Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. (Black Press file photo)

Chilliwack school district not expecting teacher shortage due to COVID-19

Retirements not increasing in School District 33, staff confirms

The Chilliwack School District is not expecting the COVID-19 pandemic to create teacher shortages.

Many teachers around B.C. have suggested in online forums they may retire this year if they aren’t satisfied with the safety protocols in place in their districts. But that hasn’t in Chilliwack happened yet, the school district confirmed.

There have been no new retirement announcements, and the district has had the usual number of retirements last school year in comparison to other years.

Chilliwack is also “continuing to hire teachers teaching on call (TTOCs) and at this time are not anticipating shortages,” the district confirmed via email to The Progress. A resignation in the district requires 30 days notice to the employee, but does not require district approval. Under the collective agreement, the district asks for “reasonable notice,” and generally retirements are announced by May 1 for the upcoming year.

Meanwhile, the district is working toward opening for teachers on Sept. 8, and students on Sept. 10. The first day of school for students will be brief, and an opportunity to see who is in their class and cohort, and to go over the health and safety rules. The first full day of school will be Sept. 11.

On Monday, a letter was sent out to all parents by Rohan Arul-pragasam, acting superintendent outlining what September will look like, inside and outside the classroom.

READ MORE: New hybrid learning model open to Chilliwack students

For one, he notes that as mandated by the government masks will be required for staff and middle/secondary students in high traffic areas. This includes buses, common areas and any time outside of their learning cohort. There is no requirement as of yet for elementary students to do the same.

Arul-pragasam notes this is the time for parents to speak about the importance of wearing a mask and physically distancing.

“It is important that we collectively ensure safety for our school community,” he underlines.

He also wrote in hopes of allaying fears that families may have, noting that the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced in June and “wide-ranging media coverage… has caused anxiety and trepidation for some families.”

The district will be submitting their plan to the MOE this week, and then releasing the plan to the public no later than Aug. 26. Part of that plan will include a hybrid learning model that Chilliwack is creating for those who want a combination of in-school and at-home learning.

“Finally, it is important to understand that as we welcome back students and families on Sept. 10, any increase in community or regional transmission of COVID-19 and case counts may require us to pivot to a different stage under the advisement of the Provincial Health Officer and the Ministry of Education,” he wrote.

READ MORE: B.C. school staff, older students required to wear masks in ‘high traffic areas’


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Chilliwack School DistrictCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Chilliwack Agriculture Tour goes virtual during pandemic

Rather than bus tourists to local farms, tour stops will be posted on Facebook and Instagram

City of Chilliwack holding annual Hazardous Waste Day in early October

The one-day event is a chance to get rid of household things like pesticides and paint cans

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read