Re-opening info for StrongStart Program

We are looking forward to welcoming our North Okanagan-Shuswap StrongStart families back to our programs starting on Thursday, October 1st. StrongStart is a free early learning program for preschool children, 0 to 5 years old, and their parent or caregiver. There will be COVID-19 guidelines in place at all programs to ensure the safety of our families, StrongStart educators, and school community. 

REGISTRATION: 

  • Registration for all SD83 StrongStart programs will open on Thursday, September 17th, 2020 and will be ongoing 
  • If your child was previously registered in a StrongStart program in our district, please call the school to indicate that you and your child are interested in attending the StrongStart program again this school year 
  • If your child is new to StrongStart, please phone the school to request a time to come in and complete the registration process 
  • Interested families will need to choose one program to attend as we will not be supporting participation at multiple programs due to COVID-19 

Click here for complete information

Thursday, September 10-First Day of School

School will begin for students a little later this year and their first full day will be Thursday September 10. Staff will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to go over site safety plans and prepare their classrooms for the new protocols due to Covid-19. Buses will be running as usual. School begins with a warning bell at 7:55 and  dismissal will be 2:02.

Families have different views about returning to regular face to face instruction and some families may wish to keep their child home for a while to see what  happens with the pandemic. There are a few more options available. Please read information from Superintendent, Peter Jory.

Parents are always encouraged to have their students attend their neighbourhood school. Extensive planning has gone into making our school safe in this context, and this is by far the richest environment for most students to develop their academic and social skills. Please reach out to us if you would like to know more about what our school will look like for your child this September. We recognize that while most parents agree that attending their neighbourhood school in person is the best option, some have indicated that they are still nervous about sending their students to us on opening day. The Ministry of Education has temporarily softened our standard enrollment process to support families who wish to delay their start by a number of weeks but still retain their child’s seat in class. Again, reach out to us for more information on our new “Soft Start” option. A number of parents have also indicated that they would like to register their students in an online program. While we are reopening our Kindergarten through grade eight program, note that once you have registered with our Education Online Program (EOP) or with another education provider, your student’s return to our school will be dependent on available seats, and may be delayed until the following school year as a result. As our staffing model is dependent on student registration, students departing a school for other options may also cause the number of available seats in our school to be reduced. Some students in grades ten through twelve have indicated an interest in enrolling in a combination of online and in-person schoolings. This practice has been permitted in the past and will continue to be an option in our current context. However, students in Kindergarten through grade nine will have to choose between online or in-person schooling and participate in that program full-time, and the same goes for families who pursue a Homeschool option. If you have learned everything you need to know about online learning and still wish to register, please let us know about your decision and we will support you with next steps. If you wish to know more about our district EOP, please contact the program principal Mr. Rob Macaulay at rmacaula@sd83.bc.ca. Again, we will continue to encourage students to attend their local school, as we believe that is the best option for the vast majority of students. We hope that you will agree and we look forward to seeing you next week. Looking forward to seeing all our amazing students and families soon. Kirsten Mazur, Principal at Silver Creek Elementary

Thursday, September 10-First Day of School

School will begin for students a little later this year and their first full day will be Thursday September 10. Staff will be meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to go over site safety plans and prepare their classrooms for the new protocols due to Covid-19. Buses will be running as usual. School begins with a warning bell at 7:55 and  dismissal will be 2:02.

Families have different views about returning to regular face to face instruction and some families may wish to keep their child home for a while to see what  happens with the pandemic. There are a few more options available. Please read information from Superintendent, Peter Jory.

Parents are always encouraged to have their students attend their neighbourhood school. Extensive planning has gone into making our school safe in this context, and this is by far the richest environment for most students to develop their academic and social skills. Please reach out to us if you would like to know more about what our school will look like for your child this September. We recognize that while most parents agree that attending their neighbourhood school in person is the best option, some have indicated that they are still nervous about sending their students to us on opening day. The Ministry of Education has temporarily softened our standard enrollment process to support families who wish to delay their start by a number of weeks but still retain their child’s seat in class. Again, reach out to us for more information on our new “Soft Start” option. A number of parents have also indicated that they would like to register their students in an online program. While we are reopening our Kindergarten through grade eight program, note that once you have registered with our Education Online Program (EOP) or with another education provider, your student’s return to our school will be dependent on available seats, and may be delayed until the following school year as a result. As our staffing model is dependent on student registration, students departing a school for other options may also cause the number of available seats in our school to be reduced. Some students in grades ten through twelve have indicated an interest in enrolling in a combination of online and in-person schoolings. This practice has been permitted in the past and will continue to be an option in our current context. However, students in Kindergarten through grade nine will have to choose between online or in-person schooling and participate in that program full-time, and the same goes for families who pursue a Homeschool option. If you have learned everything you need to know about online learning and still wish to register, please let us know about your decision and we will support you with next steps. If you wish to know more about our district EOP, please contact the program principal Mr. Rob Macaulay at rmacaula@sd83.bc.ca. Again, we will continue to encourage students to attend their local school, as we believe that is the best option for the vast majority of students. We hope that you will agree and we look forward to seeing you next week. Looking forward to seeing all our amazing students and families soon. Kirsten Mazur, Principal at Silver Creek Elementary

School bus safety protocols

We are looking forward to seeing our students as they head back to school in a couple of weeks! As part of SD83’s efforts to maintain safety during COVID-19, we want to keep parents/guardians informed on safety protocols SD83 has implemented in conjunction with the Ministry to keep our students and staff safe on our school buses.

Busing information post cards have all gone out.  Parents of bus students are asked to please call or email the SD83 Transportation Department (250-832-9415 or email operations@sd83.bc.ca) if:

  • your child will no longer be riding the bus to school starting on September 10; or
  • if you have not received a post card for your bus student by September 3rd, 2020. 

Also, just to make people aware, your child’s school bus driver has the option to wear a mask while driving their bus as well as a face shield/safety glasses when the bus is stopped. Please talk to your child about this change in their bus driver’s attire.

Below are instructions from our Health and Safety plan for students to safely ride their school bus during COVID-19:

1. Students who are sick will need to be kept home. Students who develop symptoms while at school will not be permitted to return home on a school bus and should be picked up by a parent or guardian. We are not able to transport students who are ill or showing symptoms.

2. Parents will be responsible for their child’s safety at the bus stop. Parents must remain with their child K-5 until the bus departs in the morning.

3. To ensure that your child is as safe as possible, please review safety procedures before riding the bus:

  • Line up with limited contact when waiting for the schools bus.
  • Always follow the driver’s instructions.
  • When loading onto the bus, go to the furthest available seat unless the driver instructs otherwise.
  • When unloading the bus, wait until the seat in front has moved before you get up to go, ensure physical distancing is observed.
  • When space is available students will be seated in the window seat away from the aisle.
  • When possible bus routes will utilize a strict seating plan that reflects cohort and family groupings.
  • No eating or drinking (except water) on the school bus.

4. School Buses will not be accepting unregistered riders which includes after-school friends coming home with a bus student. Alternate transportation will need to be arranged in those cases.

5. Students in Grades 6-12 will be required to wear masks while riding the school bus as directed by the Ministry of Education.

6. Your child will receive an updated ‘Procedure and Code of Conduct for Bus Students’ form from their bus driver. Please review front and back of form with your child and return the signed bottom portion to the bus driver as soon as possible.

In order to keep students and staff as safe as possible, we will require bus students to follow the above rules very closely to avoid the risk of losing their busing privileges. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping everyone safe.

As this is an ever changing environment, Ministry requirements may change SD83 protocols as the school year progresses. Thanks for your assistance in helping our students be comfortable and safe!

New info on school start up

In this unusual year, SD83 would like to share what information we currently have, and hopefully answer some questions our parents may have about the new school year.

When will my child begin school?
The Ministry of Education has announced there will be a staggered start to the new school year to give everyone time to become familiar with the new safety protocols.

School District No. 83 staff will report to their schools on Tuesday, September 8 for safety orientations and planning sessions.

Students will report to schools on Thursday, September 10 for their welcoming and safety orientation sessions. Regular learning will commence as soon as appropriate routines are established. School staff will communicate any changes to student schedules. Graduated entry for Kindergarten will still occur in its usual manner.

What is a Learning Group or Cohort?
Through the direction of our Public Health Officer (PHO), the BC Ministry of Education has established learning group limits for regular student interactions that occur inside our buildings. Schools are expected to adhere to this expectation for all learning activities, or establish additional safety protocols, including social distancing. Staff that work with more than one cohort of students will also have to adhere to these safety protocols.
Click here for information on Learning Groups/Cohorts

Will the school buses be running?
School District No. 83 will continue to offer bus services. In late August all bus students will receive a postcard in the mall with a stop location and pick up and drop off times. If you are new to the district and qualify for busing please contact our transportation office at 250-832-9415 to register your child for busing. Please contact the transportation department if you don’t receive yours or if your mailing address has changed.

Please note that additional safety protocols are being finalized for all bus routes. These will likely include seating plans, use of masks for riders in grades four through twelve, as well as PPE for the drivers. Submission of regular health checks may also be required.

Will the school district be staggering school day start and end times?
Changes to school start and end of day times are not being contemplated at this time, as many of our students ride to school on our interlocking bus schedule. However, break and lunch times may be staggered in some schools to reduce hallway, playground, and common area interactions.

What is happening at the high schools?
High schools are currently investigating timetable options to limit the number of contacts. At this time, some secondary schools in School District No. 83 are considering the use of the quarter system, where students would take two courses a day for ten weeks. To meet the cohort requirements determined by the PHO, but still allow students to stay enrolled in their currently selected course options, some of our larger schools may have to divide the student population into groups, having students attend in-person on certain days and work from home the other days. Secondary leadership teams are currently working on this issue and will notify families as plans are nearer to completion.

What health guidelines are being put in place?
The plan and protocols are being updated and will be posted on the district website (www.sd83.bc.ca ) by August 26.
Click here to view the COVID-19 Public Health Guidelines for K-12 School Settings

Will there be “health checks” like there were in June
Parents of bus students may be required to submit health checks, but otherwise, health check forms will not be required. However, it is extremely important that parents pay close attention to the health of their children and keep them at home if they are sick or symptomatic. More information is available here.

Our family has an immune compromised member and we don’t think our children should attend school. What are our options?
School District No. 83 is focusing on making our schools as safe as possible for all students. However, if are uncomfortable having your child return to regular learning, you may wish to consider some other options.

School District No. 83 currently has an online option for students in Grades 9-12 known as the Education Outreach Program (EOP). Students in EOP are supplied assignments and resources (such as textbooks and learning activities) as well as some access to a local teacher, but the program is primarily self-directed. The Education Outreach Program currently offers a wide range of online courses to students on a full-time or cross-enrolled basis in Grades 9-12.

School District No. 83 previously offered an Education Outreach Program option to elementary and middle schools student, but it was closed due to lack of demand. We will reopen this program option for the duration of the pandemic if there is sufficient interest. For more information regarding the EOP program, or to express your interest in registering, please contact Education Outreach Principal Rob Macaulay at rmacaula@sd83.bc.ca

Note that the Home Learning Opportunities program that School District No. 83 provided through June will not be available this coming year. Parents who are interested in homeschooling their children may wish to visit this website:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/support/classroom-alternatives/homeschooling

What about music/band/choir/musical theatre?
At this time, all programs will be carrying on as previously planned. However, there music-specific safety protocols and scheduling to allow for sufficient physical distancing for classes outside the set cohort numbers that still need to be worked out. Expect further communication from your school prior to start-up.

Students with special needs?
Students with special needs will be given full access to learning and supports, as they would in a non-pandemic context. For more information about your child’s program or to request an individual meeting or orientation, please contact your school.

What about extra-curricular activities (clubs/sports)
Schools may continue clubs if cohorts or physical distancing can remain intact. The Fall interschool sports schedule has been cancelled. The remaining seasons of play will be re-evaluated throughout the year. https://www.bcschoolsports.ca/news/planning-return-play-fall-2020

Community use of school facilities?
After hours community use of facilities will be allowed in the fall providing they are in full alignment with health and safety measures.

Further Information
Further information will be provided via the School District No. 83 website over the coming weeks, including the full District Safety Plan. You can also expect a survey confirming your student’s intentions to attend school and/or utilize bus transportation for September.
Additional links from the Ministry of Education and Public Health
Ministry of Education Return To School Information
BC Centre for Disease Control website with the most recent information on school safety and child care safety protocols.
The BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard
7 Tips for talking to kids about COVID-19 poster on the Fraser Health website 
All joint statements from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are posted here
The Provincial Pandemic Coordination plan
Click here for complete SD83 newsletter