In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the BC Provincial Government declared a State of Medical Emergency in March, 2020. School District 48 staff would like to share our gratitude and admiration for our school district staff’s response to this emergency situation and for the support we have received from parents, family members and the wider community. Our daily lives and routines have been transformed virtually overnight to meet these emergent conditions. We have come together as a community and we are grateful for your continued support.
To ensure that BC’s K-12 education system supports a coordinated approach to this emergency planning, four guiding principles were established for the K-12 education sector in British Columbia:
- 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.
The following is a current update on how School District No. 48 is responding to each of these guiding principles to support our students, staff, and families.
Our district continues to ensure our practices comply with the Provincial Medical Health Officer Guidelines:
- Occupational Health & Safety teams met prior to schools returning from spring break to develop school safety plans.
- Pandemic response guidelines are posted at each school/facility.
- Our Exposure Control Plan for Pandemic Influenza COVID-19 has been distributed to all of our schools/facilities and is posted on our district website.
- All schools have daytime and afternoon/evening custodians sanitizing frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- All custodians are following our Exposure Control Plan for Pandemic Influenza COVID-19.
- All schools will have an administrator and a clerical staff member on-site throughout school hours.
- Access points to all buildings are controlled with visible signage for instructions regarding entry.
- We have communicated to students and families regarding access to schools for the retrieval of personal items from lockers and/or required resources for ongoing learning, such as technology provided by the school or district.
- Work is underway on the creation of enhanced safety and cleaning protocols for an eventual return to school and work. This includes a new Room Readiness Policy and Procedures whereby all rooms in the school district will be set up at the end of each work day in a predetermined manner designed to ensure maximum opportunity for deep cleaning.
- In an additional layer of support, our counselors, youth workers, and itinerant staff are reaching out to both parents and students to create connection and provide personalized mental health and wellness supports and strategies as needed.
- We continue to collaborate with community partners to provide wrap around support to our students and families such as Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH), Howe Sound Women’s Centre (HSWC), etc.
- Mental health and wellness supports and resources for parents are posted on our Resources for Parents subpage and have been sent to our families via email.
- Our employees have access to a number of mental health and wellness supports which are posted on our website and have been emailed directly to staff.
We are fully committed to the BC government mandate to support the children of Essential Service Workers (ESWs). The province has categorized ESWs into 3 priority tiers:
Tier 1 (highest priority): families employed in Health and Health Services, Social Services, Law Enforcement, First Responders, and Emergency Response. For child care, Tier 1 also includes children referred by MCFD and Delegated Aboriginal Agency social workers.
Tier 2 (second priority): families in all other occupations not included in Tier 1 that are listed in the Essential Services Workers list. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0020-000568
- Tier 3 (third priority): all other families not employed in an occupation listed in the Essential Service Workers list. Accepting families in the third tier is not required but providers may at their discretion.
Squamish Essential Service Workers who have school-aged children and are unable to make child care arrangements, can contact their school district to organize school based child care during the day.
Tier 1 care began March 31st, and Tier 2 care began on April 2nd. Current ESW learning services care is being provided by SD48 staff:
- Supports 29 families (40 children)
- Sea to Sky Community Services provide pre (7:30-9:00am) and post (3:00-6:00pm) care
- Supports 9 families (13 children)
- Kids On the Go provides care after 2:30pm
- Supports 12 families (20 children) from 8:30am-5:00pm
Pre-School aged child care services for ESWs are currently provided by Child Care Resource and Referral at (604) 985-7138.
Currently, we are supporting the needs of our school communities by providing:
The district will continue to support all students and their documented or emergent learning needs through a 3 Tiered Approach:
At the Tier 1 level, we are committed to ensuring a personalized learning plan for all students and the provision of any needed support, as fully as possible at this time:
- Learning expectations may be adjusted to support students with existing needs, needs and goals established in their IEP, or new needs that emerge.
- Students and families are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher and principal to request any additional support or considerations.
At the Tier 2 level, students requiring assistance will receive support through a team approach (Teacher Learning Teams, Learning Support Teacher Teams, Specialist Teachers, EAs, etc):
- Teacher Learning Teams and the Learning Support Teacher Teams will continue to take into consideration all additional needs of students which may emerge over time, or are known through their current IEP, to provide further resources, further assistive technology, further support for families in learning the assistive technology, etc.
- All learning plans for students with IEPs will continue to align with their IEP goals.
- When needed, students will be provided with specialized devices and assistive technologies for home use as per their IEP or emerging needs.
- When a student requires in-person support at school to meet the goals of their IEP, and is symptom free, staff will provide this support by maintaining physical distancing measures where applicable.
- Any graduation program student wishing to request amendments to their course load or final letter grades due to their current extenuating circumstances (eg. they are providing full time child care or working full time, experiencing challenges through COVID, etc.) should connect with their teacher and school principal so the School Based Team can consider their request.
At a Tier 3 level, the needs of some students may require that they attend school in-person, such as when the goals of the IEP are unable to be met remotely:
- Itinerant and school based Specialist Teachers will continue to work with each student’s Teacher Learning Team, parents, and the student to make any further acute plans and provide the required support.
- Students requiring personal care and/or physical care, and are symptom free, will have that care provided using applicable safety protocols, as approved by the Medical Health Officer.
- Where students require other specialized health supports, we will continue to work with local community partners to put a plan in place.
To support our community with a swift response to instances of food insecurity in our corridor, we have also established a 3 Tiered Approach to food programming:
At a Tier 1 Level we designed a system to continue our usual breakfast and lunch programs that our students had come to rely on.
At a Tier 2 Level we plan to expand our breakfast and lunch programming to more families who may not have been accessing this resource previously.
At a Tier 3 Level we plan to extend our response to include the provision of further food staples (groceries) some clothing, toiletries, and connect further needs which emerge through a deeper interagency response.
- We accessed the families through online surveys; administrators calling homes; teachers reaching out through phone calls, email, and their various online communication tools; and support staff and Indigenous Support Workers making direct contact by visiting homes and meeting people in the community.
- In order to align support in each of our communities, we have worked closely with local Community Services and First Nations to develop ways to source, prepare, and distribute the food. We have attempted, as much as possible, to partner with local small businesses to help us meet the food safe guidelines and to assist them at this uncertain time.
- We are currently delivering approximately 55 breakfasts, 150 lunches, and 150 nutritious snacks, daily.
- In Pemberton, Grimms Deli is providing, at a reduced price, more than 50 sandwiches and fruit items daily. We are also working with the Pemberton Valley Grocery store to have breakfast items and snacks delivered, also at a reduced price.
- In Whistler, we continue to collaborate with Whistler Community Services Society and target supports where needed.
- In Squamish, Helping Hands, the District of Squamish, and the Food Bank are providing the food and making almost 100 lunches and snacks, daily, at the Squamish 55 Activity Center. Our support staff pick up the food and then deliver it to schools and to Squamish Nation Totem Hall. The food is further distributed through support staff and Indigenous Support Workers from those sites.
- We will also continue to work with our community service providers to partner for additional food, clothing, and other support provisions across our communities. The Food Banks have increased distribution of hampers to families and are providing both pick up and deliver options. In some cases our schools are also delivering food and clothing to families.
- For more information on our Food Security Plan please see our document here.
We’re excited and grateful to have received the following grants for the lunch programs:
- Breakfast Club of Canada – $3,600
- Whistler Blackcomb Foundation – $6,000
Squamish Helping Hands supports a shelter for overnight lodging in our community. Their space availability under the 2m physical distancing requirement is very limited. SD48 is working with the District of Squamish and Squamish Helping Hands to provide the gymnasium at Howe Sound Secondary School for these services. The facility is currently operational from 8:00 pm- 8:00am, 7 days a week and is supervised by staff from Squamish Helping Hands and is supported by Black Tusk Fire and Security. Daily custodial services for cleaning and sanitizing are provided by our SD48 custodial team.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is currently using Signal Hill Elementary School, Myrtle Philip Community School, and Brackendale Elementary School sites, once a week, as infant (2 months to 2 years) immunization centers.
At one school all students will be receiving a $25 gift card for armchair books to support home literacy
In-class instruction has moved to a “learning from home,” primarily online learning environment with teachers providing ongoing personalized learning opportunities to their students. Students are expected to engage in their learning to the best of their ability and as individual circumstances allow. Parents of students not able to fully engage in their learning at this time are to contact their student’s teacher and principal to outline their extenuating circumstances.
Below, is an outline of our efforts to provide continuity of educational opportunities for all of our students:
We are committed to ensuring that all learners are provided opportunities to meaningfully engage with their teachers and classmates online:
- We have provided over 1000 internet-enabled devices (iPads, Chromebooks, and laptops) to students for home use.
- We are supporting a number of families by providing at-home internet access, thanks to generous partnerships with Base Technology and Telus.
- Teachers are connecting with students and families through a variety of district-approved platforms, such as Google Suite for Education, All About Me, SeeSaw, and MyBlueprint.
- Video conferencing is taking place through Google Meet and Zoom.
- A district webpage of online resources for teachers has been created, including a curated list of grade and subject-specific websites, how-to webinars, and related guiding documents from the Ministry of Education and our school district.
- Ongoing bandwidth monitoring and communication with NGN provider is taking place when we experience significant slowdowns.
- Alternate paper-based learning resources and materials will be made available as individual circumstances warrant.
For learners in the primary years, engagement may include but not be limited to:
- Providing schedules, opportunities, and resources for families and caregivers.
- Use of technologies to establish “live” virtual contact with individuals and groups of learners to facilitate their learning activities and to sustain a sense of community among young learners.
- Initial focus on developmental Literacy and Numeracy. The district Instructional Leadership Team has provided sample frameworks for teachers to support this early work.
Next steps will be to engage students in project based learning and inquiry for students to develop their core competencies.
For learners in the intermediate and early secondary years, engagement may include:
- An initial focus on Literacy and Numeracy.
- A wide array of learning activities, with a focus on project-based, inquiry, or problem-based learning.
- The use of technologies to establish “live” virtual contact with individuals and groups of learners to facilitate their learning activities and to sustain a sense of community.
For learners in the graduation years:
- Students are expected to continue their learning for each course they are enrolled in and to complete assignments set out by their teachers to finish their courses.
- Teachers will work with students to develop plans and set reasonable expectations given the current circumstances.
- The focus for each course is on the big ideas, essential learning standards, and core competencies.
- Teacher-led/moderated activities and individual or group projects will be provided to allow learners to demonstrate their learning in a number of ways.
- Learning opportunities may be both offered synchronously (ie. class video conferencing, and asynchronously (google classroom; archived video conferences) for students who can’t be present to view later.
- The completion of required coursework in electives that include the use of specialized equipment not available and/or unsafe to operate at home will be assessed on a course by course basis.
- For students in apprenticeship and academies, teachers and principals are working on creative approaches where possible.
- Through continuing their learning and successfully finishing their coursework, all students on track to move to the next grade will do so in the 2020-21 school year.
- Every student will receive a final mark from their teachers, based on work completed to-date and the assessment of learning that will occur over the coming months.
- For grades 10 and 11 students, graduation assessments are postponed. These assessments will be completed at another time prior to graduation.
- The only graduation assessment required for current Grade 12 students is the Grade 10 Numeracy Assessment.
- The Ministry is assessing a range of options to ensure this graduation requirement can be met by those students who are otherwise on track to graduate this year.
- As in any given school year, those students on track or eligible to graduate will be able to graduate provided that the student has successfully completed sufficient learning in their coursework, as above.
- Teachers and principals will support struggling students to meet these requirements.
- The Ministry of Education is working with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and with post-secondary institutions to ensure the smooth transition of graduating students to other institutions. Grade 12 students can access their interim marks May 6 by visiting the Ministry of Education’s Student Transcript Service.