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March 27, 2020

Message to SD62 Families,

Dear Students and Families,

I hope this letter finds you all healthy and in relatively good spirits in this unprecedented time. I want to thank you for your patience as we draw to the end of our spring break and prepare for a very different conclusion to the school year.  I know that many of you are concerned about your health and well-being as well as the continuation of educational programs.

By now, you will be aware that the Ministry of Education, under the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer, has closed schools to in-class instruction. Schools will continue to provide learning opportunities for students in a different and reduced manner.

Parents should not plan on dropping their children off at schools next week as per normal practice.  If there is an urgent need for childcare please email the District at info@sd62.bc.ca.

The Ministry of Education has set the following four priorities for school districts at this time:

  1. Maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students and families and all employees.
  2. Provide services to support children of essential workers.
  3. Support vulnerable students who may need special assistance.
  4. Provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.

Most of our staff will be working remotely from home for the next while as we await further direction from health officials.  This will mean that schools will only be available to the public through pre-arranged appointments with the school principal or vice-principal.  Signs will be located on all school main entrances indicating the best phone number or email address to contact school officials.  This will allow us to ensure that our schools remain clean and disinfected for the safety of those staff that will be required to work on site.

Because this is all new to us, we will be asking teachers and other staff to use the week of March 30 to April 3 as a planning week.  Teachers will begin to provide learning opportunities as soon as practical and no later than mid-April in keeping with the Minister of Education’s directions.  During this time, you can expect your classroom teachers to reach out to you to check in and assess the ability of families to connect online for learning.  This will take us some time to organize and fine tune, so we ask for your continued patience with us as we slowly get this up and running.

In these times of uncertainty and angst, families have many things to think about. While we want to ensure continuity of learning, we are also cognizant of overwhelming families with educational demands.  Please keep in mind that there is no intent to replicate a regular school day virtually for all students.  Teachers will be providing essential learning as well as opportunities for teachers to connect directly with students.  We will also provide links to resources on our website for families looking to supplement their children’s learning.

The school district is also committed to supporting families of essential service providers.  The Government of BC has developed a list of essential services to assist in this determination.  When teachers reach out to families, they will be asking about this and directing families to an online portal to register for services.

To our grade 12 students, wondering about scholarships, graduation and post-secondary transition, we will be sending information out to you specifically in the coming days.

I would encourage parents to check our district website at www.sd62.bc.ca for the latest updates related to COVID-19 and the District’s response.

Please take this time to follow the advice of health professionals, particularly Dr. Bonnie Henry, by maintaining physical distancing, observing proper health etiquette and staying home as much as possible. It is important that while we distance ourselves physically we still maintain social contact.  I encourage you to connect with your friends and family whether it be through text, email or phone calls. Let’s all look out for one another.

Take care,

Scott Stinson,

Superintendent of Schools, School District #62 (Sooke)