Mr. Heah’s Update, May 11th, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and I hope that all of our mothers were showered with the love and appreciation they deserve for their very important vocation!

I would like to update you on the current situation, as several of you have contacted me with questions about the possible return to school. What we do know to date is:

1. The current model of remote instruction will continue for now until there is more information given by the P.H.O. and our Superintendent’s Office.

As you can appreciate, teachers will not be able to to offer both in-person instruction as well as remote instruction. Even if some students were to return to school in some capacity, the same model of instruction would continue. Teachers would be planning and delivering instruction in the same way they are doing now, but those students who would be coming to school would complete this at school rather than at home. Supervision would be provided to those students that are at school. The school day would not look like it did prior’s to Spring Break as that is not possible. Some of our staff will not be able to return to the school due to health concerns, so it is important for you to know that your child(ren) may not be with their regular teacher if they return to school. Depending on the number of students returning, there may be classrooms with a mix of students from different grades. 

2. There is a plan in place to look at possibly getting some students back to school on a part-time basis prior to the end of the school year.

The current model that is being looked at by the Ministry is alternate days for students in K-5, and part time (possibly one day a week) access to in-class learning for students in Grades 6-12, as needed. 

3. Many safety measures and precautions must be in place prior to any return to school.  

Several safety measures will need to be put into place prior to allowing anyone back into school. It will be imperative that we can provide the safest environment for our staff, students and family members. We will not be having anyone return before we feel confident that we can do this. Some of the things we will have to look at will be procedures around entry to school, screening processes, installing any necessary safety items (ie-plexiglass), ordering and putting up signage, safe use of bathrooms and drinking fountains, proper supply of hand washing products, access to critical custodial supplies, how to maintain social distance during class time and recess, to name a few. These things will take time and require guidance from W.C.B., the Ministry of Education and the Superintendent’s Office.

4. Any return to school would be on a voluntary basis.

It has been stated on numerous occasions by the Minister of Education, P.H.O., and the Premier that returning to school will be voluntary. There is no requirement for parents to send their children to school if they do not feel comfortable doing so, and keeping your child(ren) at home will not affect attendance. In my many conversations with different parents, it is evident that the majority of parents will choose to keep their child(ren) at home. The partial return to school for some students will likely be a necessity for those parents that will need to return to work with the gradual move towards the next phase of B.C.’s Restart Plan.

We are expecting to get more information this week from the Education Minister and the Superintendent’s Office regarding this possible return to school, and I will send out the information as I receive it. I cannot stress enough how important it is for parents to understand that before we can consider any partial return to school, we must have all of our safety measures and procedures in place. After gaining a better understanding of how this return may look for families, the first step will be to get a sense of how many families would be looking at sending their children back to school. I will send home a survey to parents once I have more details, where you can indicate if you plan to send your child(ren) back to school this year. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. These are uncertain and challenging times – please know we are doing our best to keep up with the ongoing changes. I am told that there will be more information coming to us on Wednesday, so I hope to update you after that. 

With my continued prayers for your health, safety and well-being,Clive Heah| Principal
St. Patrick’s School, Maple Ridge
www.stpatsschool.org
604-467-1571 (t)

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