|Dear Parents and Guardians, |
As you may know, the Premier of B.C. announced on Wednesday the gradual easing of the restrictions that have been in place in our province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these changes discussed could lead to an increase in direct learning opportunities prior to the end of this school year. Districts will be in regular consultation with the Ministry of Education to determine what this may look like in each context. Minister of Education Rob Fleming has shared the need for school districts to be responsive to the evolving pandemic threat over the next two months and into the coming school year. He has asked us to be ready to “dial up or dial down” levels of direct service in our schools in order to give the highest level of direct support possible, while still maintaining student and staff safety as the top priority. He has described these stages in the following terms:
• Stage 5 – Suspend all in-class instruction for all grades and students. Remote and online learning for all students. This is the level we experienced immediately after Spring Break;
• Stage 4 – In-class learning available for children of essential service workers and some vulnerable students. Remote and online learning continue for most students. This is the level we are currently experiencing;
• Stage 3 – In-class learning for students in kindergarten to grade 5 on a part-time basis. Some access to in-class learning for grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis, with grade 12 students being a priority. Remote and online learning will continue to be available for remaining students;
• Stage 2 – In-class learning for all students in elementary school (K to 7) on a part-time or full-time basis. In-class learning for secondary students (grades 8 to 12) on a part-time basis. Remote and online learning continues to be available for secondary students, and;
• Stage 1 – Return to full in-class instruction as we would see in normal circumstances, with additional safety measures in place as necessary.
While Minister Fleming has asked us to prepare for the possibility of moving to Stage 3 within a few weeks, he has also stated that parents will have the choice to keep students at home if they do not feel safe. Over the next two weeks we will be asking parents and guardians to indicate their interest in accessing more direct support and instruction.
Parent and guardian responses will help staff create plans for potential next steps and to organize our teachers and CEAs for the possibility of Level 3 learning commencing as early as May 25th.
Once again, we will be working closely with the Ministry of Education to work out specific details around safety, transportation, and other matters, which we will be communicating with you when we are able. Note that we are anticipating no change to the types of learning students experience in our current Home Learning Opportunities Program, should we be able to increase the level of direct support prior to the end of this school year. Please look for further communications, including an upcoming survey regarding the potential return to direct instruction. Meanwhile, please continue to be safe as we transition as a province to these decreased levels of restrictions.
Sincerely, Peter Jory,
Superintendent, CEO School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)