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News: Friday, January 7th, 2022

Enhanced Safety Measures: Preparing for School on Jan. 10th

At the end of last week, I shared information around the delayed return to school for students and the implementation of additional health and safety measures. Since that time, more information has become available, and I would like to share an update with you. 

School Plans 

Over the last few days, our schools have been busy preparing continuity of learning plans and enhanced safety measures in advance of students returning to school on Monday, January 10, 2022. Every family will have received a letter from their school principal outlining these enhanced measures today, along with the information being posted on your child's school website. 

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with these new school-based processes. 

MORE: School Websites 

Daily Health Checks 

The safety and well-being of our students, families, and staff continues to remain our highest priority. Doing your part to check for symptoms every day before going to school and staying at home if you have symptoms are essential steps to keeping our schools healthy. These measures act as an extra line of defense to ensure that our children and staff can continue to attend school as safely as possible. 

Please continue to complete a Daily Health Check each morning, wear a mask, continue to wash your hands frequently, and maximize physical distance where possible. 

MORE: K-12 Health Check 

Masks 

All K-12 staff, students and visitors are required to wear masks in all indoor areas throughout our district. 

Exceptions include: 

  • To a person who is unable to wear a mask because they are unable to tolerate it (for health or behavioural reasons); 
  • To a person unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person; 
  • If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it; 
  • If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. actively playing a wind instrument, high-intensity physical activity, etc.); 
  • If a person is eating or drinking; 
  • If a person is behind a barrier; and 
  • While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability (including but not limited to a hearing impairment), where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important.

MORE: PHO Mask Requirements  

Vaccinations 

The evidence has shown us that vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread. Safe and effective vaccinations are now available for individuals five years old and up. 

MORE: Fraser Health Resources 

COVID-19 Notifications 

The emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 has required changes in public health management. With higher levels of community transmission, a shorter virus incubation period, and the increased use of rapid antigen testing, contact tracing and close contact notification by public health is no longer effective to minimize spread of COVID-19. As such, our district will no longer be able to alert families of individual COVID-19 cases. However, should a school setting be impacted by an outbreak, families will be notified and advised of the appropriate next steps. 

Functional Closures 

We have seen the impact of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, and we expect there will be staffing / absence challenges within the school district over the course of the next few weeks. There is a possibility that at some point, we will experience a 'functional closure' – a situation where there is insufficient staff to provide instruction and appropriate supervision at a particular school (or schools) or high student absenteeism – resulting in a temporary and short-term school closure. 

We are prepared to manage these events with robust continuity of learning plans. Should a functional closure impact your child's school, families will be notified and advised of the appropriate next steps. 

Ongoing Communications 

BC’s Provincial Health Officer and the Minister of Education will continue to monitor developments around the COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing updates will continue to be posted on our website at www.abbyschools.ca/covid-19. 

I hope that you will enjoy the remaining days of the extended winter break, and we look forward to welcoming your child back to our schools on Monday, January 10, 2022. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Kevin Godden
Superintendent of Schools

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Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206
Email: kayla.stuckart@abbyschools.ca