Welcome Back – Important Information for January 2022

Friday December 31st, DPAC attended a meeting of SD57 Stakeholders on the January 4-7 Re-entry period.  Information is limited at this time, open for constructive feedback and subject to change.  We all wish for nothing more than for school to function as normally as possible in a safe and predictable manner but the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is going to make this very difficult to achieve in the coming weeks.  
Please understand that School Staff, District Staff and the Board of Trustees are working diligently to implement these changes appropriately.  Our parent community will be understandably frustrated and we ask for your patience and respect towards our partners in public education during this period of uncertainty. Commentary on how and why this is being done should be reserved at this time and respectfully expressed to elected representatives and relevant provincial Ministries.   

What we currently know: 

  • Essential workers are defined as parents who are Essential Health Care Workers or SD57 Staff.
  • No changes to district calendar.
  • School Trustee By-Election will proceed as scheduled
  • No funding or support from MOE other than this ‘prep’ period (no PPE, no money, limited guidance yet)
  • They are planning for Functional Closures due to staff illness (Functional Closure: not enough staff to safely supervise students)
  • Classroom layout will adapt to be similar to 2020/2021 (more space and no face-to-face configurations by removing non-essential furniture, no ‘carpet time’ spaces)
  • There will be no ‘instruction’ during the week of Jan 4-7 although electronic/self-serve supports and resources will be available and distributed to families in a general way. 
  • There are multiple competing priorities from government to balance on behalf of the people of BC and all are valid: health, healthcare, continuity of learning for students, predictability for families.  

There are almost no new ‘enhanced’ measures from the Ministry of Education plan (more detail available here: Addendum to the K-12 Communicable Disease Safety Plan)

  • No spectators for sports; only 2 teams allowed for games (no tournament play of 3 or more teams at one place/time)
  • Essential visitors in schools only (not sure if PAC hot lunch would be essential – requested that clarification)
  • Virtual gatherings for student assemblies and staff meetings
  • Reinforce the importance of previous mitigation efforts (hand washing, health check, stay home when sick, masking effectively and importance thereof – exemptions will continue to be respected but may be reviewed individually)
  • Reviewing traffic movement within the schools, staggering breaks but no cohorts.

What we will see from School District 57 in the coming days: 

  • Letter released December 31 to all parents/families.
  • Bussing will run normally on Tuesday for student safety and revised for the remainder of the week.
  • Planning will be underway to have a process ready to support Functional closures on a school-by-school basis as needed basis (more information coming on what this would look like)
  • Outreach to specific families/students from a school contact
  • Outreach to school-level PAC and parents on implementation of Enhanced Measures
  • Communication on Ventilation in schools
  • Changes to Covid Exposure notification in conjunction with Northern Health Authority and the Ministry of Health/BC CDC as contact tracing will not be able to function on a case-by-case basis as it was September to December 2021

Parent Concerns: 
There have been a wide-range of responses to this news.  All responses and view point are valid, and we understand that this is extremely disruptive now with 5 days’ notice let alone what it will be like if families are facing Functional Closures with less than one day notice which is entirely probable. Thus we want and need to hear from you, our parent voice, to make sure we are advocating for what you need for your families and children.

Please send all your thoughts, feedback and concerns to us at: info@sd57dpac.ca

Thank you for your attention, thank you for your patience, thank you for supporting our school communities. 

SD57 DPAC Executive

If you or a family member are experiencing concerns with your mental and emotional well-being support is available.  Please review this list from the Province of BC for specific supports: 
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-mental-health-supports#students

Additional free support options are available through this Government of Canada portal: https://wellnesstogether.ca/en-CA

PAC FoodSafe – Nov 27

Did you know that at least one volunteer with your PAC needs to have Level 1 FoodSafe for food related events at your school?

PAC FoodSafe Level 1

Date: Saturday November 27th, 2021

Time: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Break 11:30 am – 12:15 pm)

Location: Van Bien Training Centre Meeting Room

Available Spaces: 24

Masks required and participants must follow all current and future SD57 COVID-19 protocols for in class learning.

Deadline to sign up: Wednesday November 24, 2021

Attendees: Parents from within School District No. 57, if space available after the deadline we can offer to district staff who indicated to us that they would like to attend.

Participant Cost: $10 (non-refundable)

Lunch: Not provided, coffee, tea, and light snacks will be available

Tickets: Available for purchase on Eventbrite here

Travel Subsidy: For schools located in the Mackenzie, Hixon, McBride, and Valemount a gas subsidy will be provided per km.

Online Course Subsidy: If parents feel uncomfortable travelling from these towns, or are not available on this date, after the event has taken place, DPAC will be looking to offer a limited amount of partial subsidies for an online option. https://www.openschool.bc.ca/foodsafe_level1/

An Evening with Ivan Coyote

Parents & Families of SD57!!

SD57 DPAC is delighted to offer An Evening with Ivan Coyote” this coming Thursday October 28th @ 6pm via Zoom.

The evening promises to be an engaging break from a typical weekday evening. Grab a comforting drink to warm you up while Ivan’s stories warm your heart as they touch on their northern upbringing with shared Canadian family values of hard work, self-reliance and small-town/big family connections. This one night engagement is limited to a small audience so secure a ticket now to join us from the comfort of your home.

Ivan will share relatable and humourous accounts of their experiences growing up and traveling Canada: experiencing society while expressing themselves in ways that do not match society’s expectations. The audience will be captured in a traditional story-telling event that is hard to find in today’s fast-paced, sound bite media. Join other parents to share a deep conversation that will open the heart and mind. The chance to hear Ivan speak is not to be missed and there will also be a question period at the end.

Ivan Coyote is a writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, they are the author of thirteen books, the creator of four films, six stage shows, and three albums that combine storytelling with music. Coyote’s books have won the ReLit Award, been named a Stonewall Honour Book, been longlisted for Canada Reads, and been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Prize for non-fiction. In 2017 Ivan was given an honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University for their writing and activism. Coyote’s stories grapple with the complex and intensely personal topics of gender identity, family, class, and queer liberation, but always with a generous heart, and a quick wit. Ivan’s stories manage to handle both the hilarious and the historical with reverence and compassion, and remind us all of our own fallible and imperfect humanity, while at the same time inspiring us to change the world. Ivan’s 13th book, Care Of, was released in June 2021 by McClelland and Stewart.

For event details and to register please go to the  An Evening with Ivan Coyote Eventbrite site. 

For more information on Ivan and their storytelling background, you can visit their Facebook page or Ivan’s website here.

Date: Thursday October 28, 2021
Time: 6:00pm until 8:00pm

Cost: $20

Zoom link will be shared with registrants before the event. It will be a webinar format with no video/audio or chat features. But Ivan will be taking live questions through the Q&A with DPAC moderating.

Eventbrite: An Evening with Ivan Coyote

Please share this event with all your friends and family. If the fee is a barrier, contact info@sd57dpac.ca to inquire about a grant.

Welcome Back PACs & Parents!

DPAC is excited for the start of the 2021-2022 school year and classes starting up across SD57 and BC. Across the province and district Communicable Disease Plans local Safety Plans have been reviewed and updated, and protocols are in place to ensure a successful entry for all students this month. DPAC has been actively involved with SD57 in consultations and planning for the 2021-22 school year. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety protocols or plans in place at your school please reach out to your school administrator(s).

For more details about the updated Communicable Disease Safety Plan for SD57 please go the school district website: https://www.sd57.bc.ca/ 

For additional Recovery Plan Resources for the 2021-2022 school year please see the BCCPAC website which has key documents important for parents for the upcoming year

DPACs first meeting of the year will be a hybrid meeting on Monday September 13 @ 6:30pm in person at Van Bien Training Centre AND online.  This year our DPAC is trying something new – every month we will have a theme we will be exploring in more detail and will be the focus of the month. For September our theme is Advocacy. We will have representatives from the district, board, rights and stakeholders join us at 7:30pm for presentations around the theme of Advocacy. We anticipate a large attendance as these meetings offer insights and support to PACs and parents navigating the school system.

Remember September 30 is the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and it is also Orange Shirt Day to honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools in Canada. We encourage all PACs and parents to learn more about the history of those schools and will be sharing resources and ideas on how to do so. So please wear orange, explore what Truth & Reconciliation means and remember that every child matters!
DPAC is here for you! Please reach out to us at any time for information, support or to get involved via our email info@sd57dpac.ca.

SD57 Traffic Town Hall

We want to hear your voice!!! The SD57 District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is hosting a first ever virtual Town Hall with PG City Community Groups via Zoom this Monday June 7th @ 7:00pm to explore and discuss the issues and impacts of increasing traffic on our schools, families, and the surrounding communities.

What are your experiences as parents around traffic, safety, and commuting issues at our schools in SD57??

We want to know! We will be discussing:

  1. Safety and traffic: What are the experiences from your school and community?
  2. Barriers: What prevents you, your child, or family from walking or bicycling to school?
  3. Solutions: What do you see as potential solutions or interventions to improve the traffic and safety issues currently being experienced at your school? What changes do you see that would improve safety and provide better commuting options for students?
  4. Challenges: What infrastructure challenges have you experienced? Provide specific examples of sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing lights, etc.

We have an awesome panel of City & Community Groups who will be attending Monday’s Town Hall including:

  • Mayor Lyn Hall representing the City of Prince George
  • Fire Chief John Iverson – Prince George Fire Department
  • Dave Bradshaw – City’s Manager of Transportation and Technical Services and/or Chris Vliegenthart, Transportation Supervisor
  • Tracey James – Manager of BCAA
  • A representative from the Traffic Division for RCMP Superintendent Shaun Wright
  • Dane Greenwell – Urban Director PG Cycling Club & Go By Bike Week Coordinator for Prince George
  • Doug MacDonald – ICBC Road Safety Coordinator for Prince George

Also, we will have SD57 Representatives attending Monday’s Town Hall including:

  • Acting Superintendent of Schools – Cindy Heitman
  • Representative from the SD57 Board of Trustees/School Board
  • President of the PG District Teachers Association/PGDTA – Joanne Hapke
  • President of the Principals & Vice-Principals Association of PG – Kelly Johansen
  • President of CUPE for SD57 – Karen Wong
  • And others

During the Town Hall we will be using the app Slido (which you can access on any mobile device or via your computer) for participants to ask live questions, participate in live polls, and provide your thoughts and feedback during this event.  The Slido link will be provided at the start of the meeting.

So either email us questions in advance at exec@sd57dpac.ca or ask them live using Slido during the meeting as well. See you there!

The meeting starts at 6:30pm with guests joining at 7pm.
Join Zoom Meeting https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/65674887171?pwd=NmxKbGtYb2ZvU2c0VW53MFFISlZEdz09
Meeting ID: 656 7488 7171
Passcode: Kd5t*1cv