Even though Prince George students won’t be physically be heading back into classrooms after Spring Break this year, School District 57 (SD57) says learning will continue.
Yesterday (March 17), because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. Premier John Horgan and the Minister of Education Rob Fleming, under the advisement of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced all K-12 schools will suspend in-class instruction until further notice.
“We are in unprecedented times and it is clear now is the time to pull together and put our community’s health and wellbeing at the forefront by stopping the spread of the virus,” said SD57 Superintendent Anita Richardson at a news conference outside of the board office in Prince George.
“For SD57, this means that when Spring Break is over, on March 30, students will not be returning to the classroom. Currently, our senior staff is working to develop timelines and priorities for what continued learning for students will look like during the suspension for in-class instruction.”
Richardson reiterated Fleming’s remarks that each student will receive a final grade at the end of the school year and that students on track to move to the next grade will do so in the fall.
She also noted that every student eligible to graduate from grade 12 this year and the ministry will work with post-secondary systems to ensure a smooth transition for students headed that direction.
“We also continue to be concerned about our vulnerable students with the need for unique supports. We recognize that many families rely on our school system for a variety of supports and we will continue to work on our plans to provide the supports that are required during these challenging times.”
She noted the district currently has more unknowns than knowns and even though the landscape is changing rapidly they are working to keep the community informed as they get more information from the ministry.
Richardson said many school district staff are working over the next two weeks to make sure they are keeping up to date with the constantly shifting landscape and keeping school sites safe.
Schools will be open following Spring Break, but students will not be going to school for instruction.
Richardson said, at this time to the best of their knowledge, staff will be expected to return to work after Spring Break, excluding those who need to quarantine or self-isolate.
“What the details will look like and what the learning will look like from now to that point that is what we are looking to figure out,” says Richardson.
“I think the message at this time is we have an obligation to our families and our students to continue the learning what that is going to look like we don’t know yet but certainly our obligation is to continue with the best possible learning we can provide during this unprecedented time.”
More information can be found on the SD57 website, which will soon include a question and answer section.
The district has also set up a dedicated email address for COVID-19 questions as they relate to SD57 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“We are stronger together we hope people are able to find some joy created by the opportunity to slow our daily lives and focus on those closes to us,” added Richardson.
“Together we can stop the virus support those who need it in our community and keep the health and wellness of those we love our priority.”