Dolphin Delivery January 7, 2022
SCHOOLS OPEN FOR ALL STUDENTS
Next Monday, all Saanich Schools will be open and school buses will be running on their regular schedules. Thank you for your understanding as we prepared for new conditions in our classrooms, schools and instructional strategies as we returned from the Winter Break.
PLANNING FOR JANUARY
As we plan for the return of students we are reverting to some of the more specific procedures and routines from previous months. For students, reminders about hand washing procedures, entering and exiting the school and how we will move within the schools will all be reviewed upon return. Staff have adjusted classrooms to meet the H&S guidelines and are excited to welcome students back. Staff will also be connecting with families and reviewing any possible changes to drop off and pick up locations. At this time, we are reverting back to having as few 'extra' adults close to the school and are hoping that families can say goodby from the perimeter of the fields and/or fences - very similar to what we have done in the past. Please remember that this is only for the next few weeks as we try to keep distance and avoid congestion during pick up and drop off. Thank you for your support with this.
As stated in the communication from Superintendent Eberwein: With the arrival of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, we are confronted with some new realities around infection rates and sickness levels to our workforce and student population. Dr. Henry (PHO) recently announced that businesses around the province could see 1/3 of their work force away at any particular time during the month of January as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the population. This kind of absenteeism is not sustainable in our schools and would require us to potentially close a school for a period of time. There are three types of closures:
Health Closure - A Health Closure of a school is determined by the Island Health Authority. The immediate health issue is the possibility of a high COVID-19 case count in a school. The Saanich School District would receive an Order from Island Health to temporarily close a school. We would then move to a temporary Remote Learning program for all students.
Functional School Closure - A Functional School Closure is determined by the School District when there is insufficient staff to run a school because of illness. The school would be unable to provide the required level of teaching, supervision, or custodial services to ensure the health and safety of the students. While our district has replacement lists for many of our employees, we may not be able to adequately replace workers to ensure sufficient student safety. When this happens, we will be closing the school for a minimum of 1 week (7 calendar days). We anticipate this will allow staff to sufficiently recover from their illness so that in-person learning can resume. During the Functional Closure, the school would transition to a Remote Learning program for all students.
FUNCTIONAL SCHOOL CLOSURE PROTOCOLS
1. Communication with parents/guardians that a school will need to be closed for 1 week (7 calendar days)
2. If a closure is announced during the school day, an extra bus trip will be made available to transport those students home who take the school bus. Students unable to return home immediately would be held until the end-of-the-day dismissal.
3. Students take home all learning materials.
Day 1 – Transition Day
1. The school is closed for all students.
2. Parents, guardians and/or students will be contacted by the school or teacher about the Remote Learning program.
i. Details of the Remote Learning program (minimum of 5 school days)
ii. The process of borrowing a mobile device if required
Day 2-7 – Remote Learning (Regular School Weekdays)
1. The school is closed for all students. Remote Learning instruction begins.
2. Hours of instruction will be designed for an age appropriate amount of screen time per day. Primary students can expect approximately 1 hour per day with secondary students receiving longer times because of their multiple courses. Schedules will be determined by teachers and school administration.
3. Day 7 - Communication with parents and guardians on the return to in-person learning
Day 8 – Return to In-person Learning
1. Anticipation of a return to in-person instruction at school (based on adequate staffing levels)
We endeavor to provide families with as much notice as possible about a school closure, however, as absences due to illness may not be known well in advance, our plans for communicating with families will be as follows:
· If a school needs to be closed, the school/district will contact parents via email, preferably the afternoon of the day before the closure.
· If the school closure is determined once the school day has begun, school buses may be sent back to gather those students who can return home safely. Students unable to return home in the middle of the day, will be kept at school and supervised – regular instruction would not be possible. Regular school bus service would return at the end of the day to take any remaining bus students home. School closure would start the following day.
Although we are adjusting and preparing for eventualities, we want to assure families that we are excited about our new school year and cant wait to have students back in the building!! Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for a special visitor on Monday morning!!. Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday!!