Thursday, January 13th, 2022
The past two weeks have been busy for families, students, teachers and other school district staff who have worked together to make sure students safely returned to school, and that we have plans in place for continued learning if school closures occur due to spread of the Omicron variant.
To assist us, the Ministry of Education has shared provincial protocols with school and district administrators and staff so together, we can manage school associated activity in the best way possible.
Under BCCDC guidelines, Individuals are responsible for reporting positive COVID-19 test results to public health and close contacts. Schools continue to adhere to BC Centre for Disease Control and WorkSafe BC standards, protocols and guidelines for schools.
SD8 is continuing to track and report daily attendance rates (staff and students away), identifying illness-related absenteeism to the Ministry of Education through MyED, a web-based tool provided by the Ministry to all school districts.
We are using a few indictors to determine if attendance is affected by illness.
The Ministry of Education requires the school district to compare current attendance rates to the previous year(s) to determine if any potential activity signals related to attendance have been met. A functional closure will be considered or implemented when public health-identified potential activity signals are identified:
- If school attendance is 10% below historical normal (e.g. the previous years);
- If fewer than 75% of students in a grade are in attendance; OR
- For smaller schools (e.g., student population under 100) where large fluctuations in school absenteeism rates can be due to small numbers of students away, schools should contact public health if they determine an abnormal number of students are away due to illness over 2-3 days.
If one of these is met, we communicate with the Ministry of Education and public health. Parents will be informed if there are classes with high absenteeism.
Public health, led by Medical Health Officers, will continue to lead investigations to determine if additional measures are needed. Public health will also monitor provincial and regional data and will connect with schools if they identify further investigation is needed.
If a school closure is necessary, Principals and teachers will provide more detailed information about the remote learning process to their students and to families and a closure will be communicated through the following:
- School and district websites
- SD8 app and social media
- Email from the school principal
- Other media, as appropriate
Thank you for your continued patience and participation while we all work together through the complications of this pandemic. At the core of everything we do is providing a nurturing environment so all learners can excel.
Trish Smillie, Superintendent of Schools