School Closure – January 4, 2022

Dear Hillcrest Families,

Happy New Year! I hope this message finds you well and that you were able to enjoy lots of quality family time over the Winter Break.

As you are hopefully aware through the media reports and the messages sent out by the district, the start of school has been delayed until Monday January 10, 2022. The goal of the delayed start to school is to have the least number of students in school as possible. This will allow staff time to implement new safety requirements aimed at reducing the possibility of transmission in school and prepare for the weeks ahead. The opportunity to attend school this week is only available to children of parents in Heath Care, or parents of students with expectational needs who have no other child-care options.  Parents who meet this criterion and have no other child-care options must email gritchie@sd83.bc.ca before sending their child to school.

To further complicate matters, we had a failure in our Fire Suppression system at Hillcrest yesterday due to frozen pipes. This resulted in a series of floods which has affected a large portion of our school. As a result, we have been forced to close the entire school on Tuesday January 4 for staff and students who were planning to attend.  We will work to provide an update on this closure by 12:00pm on Tuesday January 4 for the remainder of the week.  

I know that we are all tired of COVID and the sacrifices that we have had to make over the past couple years. As a community we have worked extremely hard throughout the pandemic to ensure quality learning can continue as safely as possible. I do believe that we are nearing the end, however, I also believe that the next while may be the most challenge for us. Omicron is different. It is much more transmissible and has a shorter incubation period. With the increase in cases across the province we are expecting an increase in the number of students and staff becoming infected or having to self-isolate at home. This has the potential to cause severe staff shortages which could lead to functional school closures. We need to do everything we can right now to ensure we can keep our school open over the next couple months.

As always, I thank you for your continued support. It is such a privilege to work in such a caring community. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by email at gritchie@sd83.bc.ca.

Sincerely,

Gord Ritchie

Principal – Hillcrest Elementary School

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