Quesnel School District staff have been working hard to plan for a return from spring break that looks much different than anyone could have expected.
With K-12 public schools in B.C. closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, students will not be returning to class March 30 but will now be learning at home.
Superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller provided an update to parents and guardians on March 27, explaining that staff will be connecting with families in the next week and will be developing plans for delivering learning opportunities the week after.
Miller begins her letter by thanking parents and guardians for their patience as the school district wades through these uncharted waters.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding as the staff of the Quesnel School District (SD28) take the necessary time to do thoughtful planning regarding the delivery of educational services while students are at home,” she writes in the letter, which is posted on the school district’s Facebook page and website.
During the week of March 30, SD28 staff will work on establishing health and safety plans for each school or work site to enable them to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Miller.
Staff will also be connecting with families during this week.
“Teachers will be calling students and their parents/guardians to do a check in and to gather some information that will help the district plan for continued learning,” writes Miller. “Please reassure your children that their teacher will be in touch with them very soon.”
Miller says students who are on the District Lunch Program will be contacted regarding nutritional support.
During the week of April 6, the district will develop a plan to deliver learning opportunities, according to Miller.
“It will include supports for students who have access to technology and for those who do not,” she writes. “The Ministry of Education is also creating a Planning Framework and resources to support teachers and families. These tools will be share with families when they are available. Our dedicated, caring and creative staff will have many innovative ideas to support students. Once our plans for learning are in place, families will be contacted, most likely towards the end of that week.”
Miller says it is important for everyone to understand that students’ education will look very different over the next few months.
“We will all need to do our best to engage students while supporting their well-being and the well-being of your families,” she writes. “It will not be possible to replicate the instruction of a classroom at home for 2,900 students in the district, just as it is not possible to ask parents/guardians to assume the role of teacher while they are fulfilling their responsibilities as parents and going to work.”
Parents are asked not to go to the school to pick up student belongings or resources. A schedule is being prepared by each school to allow for the safe pickup of resources and personal belongings. Miller assures parents that until then, students’ personal effects remain secure in their lockers or classrooms, and she asks that parents do not call schools at this time, as they will not be fully staffed.
Miller encourages parents and guardians to continue checking the school district’s website and Facebook page for updates.
“Together, we will provide our students and your children with opportunities to learn and thrive during these challenging times,” writes Miller.