Central Okanagan Public Schools will be opening the doors of several of its facilities next week — just not to students.
The first week of classes after spring break, March 30 to April 3, will be for staff planning only. Most staff members will be participating remotely in planning for the weeks ahead.
While schools are not shut down, in-class instruction has been suspended by order of the provincial health officeruntil further notice. School grounds and playgrounds are also closed to all.
The Ministry of Education has set four principles to guide the school district’s work going forward:
- Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students, families, and employees.
- Provide the services needed to support children of our essential workers.
- Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
- Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.
“We know that each family and child’s situation is unique, so working together to understand how learning will look for students will be a big part of the planning phase,” said the SD23’s board of education in a release.
“Parents can anticipate that teachers may get in touch with them to find out how their child is doing.”
The board will continue to operate and conduct business on critical items. The meetings will be conducted using Zoom and all public meetings will be available live via webcast. You can find more information at sd23.bc.ca/Board/boardmeetinginfo.
“None of us could have predicted that we would find ourselves in this unprecedented situation,” read the release. “Your board of education believes that by working together with all the partners in education we can help our students feel safe and supported during this time of uncertainty and anxiety. Our hope for everyone is that we all stay safe. Be kind, support one another.”
The board’s senior staff has spent much of spring break planning for school building safety and hygiene, continued learning opportunities for students, and how they can care for the children of front-line health workers.
While it hasn’t divulged exactly what those strategies look like yet, board chair Moyra Baxter said the board will communicate them as soon as it can.
“As a board of education, we are confident that we can provide the support and leadership that is needed to help keep our community safe,” said Baxter. “Trustees are grateful to have a large team of excellent administrators and staff in our district who can support one another to deliver education in new ways.”