Returning to School on Jan 10, 2022

Dear Hillcrest Families,

I sincerely hope that you were able to enjoy some great family time this holiday season.  We are looking forward to having students back next week and hope they are looking forward to returning! 

In addition to working at tightening up our school’s COVID protocols and planning for the possible challenges that the Omicron Variant of COVID-19 may bring, our staff have been extremely busy this week helping to ensure we have enough classrooms ready to welcome students back on Monday after our recent flooding. I can’t thank our staff enough for going above and beyond this week moving classroom furniture and resources from room to room so that work could be completed. This was key to getting Hillcrest ready to open to all of our students again on Monday. I would also like to share my appreciation for our SD83 Operations department and the crew from Okanagan Restoration who have been working overtime to ensure we will be open next week.

Below are some changes students can expect for Monday due to the flooding.

  • There will be no Breakfast Program this week
  • Ms. Larmand’s Class will be working in our Multi-purpose room this week
  • Mr. Smith’s Class will be working in the Library on Monday, returning to their regular classroom on Tuesday
  • Mrs. Menzies’ Class will be working in the Gym on Monday, returning to their regular classroom on Tuesday
  • Music and Drama classes will take place in student’s regular classrooms this week

Despite these changes, all students should report to their regular outside classroom door when the welcoming bell rings on Monday morning.

As you know, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is threatening to make for some unusual times ahead once again.  We are hopeful in-class learning will continue as normal, however, we are also preparing for the possibility of functional closures (due to staff shortages) if deemed necessary.

We have worked hard as a community to keep our students happy, safe, and learning over the past couple years. Now more than ever it is important that we follow the COVID protocols in place to ensure in-class learning can continue and keep everyone safe.

Below is a summary of some of the new, and familiar, COVID protocols we will have in place on Monday. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 infections within our school and adjust our plans accordingly.

Daily Health Checks

Completing a daily health check with your child is critical to limit the spread of COVID-19 at school. Students showing any symptom of illness should not be coming to school. Below is a link to the online heath check (also on our website) that parents should complete with their children each day before coming to school.

LINK: https://www.k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca/

If students start to show symptoms of illness during the day, parents will be contacted so that they can be picked up immediately. 

Personal Care Routines

Students will continue to wash or sanitize their hands routinely during the day when transitions occur, after touching shared materials/equipment, before/after eating etc.  Students will also be reminded to practice good hygiene throughout the day. (ie. cough/sneeze in their elbow, try not to touch their face, not sharing food, etc.)

Pick-Up & Drop-Off

For now, please limit the number of family members involved in your pick-up and drop-off routines. We also ask that you leave the school grounds as soon as possible after your pick-up/drop-off is complete to limit crowding.

After School

Students should go straight home after school. They should not stay at school to play.

Mask Wearing

SD83 is strongly recommending the use of 3ply or 4ply masks for students during the next 30 days. These types of masks will be made available to students upon their arrival at school. Cloth masks are still required as a minimum layer of protection. Parents who have previously declared their children as “exempt” from wearing a mask will need to complete a new district form. Please email gritchie@sd83.bc.ca if your child meets the criteria for a mask exemption so that I can send you the form and arrange a meeting to discuss the accommodations strategies that can be established if eligible.

Personal Space

Students at Hillcrest are familiar with the term Eagle Wings. We use this term to help remind students to respect others personal space as much as possible.

In-class Learning

Teachers have adjusted the seating arrangements in their classrooms and the activities students participate in to reduce situations where students are in close face-to-face contact. Students should also be expected to participate in increased outdoor learning opportunities. Consequently, ensuring your children come to school dressed for the weather each day (ie. winter boots, snow pants, winter jacket, gloves, toque, etc.) is critical.

Visitors

Unfortunately, visitors will not be allowed at this time. Volunteers (ie. Breakfast Program, Field Trips, etc.) working to support students are still allowed.

Together, we will get through this next period of unknowns and come out stronger and wiser than before.  In the meantime, thank you for all your support and for remaining understanding, caring and kind.

Sincerely,

Gord Ritchie

Principal – Hillcrest Elementary School


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