Most School District 67 students are back in class today, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, but some parents have expressed anxiety about the return to school.
Superintendent of Schools Todd Manuel said this school year has shown how important it is for students to attend school in person. But he also said students and parents have a role to play to keep schools safe which means keeping kids home if they have symptoms.
“As we prepare for our return after our two-week break, we want to welcome students and staff back to our schools. Throughout this time, it has never been more clear just how important the relationships that are built and learning that occurs in our schools each day is for our students and for our community,” said Manuel.
“I am grateful to all of our teachers and support staff for their continued commitment, and to our students and parents for sharing the responsibility of keeping our schools safe. There are so many incredible things going on in our schools and classrooms this year.”
SD67 schools didn’t have that many COVID-19 exposures but didn’t avoid the virus altogether. Princess Margaret Secondary School had several cases of COVID within the school community that shut down afternoon classes at the Skaha-area school. Those afternoon classes are now back on.
Pen High had two different exposures, one just in the last week of school before the break. A classroom in Giant’s Head Elementary School in Summerland had an exposure as well.
Those school exposures are listed on the Interior Health website when they happen.
An online petition to extend the winter break by two weeks has been circulating since Dec. 28, garnering more than 2,000 signatures. Some parents in SD67 have taken to social media to say they have decided to keep their children home another two weeks to see how the winter break exposures play out.
Manuel didn’t comment on how many students were expected to stay home.
“While we begin 2021 with a sense of optimism and hope, we also understand that we are not out of this pandemic yet, and want to remind our community that we will continue to be focused on implementing our health and safety protocols in our schools,” said Manuel.
This includes ensuring that the daily check is completed prior to attending school each day.
“I would like to remind parents to continue supporting their children with this check.”
A copy of the daily health check is posted to the district website for reference.
“We will continue to work hard as a district to ensure our schools are safe, and appreciate the support of our parents and students in working together to follow all of our health and safety protocols,” he said.