Year draws to a close

Welcome to the final few days! It has been quite a journey this school year.

Assistant Superintendent Ryan Brennan would like to extend his thanks to parents for their graciousness and understanding as the District has navigated its way through the tremendous challenges that the pandemic showered on the school year.

Just a reminder that Thursday, June 24th is the final day of school for our students. Students will be dismissed, and buses will be running, four hours earlier than usual.

“As the year draws to a close I’d like to say another special congratulations to our graduates, the Class of 2021. You have persevered and accomplished a great deal. Best of luck with your future endeavours.”

“I’d also like to say farewell to our retiring staff, and to the three District leaders who are moving on to new challenges. Thank you for your dedication to SD83 and the students we serve.”

“Also, a warm welcome to Donna Kriger, who will be joining our district in August as the new Superintendent/CEO of Schools, and to Mishel Quaal, the new District Principal of Indigenous Education.”

He noted that as planning continues for the 2021-2022 school year, they are optimistic that school will look very much like what we remember pre-pandemic. More information about what things will look like in the fall will be shared via the District website and social media in August.

He added that if you are looking for some summer time games and activities to help your children practice their literacy and math skills over the summer, SD83 staff have put together some activities for children from kindergarten to grade eight. Go to the drop-down menu entitled Parents and Students and look for Summer Learning Opportunities.

Also, there is a new K-3 Indigenous Summer Reading Boost Program, developed in BC and entitled Joyful Literacy, to support teachers and parents who want to help prevent their young learners of Indigenous ancestry from experiencing more reading loss when schools are closed for the summer break. This home-based and research-based program is comprised of 10 videos that teach parents how to teach and practice Foundational Skills (K-3) . Each video is supported with a handout package of over 100 games, activities, and read-aloud strategies. These videos and information can be found on the SD83 Indigenous Education webpage at https://ie.sd83.bc.ca/

Have a wonderful summer!

Family Day weekend fun challenge!

SD83 is inviting all students and families to participate in P.L.A.Y Shuswap’s Family Day PLAY Challenge February 12-15th, 2021.

SD83 Healthy Schools Co-ordinator Laura Paiement encourages all SD83 families to join in the multi-community activity challenge that promotes, physical literacy, family fun, and being outdoors. This challenge is being sponsored by SD83, Salmon Arm Recreation, Enderby Recreation Services, Sicamous Recreation and P.L.A.Y Shuswap.

“We are encouraging each family/household group to complete as many challenges as they can.  After completing each challenge, they are to send in a photo to playshuswap@gmail.com or to the P.L.A.Y Shuswap Facebook page.  Each submission earns them an entry into great local/community prizes.  Along with the participation prizes, each community will have a grand prize draw for families/households that complete all 10 activities,” explains Paiement.

P.L.A.Y Shuswap is a group of stakeholders from SD83, Sicamous, Salmon Arm and Enderby Recreation Departments, local sport organizations and Interior Health.  We have come together to promote Physical Literacy in the Shuswap.

 “Physical Literacy is the gateway to both participation and excellence in physical activity and sport.  When you have the foundation of skills, motivation, and confidence you will be more likely to be active for life,“ she adds.

This event is made possible thanks to the support of the BC Government BC Family Day grants.

Click here to download pdf poster of Family Day P.L.A.Y Challenge

New safety guidelines announced

Enhanced safety measures and the plans for the second installment of the previously announced federal funding were outlined by Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, to continue to strengthen health and safety plans in K-12 schools to help keep students, teachers and staff safe during the pandemic.

School District No. 83 Superintendent of Schools Peter Jory comments that SD83 will now be updating safety plans and practices to meet the new requirements. He said some of the just announced measures will be in place immediately, while some will take a little more time to implement. “These changes have come about as a result of the learning that has taken place over the last six months, and will build on our current safety measures and make them stronger,” he added.

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The announcements include stronger requirements for mask wearing for middle, and secondary students as well as staff, strengthened guidelines for physical education and music classes, a rapid response team in each health authority to help if there is a significant exposure/outbreak at a school, updated safety plans to be implemented at each school, and a health-checker app to support daily screening.

The new safety guidelines include that all middle and secondary students and K-12 staff will now be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups. The only exceptions are when:
‡ • sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom;
‡ • there is a barrier in place; or
‡ • they are eating or drinking.

Prior to these changes, masks were required for middle and secondary students and all K-12 staff in high-traffic areas, like hallways, school buses, and outside of classrooms or learning groups when they could not safely distance from others.

For elementary students, wearing masks indoors remains a personal choice. These updates are part of ongoing work of the provincial education steering committee and are in alignment with provincial health updates. Updated guidelines for the child care sector will be made available in the coming week.

Guidelines have also been strengthened for physical education and music classes. High intensity physical activities are to be held outside as much as possible. Shared equipment or items, such as weight machines, treadmills or musical instruments, can be used only if they are cleaned between use, compliant with strict school sanitization guidelines. Students using equipment or playing instruments should also be spaced at least two metres apart and masks are to be used when singing.

Strengthened health and safety guidelines also include these updates:

  • Activities that include prolonged physical contact should not be a part of physical education or any other classroom learning. For example, activities like tag or touch football are lower risk, since students may only come into contact with each other briefly, whereas activities like wrestling or partner dancing should be avoided.
  • All K-12 staff are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering when they are in a classroom and they are away from their individual desk or workstation.
  • Staff should be assigned to one learning group whenever possible. Staff interacting without a transparent barrier and with more than one learning group, or with students in more than one school, are to practice physical distancing.
  • Staff must practice physical distancing and wear non-medical masks for any face-to-face meetings or interactions, including in the staff room. Staff also must hold meetings virtually whenever possible.
  • Any visitor to a school is required to wear a non-medical mask.
  • Even when wearing a mask, students and staff must still practice physical distancing whenever possible. Exceptions will be made for people who do not tolerate masks for behavioural or health reasons.
  • Within learning groups, physical distancing should also include avoiding physical contact and minimizing close, prolonged, face-to-face interactions, while spreading out as much as possible within the space available. There should be no crowding, gathering or congregating of people, even when non-medical masks are worn.

Whiteside also announced the second installment of the federal funding arrived on Jan. 29, 2021. School districts will be able to spend their portion of the funding in the following areas, based on local needs:

  • ‡ hiring teachers to deliver education programs, including extended transition programs;
  • ‡ hiring and training custodial and administrative staff to support students in their safe return to schools and to implement school safety plans;
  • ‡ purchasing additional non-medical masks or other personal protective equipment
  • ‡ improving ventilation and air systems in schools;
  • ‡ increasing hand hygiene, including additional handwashing and hand-sanitizing stations;
  • ‡ cleaning equipment and supplies;
  • ‡ mental health support;
  • ‡ software and computer or tablet loans for students learning remotely; and
  • ‡ additional transportation costs to accommodate additional routes and enhanced cleaning.

There will also be funds allocated for six regional rapid response teams, one for each health authority and one dedicated to support independent schools, with representatives from both school and provincial health staff. These teams, announced by the provincial health officer, will continue to improve the speed of school exposure investigations, so health authorities can inform school districts and families more quickly. Rapid response teams will conduct physical or virtual site inspections to ensure K-12 COVID-19 health and safety guidelines are being followed consistently. If there has been a significant exposure event or an in-school transmission, rapid response teams will be deployed to conduct a review and make recommendations, if needed.

School principals and vice-principals at each public and independent school are being provided with updated COVID-19 health and safety checklists to ensure they consistently follow provincial guidelines. Additionally, families in their local communities are reminded of the personal measures they can take to help keep schools safe. School districts and independent school authorities will be required to confirm every school has completed the checklist and safety plans have been updated to reflect the updated guidelines by Feb. 26, 2021. All schools will also post updated plans on their websites.

One of the most important factors to keeping schools safe is a daily screening for any COVID-19 symptoms, which is why daily health checks continue to be required. To support daily screening, a new K-12 health-checker app has been developed for students and their families and can be found at: https://www.k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca The app will allow people to answer simple questions every day. It will inform them if they can attend school or if they need to self-isolate and contact 811 to be screened for COVID-19.

Learn More:
The BC Centre for Disease Control has a new website with information and resources about health and safety measures in K-12 schools, student and staff safety, and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in school: www.bccdc.ca/schools
Families and students can find up-to-date information about K-12 schools at: https://www.gov.bc.ca/safeschools
The B.C. K-12 daily check app can be found at the following addresses:
Apple: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bc-k-12-daily-health-checker/id1547334827
Google: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.qp.k12App

Kindy registration opens on Tuesday

 SD83 Kindergarten Registration 2021-22 

To Parents/Caregivers, 

We are looking forward to welcoming you and your child to North Okanagan School District No. 83! Due to COVID-19, there are some changes to the Kindergarten registration process this year: 

1. Kindergarten registration will open at 9am on Tuesday, October 13th and remain open for the rest of the school year. 

2. You may choose to register in-person at the school or online. 

3. Registering in-person: Please phone the school and make an appointment to come in and complete the paperwork, as only one family at a time can be in the school office area. 

4. Registering online: Please email the school to request the online registration link. 

5. You will need to register at your child’s catchment school (based on your physical address) or specialty school (Bastion – Early French Immersion or South Canoe – Outdoor Learning). To access our catchment school locator tool or find out more information about our specialty schools, Click Here

6. Any parents/caregivers requesting a cross-boundary consideration will need to follow these steps:

a. Register at their catchment school (in-person or online) 

b. Complete a cross boundary request form 

c. Have the form signed by the catchment school’s principal 

d. Take the form to the principal of the requested school (for cross-boundary consideration in the spring) 

7. All Kindergarten registrations completed on Tuesday, October 13th are treated as “equal”, so there is no need for line-ups on that day. Registrations received after October 13th, will be date/time stamped and treated on a first come, first served basis. This information will be used to determine placement IF catchment area schools or programs are full. Students with siblings already registered in a Program of Choice (French Immersion or Outdoor Learning) will be given priority if there is limited space.

If you have any questions about the Kindergarten registration process, please contact: Jennifer Findlay, District Principal, at jfindlay@sd83.bc.ca 

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

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

Does your child ride the bus?

As planning continues for school re-start on Monday, June 1, School District No. 83 (North-Okanagan-Shuswap) transportation department has important information for the parents of any child who will be riding the bus.

Student pick up and drop off times will remain the same for their return to school on June 1st. However, due to lower ridership, parents are requested to please have their children at the bus stop a minimum of five minutes early in the morning.  In addition, some high school students may return home a little earlier in the afternoon because fewer people are riding the bus.  

Parents who have indicted their child will be riding the bus to school will be receiving an email directly from the SD83 Transportation Dept. with finalized information, later today or early Saturday. Please keep an eye out for it.

Drivers please be aware school zones are in effect. For the safety of all, we ask that everyone remember the importance of stopping for a school bus with red lights activated (We Stop – You Stop), please don’t rush the bus, and ensure you not driving distracted around our students or the bus. 

Thank you!

Survey closing, finalizing plans for voluntary classes

The survey to determine who is planning on their child(ren) returning to school on a part-time basis, and whether bus transportation is needed, will be closing at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.

This will give the schools a bit of time to finalize plans before students return to school on Monday, June 1. If you have not yet filled in the survey please do so here:

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR K-5 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR GRADES 6-12 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

It would be appreciated if you respond to the survey even if you are not planning on your child returning to class at this time.

After May 28, SD83 asks parents and caregivers to contact their child’s school directly if they change the status of whether their child is attending, or not attending, school. Each week school teams will create weekly class organization structures within the 50% normal classroom limits so this information is critical to planning. Also, after May 28, if your child is a bus student please ensure you also register with transportation (250 832-9415) so that they know who to expect on the bus.

Just a friendly reminder that as of Monday, June 1 our school buses are back on the road, school zones are in effect, and school playgrounds are in use during the school day.

Our staff and students will be following many safety protocols around health checks, handwashing, spacing, equipment use and cleaning. We ask for your support in ensuring your child is not sick if attending school, and in driving safely around our buses and schools. We are also asking the public to not use our schools and playgrounds during school hours as we will be working hard to keep student and staff density low and ensuring safety protocols are followed. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated as we do our best to keep everyone safe. Thank you!

Much organization and thought has gone into preparing our schools including:

  • Surveying all families to see if they intend to send their children to school, and how often.
  • Follow up communication to families that have not completed the survey to ensure all families are contacted regarding their intentions for June.
  • Inform parents which days their children will attend
  • Reduce kindergarten to grade 5 Home Learning support and interactions for May 25-29 to allow teachers and staff to set-up classrooms and prepare to receive students
  • Have Health and Safety Teams at each school review the site-based safety plans
  • Put in place health and safety procedures at each school
  • Have every school staff ‘practice’ the week before return to in-class instruction. This will allow us to identify any improvements we need to make before the return of students.
  • Follow Ministry Guidelines around maximum class sizes (50%) and school densities (50% for K to 5) and (20% for Grade 6 to 12) and strategies to minimize physical contact
  • Organize custodial staff for daytime cleaning supports in each school to accommodate occupancy

Did you see our survey?

SD83 recently sent an email and survey to all our parents (with an email listed with their children’s school). By any chance did we miss you?

With the positive news about the decline in COVID-19 comes recent direction from the Ministry of Education to re-open our schools effective June 1, 2020, to provide additional in-class instruction. Parents will still have the option of keeping their children at home, and some home learning opportunities will continue on-line until the end of the school year.

Stage 3 of the Ministry plan allows for students in kindergarten to grade five to attend up to two to three days per week, with students in grades six through twelve attending up to one day per week. Schools will be open five days a week for children of Tier 1 Essential Services Workers and students requiring additional supports. Busing will be available with capacity limits in place.

We are following all Health and Safety Guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer, WorkSafe BC and the Ministry of Education in order to ensure that our schools are safe places to learn and to work. These guidelines include having no more than 50% of students in attendance in grades K-5 and no more than 20% of students in grades 6-12 at any given time.

In order to meet all of the Health and Safety Guidelines, including the limits described above, we will need to know which students will be returning to schools in the coming weeks. Additional surveys will follow shortly to gather more specific information as June 1st draws closer.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR K-5 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR GRADES 6-12 RETURN TO SCHOOL SURVEY

Thank you!

Virtual parent meeting to talk about math!

What is all this math that teachers are sending home? Where are all the worksheets? What is my child supposed to be doing? How do I know if they are on track? What happens if they don’t learn everything this year?

SD83 invites all parents to join us in a virtual meeting on May 12 at 6 p.m. to talk about the kinds of math that SD83 is hoping students can be working on during this home learning time and how that matches with the math we have included on our home learning opportunities pages.

changed math meeting

To join the virtual meeting just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12th please click here: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OTZlNzJkYTEtODA0Yy00MTY2LTljMjgtNjY2ZjQxYjAxYzVl%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2287a1ffa4-963f-450e-8d90-155de78d9be5%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22ae0930ac-c822-4a6b-91ca-ae7bf9cb0ffc%22%7d

We will talk about things to watch for as your child works on the math, and how you can support their learning. The focus will not be on how to actually do the math, although in the Q &A we can certainly help with that, but on questions you can ask your child to help them deepen their understanding of the concepts they are working on.

We will discuss the different types of math activities that you might be seeing sent home, including why these activities were selected and how your child can use them. We will also spend some time talking about ways to help them learn basic facts.

There will also be question and answer opportunities through the virtual meeting. Bring your questions and join us for a rich mathematical discussion. If you would like to email your questions ahead of time, please send them to vedgell@sd83.bc.ca with Parent Math Night question as a subject.

Easing children’s anxiety

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Health’s EASE team has been hard at work adapting EASE classroom activities for use at home by parents and caregivers to support children’s mental health and continuous learning.

EASE at Home is a collection of fun and practical strategies to help guide parents and caregivers in managing their children’s anxiety and worries in the comfort of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The links below include suggestions for fun and engaging activities:

EASE at Home – Grades K– 3

EASE at Home – Grades 4 – 7

For more everyday activities and resources to help support continuous learning while families are home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, view the Ministry of Education’s Keep Learning BC website https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/ and First Nations Education Steering Committee’s website. http://www.fnesc.ca/continuous-learning/  

More information is available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/ease

Supporting essential services

Part of the government’s direction to school districts during this challenging time is to provide some support for the children of Tier 1 essential service workers who have no other child care options. This has caused some confusion with parents as many are on the essential services list, but not necessarily in the Tier 1 group. Hopefully the following information will help provide clarity.

Click on this link for more details.