SD73 logo

SD73 logo

SD73 Board supports provincial updated pandemic guidelines

Board says health and safety guidelines are working, and schools remain safe places of learning

By Rhonda Kershaw,

Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education Chair

The recent updates to the guidelines by the Ministry of Education provide enhancements to our existing processes and build on lessons learned throughout the province to date. We welcome these enhancements to what is already a strong position of safety and look forward to implementing them within our schools.

We face our fair share of challenges as our education system provides vital services to children during this pandemic. While we can never live in a risk-free world, our staff and students have risen to the challenge to provide a safe environment for learners to thrive in.

While there have been school exposures throughout the province, there are still very low rates of transmission within our schools. When we re-opened schools this past September the Board of Education was committed to ensuring safety for students and staff. We are proud that our administration has ensured a clear, open and transparent process where parents are provided with all relevant information.

To this point, the board also believes the health and safety guidelines are working, and our schools remain safe places of learning. As with any risk, we can never reduce exposure risk to zero in a global pandemic. We are succeeding in limiting COVID-19 transmission within our schools, and we believe this is the best place for student learning to occur.

Every school safety plan is a living document that needs to adapt and change as circumstances evolve. Over the past months, in consultation with partner groups and health-care professionals the Ministry of Education has revised and now updated regulations.

Among the changes to the announced health and safety guidelines are clarifications on some specific interactions within schools as well as more clear definitions for some of the key terms we will now see used as everyday language.

One advantage we have within a school community is that they are controlled environments. We have the ability to limit who enters our buildings, which in turn facilitates contact tracing when a potential exposure is identified.

Multiple lines of defense also exist within our buildings to limit transmission of COVID-19, including increased hand washing, limited student movement, increased spacing and masks, to ensure staff and students can continue learning in safe environments. We rely on the advice of public health officials and adapt our safety plans wherever required as the understanding of this virus evolves.

We encourage parents to visit the Provincial Health Services micro-site at and to check out the parent app which can be found at These sites will provide parents and interested parties with COVID-19 information specific to education and tools for self-assessment. Parents and caregivers can also download a smartphone application that guides them through the daily health check process. This information is designed to help daily decision making prior to attending school each morning.

As a parent, I understand the anxiety and concern we share regarding the safety of students. As a board and an organization, we will continue to be transparent and timely while recognizing that our approach and plans may have to adapt to new circumstances.

To this point we have been successful at keeping safety at the forefront, while still providing students with a quality in-person education. This is in no small part attributable to herculean efforts on the parts of staff at all levels, students and their families. We would like to thank everyone for continuing these efforts and look forward to a successful remainder of the year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Black Press file photo.
Interior Health: 6 new deaths and 67 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend

An outbreak has been declared at Kelowna General Hospital

Janet (left) and Karen Johnson. (Shelley Woods Boden/Facebook)
Petition to keep Wells Gray murderer in jail garners 39K signatures and counting

Family and friends compiling victim impact statements to keep David Ennis behind bars.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
59 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 7,131

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Oliver Elementary School. (File)
Interior Health reports potential COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan elementary school

Interior Health lists two dates for the potential exposure

Average response times for critical “purple” and “red” calls were between nine and 10 minutes Feb. 19 in Metro Vancouver, with only less critical “yellow” calls receiving an average response time of 45 minutes. The longer than usual delay was due to a combination of factors, BC Emergency Health Services said. (APBC image)
After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

B.C. Ambulance Service says high-priority calls were still 10 minutes or less

Most Read