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Message to Parents, Guardians & Staff

 

Message from the Acting Superintendent of Schools to Parents, Guardians & Staff – March 18, 2020 (PDF Format)

 

Dear Parents, Guardians & Staff,

I want to begin by thanking everyone, students, staff and families for their efforts and understanding during this extraordinary time. The health and safety of all students, staff, families and our school communities is our top priority. Coast Mountains School District (CMSD82) in consultation with the Provincial Health Officer, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, is monitoring the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation on a daily basis.

I write to you today in follow up to the joint announcement from B.C.’s Premier and Ministers of Education and Finance of yesterday afternoon, March 17 regarding the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis.  In an unprecedented move, the provincial government announced the suspension of in-class instruction at all B.C. schools as part of a province-wide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. A letter from the Minister of Education that followed yesterday’s joint announcement is available to you by accessing the following link:

Minister of Education Letter to Parents, Guardians & Staff – March 17, 2020

The province-wide measure, applies to all public and private Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools until further notice. The Premier noted that daycare facilities should continue to operate as normal.

This decision by the Minister of Education was made under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer and supported by all the educational partners and stakeholders in the system.

CMSD82 along with other school districts and the Ministry of Education are planning for continued studies as this situation unfolds. At present, there are more questions than answers and the situation is developing rapidly. The school district is working diligently to get these answers as soon as we can. We will gain more information and clarification during additional conference calls scheduled today and tomorrow with the Ministry of Education.

The District Leadership Team is finalizing the school district’s plans around health, safety and instruction. Our team has been planning since last week in anticipation of this announcement. We want to let you know that our team is working towards finalizing and putting plans into place.

We will be seeking more information and clarification from the Ministry of Education regarding our educational expectations. We will be rolling out specific education plans for students once finalized, and we will be communicating these plans with staff, parents and guardians. We ask everyone to be patient as we better understand the provincial context and what it means for our school district.

It is important to note that the continuity of learning plan will not be ready to roll out on March 30. The District Leadership Team will require time with our staff, after their Spring Break vacations, to plan and provide in-service around technology required to offer engaging education for our students.

Please do not publicly speculate with students, parents and families about plans for March 30 onwards recognizing that this would be done with the best intentions. We want to ensure consistent communication from the school district.

I am also encouraging people to trust only reliable sources of information and to refrain from passing on information which may not be accurate.

Our staff across the school district, who are on a well-deserved Spring Break, will also be apprised of the plans for the continuity of instruction upon their return on March 30.  We wish to respect their time away allowing them an opportunity to rest and spend time with their families.

An information letter regarding school district-related procedures for employees regarding COVID-19 will be issued today by our Acting Human Resources Director. We do not have all the answers today pending guidelines and direction from the provincial/federal governments. We are in a fast moving situation.

Please continue to monitor our school district website and our Twitter feed for updates.  We will share all relevant information as soon as appropriate to do so.

For now, I strongly encourage you and your family to practice social distancing while enjoying probably one of the most interesting Spring Breaks in history. With every challenge, comes many things positive.  Find the positive in this ever-evolving, unprecedented and challenging situation.  It’s there.  We just have to look for it. We are all in this together!

Please stay safe and healthy, and check in with us regularly on our website at www.cmsd.bc.ca or Twitter @CoastMtnSD.

Sincerely,

Janet Meyer
Acting Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

A Message for CMSD82 Parents, Guardians and Staff,

We share the following letter from the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming written to parents, guardians and school district staff regarding updated direction from the Provincial Health Officer to all schools to immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice.

This letter follows up on a joint announcement from the Premier, Minister of Education and Minister of Finance earlier today regarding COVID-19.

Minister of Education Letter to Parents, Guardians & Staff – March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020 – Joint Statement from the Minister of Health and the Provincial Health Officer
https://news.gov.bc.ca/21819

Parents and guardians are encouraged to share B.C.’s new dedicated phone service for non-medical information about COVID-19: 1-888-COVID19.  Service representatives are available seven days a week from 7:30AM to 8PM, and information is available in more than 110 languages.

 

 

March 17, 2020

A Message for CMSD82 Parents/Guardians,

During a news conference held early this afternoon with the B.C. Premier and Ministers of Education and Finance, we learned that under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer, the Provincial Government is directing all schools to immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice.  Education Minister Rob Fleming shared the province made “the difficult decision” to suspend in-class instruction in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 which is moving quickly and its impact on British Columbians is growing.  Minister Fleming noted that “99 per cent” of B.C.’s 550,000 students are currently out of school until March 30, but independent schools and private schools that are still open have been told to suspend in-classes immediately.

On the heels of the news conference, I wanted to write to reassure you that school districts around the province are working collectively with the Ministry of Education to maintain a continuity of instruction for our learners.  Details about what this looks like exactly and how the school district plans to roll it out is being finalized.

Our Principals and Vice Principals, who are on a well-deserved Spring Break, will also be apprised of the plans for the continuity of instruction upon their return on March 30.  We wish to respect their time away allowing them an opportunity to rest and spend time with their families.

Please continue to monitor our school district website and our twitter feed for updates.  We will share all relevant information as soon as appropriate to do so.   The District Leadership Team is “boots on the ground” finalizing the school district’s plans around health, safety and instruction.

I am encouraging people to trust only reliable sources of information and to refrain from passing on information which may not be accurate.

For now, I strongly encourage you and your family to practice social distancing while enjoying probably one of the most interesting Spring Breaks in history.   With every challenge, comes many things positive.  Find the positive in this ever-evolving unprecedented and challenging situation.  It’s there.  We just have to look for it.

Your children are our priority.  Please stay safe and check in with us regularly on our website at www.cmsd.bc.ca or twitter @CoastMtnSD.

Yours sincerely,

Janet Meyer
Acting Superintendent of Schools

 

 

The provincial government has released a self-assessment tool (click on link to open) that can be accessed by the public amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free, online tool, was made available on Monday, March 16 and tells users if they, or someone they know, requires further testing.

This self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.  You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

People with respiratory symptoms who are:

  • Hospitalized, or likely to be hospitalized
  • Health Care Workers
  • Residents of long term care facilities
  • Part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak

Who does not need to be tested for COVID-19?

  • People without symptoms
  • Patients with mild respiratory symptoms who can be managed at home, including returning travellers with an onset of illness within 14 days of return to Canada

The BC Ministry of Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing – to self-isolate for 14 days.  To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain a distance of about 2 metres from others. For more information on COVID-19, refer to HealthLink BC’s COVID-19 website.  Last updated: 3/16/2020 11:00 pm PDT

The province has created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30 am – 8 pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300.

 


Northern Health has launched a COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line to help answer questions and concerns from Northern BC residents.  The NH COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line can be reached at 1-844-645-7811.

A quick reference to the COVID-19 Online Clinic and Information Line is available on the CMSD82 website home page.

This service is to ensure Northern Health residents have access to information, health advice, and an online clinic to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, while reducing demand on emergency rooms and other health services.

This service is staffed by nurses, physicians, and nurse practitioners, offering virtual screening and assessment for individuals who feel they may have COVID-19 or feel they have been exposed. By calling the Online Clinic, Northern BC residents can receive information, may undergo virtual screening, be assessed by a nurse, and may see a physician or nurse practitioner if it is required.

Other options for health information and advice continue to be available, including calling your primary care provider, or contacting HealthLink BC (8-1-1) at any time.

For general COVID-19 health advice and answers to common questions, please continue to visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/common-questions

 

 

 

A Message to All CMSD82 Employees,

As we look towards a well-deserved two-week break, I wish to send a message that hopefully reassures you that the Leadership Team of Coast Mountains School District 82 is working to ensure your safety and well-being. We will continue to work over Spring Break in preparation for the return to school on Monday, March 30.

We will continue to be in constant communication with the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Health Officer from whom we take our direction.  They, in turn, are in communication with the provincial and national government ministries, agencies and sectors. For more information on the integrated approach to this pandemic, please reference the following updated government plan:

BC Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan

We are also adhering to the Occupational, Health & Safety Regulations to ensure that we have taken all the necessary steps to safeguard the safety of our employees.

Given the Public Health Officer’s recommendation issued Thursday, March 12, “against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States,” if an employee chooses to ignore the recommendation and continues to travel out of the country, upon their return they will be required to stay away from work for 14 days and they may need to access the vacation or unpaid leaves of absence available to them. There may be individual nuances that employers may wish to consider on a case-by-case basis. Employees are expected to comply with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer including the recommendations with respect to out-of-country travel.

My message to you is as follows, “We are doing and will continue to do everything within our power to ensure your safety and the safety of our kids”. We will be communicating over Spring Break using two main tools: www.cmsd.bc.ca (school district website) and @CoastMtnSD (school district twitter).

There will be many times over the next two weeks that you will hear rumours. Reality is often different from rumour. Be vigilant in your self-care and be vigilant in your knowledge of the facts.

My hope is that you have a restful, healthy and enjoyable break.  We will communicate on an “as needed” basis, however, I will be communicating an update on Friday, March 27. Again, our choices for communication will be twitter and our website.  We will use school district email if necessary, however, we recognize that individuals do not always choose to check their email while on a break.

Yours sincerely,

Janet Meyer
Acting Superintendent of Schools

 

 

An Important Update for Parents, Guardians & Staff:

 

For your immediate information, please find a link to an important update from the Deputy Minister of Education for parents, guardians and staff regarding COVID-19:

Ministry of Education – Important Update re COVID-19 – March 13, 2020

Kindly note this important update is being sent home today in hard copy with all students for sharing with parents and guardians.

Parents, guardians and staff are asked to follow up with their School Principal should they have questions or concerns.

 

Janet Meyer
Acting Superintendent of Schools

 

A friendly reminder that February 26 is Pink Shirt Day!  The theme for this year’s Pink Shirt Day is “Lift each other up” … a simple, but powerful message encouraging everyone to look beyond our differences and celebrate the things that make each and every one unique.  When we lift each other up, we see past the things that separate us and see instead the things that unite us as people.

While bullying affects so many people physically, emotionally and mentally, we know there are many students, parents, schools and community members that want to know what they can do to help.  Every contribution, whether it’s joining in wearing pink on February 26 to show you are taking a stand, or making an effort to practice kindness and acceptance, or even giving a donation or fundraising for programs that make a difference, can change a life.

Bullying could be happening to someone you know and care about – join in taking a stand against bullying, and letting your peers know that it is not okay.  Show kindness, empathy, and compassion, and speak out!

Take your kindness to new heights on this Pink Shirt Day, and every day, let’s “Lift each other up!!

 

 

The Ministry of Education announced the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education in late January 2020. The awards were created to recognize the enormous contributions of BC’s exceptional teachers, administrators and support staff that are vital to the cultural, economic and social well-being of the province.

The Premier’s Awards provide students, parents, teachers and other members of the community with an opportunity to celebrate those who make a real difference in BC Schools.

The awards are presented annually to exceptional education professionals in BC’s school system working within the public, independent or First Nations school systems.

This year there are 10 categories to choose from to nominate an individual. The awards are open to all education professionals within the BC K-12 public, independent or First Nations school systems.

Winners will receive a $3,000 taxable personal bursary for professional learning, and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning. Runners up will receive a $1,000 taxable personal bursary for professional learning, and a $1,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning.

Nominations are now open and are welcome from all BC citizens, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, trustees and community organizations. The deadline to submit nominations is April 30, 2020.

Additional information on the awards, including a downloadable poster and brochure can be found on the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education website at www.gov.bc.ca/excellenceineducation (click on link to access website).

 

 

 

The Board of Education invites all interested parties to attend the following additional public consultation forums to provide input and share their views on action planning relating to the Independent Consultant’s report and recommendations.  Members of the public who attend the public consultation forum will be asked to participate in a working session around the recommendations.

 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Northwest Trades & Employment Training Centre (NTETC) – Meeting Room
(formerly the Thornhill Junior/Secondary School, 3120 Highway 16 East, Terrace)

 Tuesday, February 25, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Mount Elizabeth Middle/Secondary School – Library
(1491 Kingfisher Avenue, Kitimat)

Thursday, February 27, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Hazelton Secondary School – Library
(2725 Highway 62, Hazelton)

If you are unable to attend the consultation forum, or you prefer to submit your thoughts electronically, please email to feedback@cmsd.bc.ca.

In June 2019, the Board of Education for Coast Mountains School District 82 initiated a review to address concerns that were raised by students, parents, partner groups and communities.  In order to ensure the process was objective and thorough, the Board of Education contracted Independent Consultant, Dianne Turner.

Ms. Turner was tasked to gather relevant information and provide recommendations for future actions to the Board of Education.  The intent of this process was to address concerns raised within the school district and to identify processes moving forward, with the priority being placed on the well-being and learning of students in the district.

The Board of Education received Ms. Turner’s report and recommendations on November 27, 2019.  The report is provided for your information by accessing the following link:

Independent Consultant’s Report to the Board of Education, Nov. 27, 2019

The Board of Education extends their appreciation to those who brought forward concerns and who were willing to be interviewed.   The next steps are to share the report and conduct a series of consultations.

Public participation is encouraged.  Input and feedback is welcomed and valued by the Board of Education.

Should you have questions or you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact Carole Gagnon Executive Assistant at the Board of Education Office at (250) 638-4401 or carole.gagnon@cmsd.bc.ca.

Sincerely,

Shar McCrory
Chair, Board of Education