With the flattening of the pandemic curve here in B.C., the gradual easing of restrictions, and the safety precautions being implemented, the Ministry of Education is now asking school districts to, as of June 1st, increase the availability of optional part-time in-class instruction, particularly for students in kindergarten through grade 5.
Over the past weeks teachers and education assistants have been very busy changing practice and learning technology so that they could teach and support students online.
Meanwhile, SD83 operations staff have been busy behind the scenes setting up “Hub” schools for students of essential workers to attend, doing maintenance work, grounds work, and cleaning . . . lots and lots of cleaning!
Custodial supervisor Nola Warnica comments over the past month SD83 custodians have been working really hard to ensure the schools are a safe and healthy environment. When staff are in the building, the custodial staff focus on ensuring all “high touch surfaces” are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
When the buildings are not as busy, carpets were cleaned, and walls, desks and vents were scrubbed. Floor are being waxed as well. “Our custodial staff have worked hard and the schools are clean and look wonderful.”
All of our schools are now being prepared for “Stage 3” of the Ministry of Education’s five stage plan (see below). In Stage 3 there will be voluntary in-class learning for students in kindergarten to grade 5 on a part-time basis. Also, some access to voluntary in-class learning for grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis, with grade 12 students being a priority. Remote and online learning will continue to be available for remaining students.
At this time staff are again working out safety protocols, setting up the classrooms for physical distancing and ensuring our schools are ready for if and when the Ministry announces the move to Stage 3.
SD83 will be working closely with the Ministry of Education to work out specific details around safety, transportation, and other matters, which will be communicated with parents when able. Note that we are anticipating no change to the types of learning students experience in our current Home Learning Opportunities Program, should we be able to increase the level of direct support prior to the end of this school year.
Ministry’s Five Stages
Minister of Education Fleming has also shared the need for school districts to be responsive to the evolving pandemic threat over the next two months and into the coming school year. He has asked school districts to be ready to “dial up or dial down” levels of direct service in schools in order to give the highest level of direct support possible, while still maintaining student and staff safety as the top priority. He has described these stages in the following terms:
• Stage 5 – Suspend all in-class instruction for all grades and students. Remote and online learning for all students. This is the level we experienced immediately after Spring Break;
• Stage 4 – In-class learning available for children of essential service workers and some vulnerable students. Remote and online learning continue for most students. This is the level we are currently experiencing;
• Stage 3 – Starting June 1st – In-class learning for students in kindergarten to grade 5 on a part-time basis. Some access to in-class learning for grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis, with grade 12 students being a priority. Remote and online learning will continue to be available for remaining students;
• Stage 2 – In-class learning for all students in elementary school (K to 7) on a part-time or full-time basis. In-class learning for secondary students (grades 8 to 12) on a part-time basis. Remote and online learning continues to be available for secondary students, and;
• Stage 1 – Return to full in-class instruction as we would see in normal circumstances, with additional safety measures in place as necessary.