A student walks off the bus at the Bancroft Elementary School in Montreal, on Monday, August 31, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

A student walks off the bus at the Bancroft Elementary School in Montreal, on Monday, August 31, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

SD73 educators provide update as students return to class

Remaining students will return to class Jan. 10

As students get ready to go back to school after an extended holiday break, letters from local schools were sent to parents regarding back-to-school updates from Kamloops-Thompson School District 73.

Students will return to face-to-face learning on Jan. 10, with “enhanced safety measures” that will take effect the same day:

– All school events and assemblies will be virtual, as well as adult-only meetings, whenever possible;

– Visitors to the school will also be limited to those providing a direct benefit to student learning and well-being;

– Spectators are no longer permitted;

– Break times may be staggered and classes may use designated doors; and

– Sharing of food among students is prohibited, as well as treats from home such as cupcakes.

These measures are in addition to previous ongoing measures previously put in place, such as daily health checks, practicing physical distancing and regular handwashing.

In addition, the school’s communicable disease prevention plan has been updated to reflect the additional measures. The plan can be viewed here.

SD73 staff were busy over the holidays developing a continuity of learning plan, should an unusually high number of students or staff are absent due to COVID-19. This plan details at various stages the what learning would look like if needs to move away from its current face-to-face medium.

There are four scenarios explained in the plan: face-to-face with enhanced safety measures (the current scenario); hybrid learning of face-to-face and online or paper learning; partial or full functional closure of the school; and online learning.

Parents are asked to review the documents to know what to expect to be provided to children should these various scenarios arise.

The letter notes the continuity plan is to support those students who are away from school for extended periods of time due to self-isolation because of sickness or showing symptoms of COVID-19. The plan can be viewed here.

Also within the letter is an update to school exposure notifications. Due to how quickly and easily the Omicron variant spreads, public notifications of school exposures, as well as contract tracing are no longer useful tools for preventing the spread of the virus. This is due to it’s shorter incubation period, resulting in more people becoming infected at a quicker rate, making contract tracing at times impossible.

Interior Health is asking anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to self-report a positive test, self-isolate and notify close contacts. More information can be found here.

“I appreciate that this January’s unique start has been challenging in many ways,” the letter reads. “I do, however, want to reassure you that both you child’s safety and education continue to be the top priorities of the school staff at Raft River, Vavenby and Blue River Elementary Schools.”

A message from SD73 superintendent Rhonda Nixon can be read here.


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