds of math that SD83 is hoping students can be working on during this home learning time and how that matches with the math we have included on our home learning opportunities pages.

changed math meeting

To join the virtual meeting just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12th please click here: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OTZlNzJkYTEtODA0Yy00MTY2LTljMjgtNjY2ZjQxYjAxYzVl%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2287a1ffa4-963f-450e-8d90-155de78d9be5%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22ae0930ac-c822-4a6b-91ca-ae7bf9cb0ffc%22%7d

We will talk about things to watch for as your child works on the math, and how you can support their learning. The focus will not be on how to actually do the math, although in the Q &A we can certainly help with that, but on questions you can ask your child to help them deepen their understanding of the concepts they are working on.

We will discuss the different types of math activities that you might be seeing sent home, including why these activities were selected and how your child can use them. We will also spend some time talking about ways to help them learn basic facts.

There will also be question and answer opportunities through the virtual meeting. Bring your questions and join us for a rich mathematical discussion. If you would like to email your questions ahead of time, please send them to vedgell@sd83.bc.ca with Parent Math Night question as a subject.

Easing children’s anxiety

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Health’s EASE team has been hard at work adapting EASE classroom activities for use at home by parents and caregivers to support children’s mental health and continuous learning.

EASE at Home is a collection of fun and practical strategies to help guide parents and caregivers in managing their children’s anxiety and worries in the comfort of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The links below include suggestions for fun and engaging activities:

EASE at Home – Grades K– 3

EASE at Home – Grades 4 – 7

For more everyday activities and resources to help support continuous learning while families are home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, view the Ministry of Education’s Keep Learning BC website https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/ and First Nations Education Steering Committee’s website. http://www.fnesc.ca/continuous-learning/

More information is available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/ease

Supporting essential services

Part of the government’s direction to school districts during this challenging time is to provide some support for the children of Tier 1 essential service workers who have no other child care options. This has caused some confusion with parents as many are on the essential services list, but not necessarily in the Tier 1 group. Hopefully the following information will help provide clarity.

Click on this link for more details.

Calling all families

teacher calling

We just wanted to let parents know that with the unprecedented number of phone calls teachers are making to students and parents, many of these calls will not be coming from our school phone number.

Some of the calls may show up as No Caller ID.

Some will show up on your call display as (236) 600-9089.

Please answer as it will be a teacher attempting to contact you. Thanks!

If you missed Monday’s letter to parents explaining about the phone calls please click here.

Taking steps to keep kids learning during in-class school suspension

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, B.C. has suspended all in-class instruction until further notice. This means as spring break ends, please do not bring your children to school.

On Monday, March 30 parents will be receiving an emailed letter from SD83 with further information and initial learning opportunities for your child. Staff will be working this week to assess needs and further develop plans.
You will soon be contacted by telephone by your child’s teacher.

SD83 would also like to share this information received from the Ministry of Education:

New guidelines for school leaders and a new website are being introduced to support B.C.’s K-12 students while in-class education is suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This is a challenging time for families in B.C. as we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it is vital students have a sense of routine and continued opportunities to learn while they are at home,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “These guidelines will ensure the needs, health and safety of students are put first as school leaders actively plan to serve the unique needs of their communities.”

While in-person classes are suspended, the B.C. school system remains open to continue to support students and families in a variety of ways. Note that parents should not bring their children to school on Monday, March 30, 2020, as they usually would after spring break.

However, essential frontline health-care workers, like those directly involved in patient care, who need urgent care for their school-aged child the week of March 30 are advised to contact their school principal as soon as possible to discuss care arrangements available during the first week back after spring break. Other parents who are deemed an essential service worker and who may need child care for their school-age children can expect to hear from their school regarding care options by Friday, April 3, 2020. Schools will be doing their best to accommodate urgent child care needs while meeting the guidelines and directives of the provincial health officer.

Since there are many students who will have challenges working online, schools have been directed to look at alternative approaches for continued learning that will fit with the individual needs and circumstances of their communities. School leaders are actively working on these plans, and families will hear from their school superintendent and/or school principal in the coming week with an update on their timelines.

Government is working with all 60 school boards, independent school authorities, First Nations schools, teachers, school leaders, support staff, public health officials and all education partners on a co-ordinated approach. Guidelines for developing education plans for students will follow these principles:

  1. Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students, families and employees.
  2. Provide the services needed to support children of essential workers.
  3. Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
  4. Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.

These principles will also guide planning and support for students who need extra learning support or those with disabilities, important services like meal programs and child care services operating on school grounds.

“Boards of education across the province are working on ways to ensure continuity of learning in their communities,” said Stephanie Higginson, president, BC School Trustees Association. “Local boards of education understand the unique needs in each community. That local connection will be key as boards roll out plans tailored to each school district in the province.”

While teachers and schools will have primary responsibility for continuous learning, government has launched Keep Learning BC. This is a central place where families can find ideas for everyday educational activities, annotated links to free learning resources, as well as how to help children learn and how to ensure their well-being while they are at home. Keep Learning BC is available at: www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/

The Keep Learning BC website will have helpful guides to maintain routines and stay safe online, giving parents information about how talk to their children about COVID-19, along with other mental health resources to manage stress or anxiety. A comprehensive set of frequently asked questions is also available, with continuous updates about school services and programs as things progress: www.gov.bc.ca/safeschools/

Fleming added, “While it’s important for kids to keep learning, there is no expectation that we can duplicate a normal school day at home, and every family will need to figure out what works best for them, in discussion with their children’s teachers. I understand that many children are experiencing anxiety, while also missing their teachers and friends, and that’s why it’s important they know the actions we’re taking are designed to keep everyone safe, and we will return to regular school life down the road. By working together and supporting each other, we will get through this.”

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, said, “We are proud of the parents, families and school communities who are working together to keep their children safely at home, and recognize how important it is for children to have continued learning opportunities in these challenging times. Parents who are health-care workers are also eagerly waiting for support, and it’s our job to work as a team to make sure they can continue their essential services.”

Quote:

Andrea Sinclair, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils —

“The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is truly appreciative of the united effort that is being undertaken across the education sector resulting in the continuity of an educational program while our children are at home. Parents understand that alternative instruction plans are being created to best meet the needs of children and that learning will vary by grade, district and region. As we try to maintain a daily routine in our homes, including academics and recreation, parents acknowledge that educators play a critical role supporting our children during this extraordinary time.”

Quick Facts:

  • On March 17, 2020, under the direction of the provincial health officer, all schools were ordered to immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice.
  • Every student in K-12 will receive a final mark for the 2019-20 school year, and all students who are on track to move to the next grade will do so in the fall. Every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this school year will also graduate. On average, about 45,000 students graduate every year.
  • The Ministry of Education is also working across government to ensure all students graduating high school will have a smooth transition to post-secondary education.

Learn More:

Students, parents, guardians and teachers can find learning resources and accurate, timely information about schools, programs and educational services, including regularly updated frequently asked questions at: www.gov.bc.ca/SafeSchools/

A new website is constantly being updated with the latest information: www.gov.bc.ca/COVID19

The best source of COVID-19 health information can be found at the BC Centre for Disease Control website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

For non-health-related questions, please visit www.gov.bc.ca/COVID19, email servicebc@gov.bc.ca, or call 1 888 COVID-19

For those who think they have symptoms of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has developed an online self-assessment tool at: https://covid19.thrive.health
People with symptoms can also call 811 to pre-arrange health testing.

If children are struggling with a problem big or small, encourage them to call the Kids Help Line, a free resource available at 1 800 668-6868.

For a traditional Chinese translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Continued_Learning_during_COVID19_Mar27.Chinese.pdf

For a Punjabi translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/COVID19_March27_Continued_Learning_during_COVID_Punjabi.pdf

The letter from the Government of B.C. can be found here

Playgrounds, courts closed

School District No. 83 has joined other school districts and local governments across the province in closing its playgrounds to combat the spread of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, March 24 SD83’s playgrounds, tennis courts and sports courts at all SD83 sites will be closed. Pathways and fields remain open and the district urges all to follow the Provincial Health Officer’s requirements on physical distancing.

SD83 will continue to work to support Municipal, Provincial and Federal guidelines around everyone’s safety.

School, Travel and COVID-19

Late Thursday afternoon (March 12) we received some important information from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry around schools and COVID-19.

LETTER FROM DEPUTY MINISTER OF EDUCATION SCOTT MACDONALD

  • First, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) advised that there is no plan at this time to close public schools in the province. It is therefore anticipated that public schools will remain open after spring break. The PHO advises that closing schools is not appropriate or advised at this time. Health Minister Dix added, public health officials will be working with stakeholders in the education sector during spring break to continue monitoring the pandemic and B.C.’s response to it.
  • Second, Dr. Henry strongly advised against all non-essential travel out of the country, including travel to the United States. She noted that those who do choose to travel out of the country will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
  • Finally, Dr. Henry also urged organizers to cancel any social gatherings consisting of more than 250 people, which would mean that any planned large school assemblies, concerts or other events should not proceed.

As this situation changes daily, if not hourly, we ask that you please ensure you check the school district’s website at http://www.sd83.bc.ca before students return from Spring Break on March 30th.

Here is the joint statement – https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0077-000484

SCHOOL CLOSURES – Important reminder on school closures: Decisions about school closures should made by public health officials in cooperation with school districts and the Ministry of Education. All schools should be following the school closure guidelines and protocols currently in place.

Pandemic Response Framework and Planning Guidelines https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/healthyschools/pandemic_response_framework.pdf 

While there have been a small number of school closures in B.C. this week, medical health officers have not advised that those steps are necessary.

 Useful Links