March 17, 2020
Dear parents, guardians, students and community members,
I want to begin by sending our thoughts to those who have family members and loved ones who are directly impacted by COVID-19, including those with symptoms, confirmations of infection, in self-isolation, and those in the Lynn Valley Care Centre. This situation is uncharted territory for us all, and we are all impacted. It is a time to come together in support of stopping the spread of the virus.
As the cases grow and the impact widens, we are acutely aware of the effects of COVID-19. Our school district has close to 12,000 employees. We not only have people with compromised immune systems, but we also have an enormous number of people who are caring for their parents and other elderly on a daily basis. We are a community and we care for each other. Part of that care is trying to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Today, in an unprecedented move, the provincial government announced that schools in British Columbia will be closed indefinitely for direct face to face instruction. Most importantly, for our school system this means that on March 30th when our doors were to be opened after spring break, they will not be open to students. While students will not be in schools, we need to provide continuity of instruction.
You will have many questions such as:
- What does continuity of instruction actually mean?
- Will my grade 12 child be eligible to enter post-secondary?
- How am I going to care for my child and go to work?
- When we return to instruction at school, will school be extended into the summer to make up time?
We do not have answers to these questions at this time, but we are working diligently to get these answers as soon as we can. There are additional conference calls scheduled today and tomorrow so that we can get more clarity. We simply wanted to take this early opportunity to let you know that our team is planning for March 30th, and we have been planning in-depth since last week in anticipation of this announcement. We are not waiting to put plans into place and are acting now.
The most important message we are trying to convey first and foremost is to stay healthy. We are planning for a more detailed communication that will answer many of your questions, and we hope to share that with you in the coming days.
Superintendent of Schools/CEO