Back to school has been delayed so that schools can put new COVID safety measures in place to help stop the spread of the Omicron variant. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)

Back to school has been delayed so that schools can put new COVID safety measures in place to help stop the spread of the Omicron variant. (Photo credit: Journal files)

Back to school delayed as more safety measures put in place

Changes will be implemented at all School District No. 74 schools before students return

Back to school has been delayed for most students in B.C. until Jan. 10, following an order from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Dec. 29. The delay will give schools additional time to learn more about the impacts of the Omicron variant on communities and schools, and to implement enhanced safety plans to support the safe continuation of in-class learning.

School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) has made additions to its Communicable Disease Plan reflecting the new order. This Dec. 30 addendum outlines the health and safety measures that will be in place each day to keep students and staff healthy and safe while at school.

The new measures in the addendum include:

– Space arrangement: Space between people will be maximized, and strategies will be implemented that prevent crowding during class transition and break times. These could include limiting or avoiding face-to-face seating arrangements and staggering recess/snack, lunch, and class transition times.

– Staff only spaces: Gatherings that are for staff only (such as staff meetings and professional development activities) will be held virtually.

– School gatherings and events (including extracurricular activities): School gatherings such as assemblies and parent-teacher interviews will be held virtually. If gatherings and events must be in-person — such as inter-school sports events — the number of people in attendance will be minimized as much as possible and will not exceed 50 per cent capacity. Spectators will not be allowed, and extracurricular sports tournaments will be paused.

– Visitor access: Visitors to schools will be limited to people who are supporting activities that are of direct benefit to the learning and well-being of students. These include, but are not limited to, teacher candidates, immunizers, and meal program volunteers.

– Masks: The health order requires all students, staff, and visitors to wear a mask indoors at all times. Everyone who is able (i.e. anyone who does not have a mask exemption) must wear a mask.

School district staff will be working to ensure that all schools in SD74 are in compliance with the addendum, and that staff are as prepared as possible for the impacts of the Omicron variant. Parents or caregivers who have questions should contact their child’s school directly.

You can read the SD74 Communicable Disease Plan at https://bit.ly/3HMXNl1. The addendum can be read at https://bit.ly/3Jx4BEZ.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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