Parents in the Chilliwack are being asked to “be patient” as the school district rolls out a very different education model beginning Monday, March 30.
Students were slated to be back in school that day, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while schools will be open, classes won’t be in session. A letter was sent out March 26 by Rohan Arul-pragasam, the interim school superintendent, explaining what families can expect going forward.
“Although we do not have all of the details worked out at this time, the purpose of this letter is to provide clarity regarding expectations for the week of March 30,” he writes, adding that they are being careful to create a plan that follows the “all of the necessary safety precautions articulated by the Provincial Health Officer.”
That will include limiting access to schools to limit exposure.
Parents can expect to hear from their schools or their children’s teachers during the first week, explaining how they can access the school to grab belongings, including text books and resources, from desks and lockers. That call will also be a chance to ask questions and learn about how each child’s education plan will look as they transition to a virtual classroom environment.
“This could include measures such as online learning tools and/or resource packages or assignments e-mailed from teachers to parents/guardians,” Arul-pragasam writes. “This initial call will also provide staff with the opportunity to ask questions regarding your student’s access to technology, including a printer.”
The district is also collecting information from families about what resources they have at home, to help identify vulnerable students who may need extra support in the coming weeks or months. Their Continuity of Education survey is available at www.sd33.bc.ca.
The survey also asks parents whether their children access meal programs at school. The province has discussed the possibility of keeping some food programs available for those who rely on them, but no solid details have been made public yet.
As for the Class of 2020, the good news is that students who were on track to graduate, even if they lack the Grade 10 numeracy assessment, will graduate. The bad news, there won’t be any big celebrations at this time.
“As this crisis unfolds, events such as prom and graduation ceremonies are on hold,” Arul-pragasam says. “We will wait to see how our collective efforts slow down the transmission of the virus and for all of the provincial orders to be lifted before we start planning for these events in the future.”
Over the next week, he adds that educators will be working on prioritizing lesson plans to be carried out at home, focusing on lessons that haven’t been covered, but keeping it manageable for home-based learning.
“Please be reassured that we will continue to offer engaging and robust learning opportunities as we migrate to a new learning modality,” he writes. “As school staffs commence work after spring break, you will receive regular updates from your school principal specific to your school community. This is, indeed, an unprecedented time but I know we will weather this storm and come out stronger given our resolve and caring for each other in this great school community.”
See the full letter below: