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

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.