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Kootenay Lake District Superintendent pens letter to families, staff

Dear families and staff, 

As we are about to undertake our third week of life under COVID-19, we thought we might take a minute to update all of you so we are all remain on the same page. The BC Government has extended our current medical state of emergency for the Province of British Columbia for the next few weeks. We know this is an uncertain time, and we want you to know we are here for all of you. We are truly privileged to be your school district and together we will get through this. 

As you know we have been following Four Guiding Principles from Ministry of Education: 

1. Maintaining a healthy and safe environment for students, families and staff is paramount. 

  • Our schools are safe. We have specific COVID-19 protocols, systems, procedures, documentation, and staff in place to assist. 
  • Most of you have now safely acquired technology, cleared out lockers, and retrieved student and family personal items. Please contact your Principal to make an appointment if you have not done so already. 
  • We continue to monitor and ensure maximum safety for all our staff and students. 

2. Providing services to support children of essential workers is our top priority. 

  • As of Monday, we will have fully implemented all three tiers of assistance for our Essential Support Worker families. If you feel you have been left out of this service, kindly contact your school Principal and they will gladly assist. 

3. Supporting vulnerable students who may need special assistance. 

Next week, we will have fully implemented all aspects of our support for Vulnerable families. If you feel you have been left out of this process, kindly contact your school Principal. You can make an appointment as they will be on site. 

  • Speech Language Therapists and Therapy Assistants are connecting with families through the school and/or directly in order to continue to provide services to students on their caseload. 
  • Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists are offering support to families on their caseloads to provide home programs and resources. 
  • Specialist teachers in touch with their students and families to continue hearing and vision supports. 
  • Inclusion Support Teachers are supporting case managers to write IEP’s, supporting teachers with instructional strategies and activities for students with learning needs and providing professional development opportunities. 
  • District Psychologist is supporting students through phone and through school case managers 
  • Youth and Family Support Workers connecting with vulnerable students 
  • Coordinator of School Mental Health and Addictions and Manager of Safe Schools remain connected to all school counsellors. Please contact your school Principal if you are in need of any of these services. 
  • Aboriginal Education students continue to be supported from Aboriginal Education Team. 

4. Providing continuity of educational opportunities for all students. 

  • Teachers have contacted their students and most students are up and running with some new learning. 
  • We all remain aware that some families need more and others need less. We are trying to remain flexible as things move along. 
  • Families need to know that we are not trying to complicate things for you. Please have your student/s move forward with new learning to the point where they are able to do so. We do not want to add further stress and anxiety to your home at this time. If this is too much right now, that is okay. Just tell us. We will continue to support you. 
  • Learning is going to look a little different moving forward and we understand some will need a little more time than others to get used to new processes. 

Communication 

Consistent messaging is key to all our success. We encourage you to follow us: 

Marks and Grad Ceremonies and Post-Secondary applications 

  • Report Card Three – For Secondary students, the marks you had prior to Spring Break are being submitted as your Term Three mark. 
  • Year-end Report Card – This mark will build on where you were prior to Spring Break and will include a teacher assessment of your new learning since that time. 
  • Grad Ceremonies – Formal school ceremonies will not take place this year. We know that is a huge disappointment for our Grads and our hearts are with you. Your Principal will be in touch. 
  • Post-Secondary – Please understand that the entire globe is facing this experience together. Post-Secondary Institutions are fully aware the situation is not “normal” and will adapt processes accordingly. They are taking a flexible approach to admissions, knowing that students are coming from jurisdictions all around the world and are having very different experiences during their final year of high school. For specific concerns, kindly approach the individual institution, check their website, or contact your guidance counsellor for assistance. 

Thank you 

Thank you to the Board of Education, the Ministry of Education, and the Public Health Office (Dr. Bonnie Henry), for supporting and guiding us through this pandemic. Thank you our entire staff, students, families, DPAC, PACs, host families, and guardians for your patience and for standing by us. Remain positive. We will get through this together. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “Stay calm. Stay kind. Stay healthy.” 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Christine Perkins | Superintendent & Chief Executive Officer