Supporting essential service

Part of the government’s direction to school districts during this challenging time is to provide some support for the children of Tier 1 essential service workers who have no other child care options. This has caused some confusion with parents as many are on the essential services list, but not necessarily in the Tier 1 group. Hopefully the following information will help provide clarity.

Supporting essential service workers is a priority for our district.

We are opening 5 schools with SD83 staff on Wednesday, April 15 to support 5 to 12 year old children of Tier 1 Essential Service Workers who have no Child Care options. Tier 1 essential service workers includes health/health services, Child Care workers, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response.  At this time, we are unable to provide support to families where one adult in the household is not a Tier 1 worker.

We have also shared Child Care information with our essential service families for 0-5 year olds.

Children of Tier 1 Essential Workers will receive direct service at these locations:

  • Carlin (Tappen/Sorrento area)
  • Highland Park (Armstrong)
  • Hillcrest (Salmon Arm area)
  • South Broadview (Salmon Arm area)
  • MV Beattie (Enderby)
  • Parkview (Sicamous)
  • Additional sites may be added if needed

Safety

While supporting our Tier 1 essential workers we must also ensure the safety of our students, staff, and the Essential Workers we are supporting by ensuring that their children are safe at school and do not return home with any illness. Stringent health and safety protocols will be in place.

I am Tier 1 Essential worker, but I have not been contacted 

Please email the SD83 Education Department at: eddept@sd83.bc.ca and give:

  • your name
  • children’s names and school they attend
  • email address
  • phone number
  • your work status that clarifies what type of Tier 1 essential worker you are 

How many applications has the district received? Do you expect more to come?

In our initial calls home to parents, we asked about essential service status and Child Care needs. We have followed those initial calls with a call back to those families who were identified as Tier 1 essential service workers who had limited Child Care options. Those families have also filled out an on-line survey and we will be further communicating about schedules, school locations, safety protocols and school times. So far we have made over 2500 initial calls with over 100 follow up calls to families. We have determined about half of essential workers required Child Care service in SD83. Many respondents had made alternate arrangements with family or friends. At this time, we are estimating 50 students will receive Child Care. We do expect our Tier 1 needs will expand in the coming weeks.

What if I am not a Tier 1 Essential Service Worker?
SD83 understands we have many families in our district who are in the Ministry’s category of Tier 2, families in need or wanting respite care. At this time our focus and priority is Tier 1 as per Ministry directions. We will continue to contact families in Tier 2 or in vulnerable situations and will provide support on a case by case and priority basis. Support in these areas is dependent upon us being able to ensure the safety of students, staff, and families, as well as our capacity and space to supervise students. We will not be considering expanding past Tier 1 Essential Service Workers until the end of April (after we have had at least two weeks with our initial Tier 1 support plan).

What if I am a Tier 2 worker? Is there a waiting list, and how can I make sure I am on it?

There is a list of students for Tier 2 and we continue to update our lists. You can contact your local school principal to ensure you are on their list as a Tier 2 worker who does NOT have Child Care options. The school’s lists are used to update our district list.

Is there enough available staff?
Currently we are staffing from our itinerant teacher teams, certified education assistants (CEAs) and early childhood educators (ECEs) as classroom teachers are continuing to support their students with learning from home.

At this time, we believe we have enough staffing for Tier 1 essential workers’ students. However, as that list expands we will continue to re-evaluate our needs. After the first few weeks of service, which will begin April 15, we will have a much better picture of our staffing needs, the ability to sustain service, and if we have additional room or capacity for more students. Our classrooms will be staffed with itinerant teachers (counsellors, music teachers, librarians) and CUPE support workers (Certified Education Assistants, Child Care Workers and Strong Start Facilitators). All of the individuals working on site have volunteered to support the children of essential service workers while their parents work on the front lines. All of these individuals are district employees.

Health and Safety Protocols

Our district developed the attached health & safety protocols. These are based on the Health Canada Recommendations and the new recommendations (April 3) from the Ministry of Health. This is a living document and will continue to be updated as we learn and adjust to recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/covid-19/covid-19-pho-guidance-k-12-schools.pdf

What is the student-teacher to teacher/supervisor ratio?

As we begin our in-class learning, the district ratio will be 5 students maximum in a classroom with an assigned space, and individual materials that are only theirs. We will also have custodians assigned to classrooms for any immediate cleaning and sanitation requirements. Our intention is to have two adults in each classroom, the majority of the time, also in their own defined space. 

Staff are taping off areas, trying to provide safe physical distancing for children of Tier 1 essential service workers who will be coming to the schools for child care starting next week.

Hours

At this time, all our Essential Worker Support Schools will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.