Feb 2021 – Updated Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 Schools

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Further to our quick update yesterday, the Educational Leadership Team met this morning to discuss the updated Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 Schools. Although the changes to mask requirements are clearly the most substantive part of the update, it’s important to remember that the provincial COVID-19 health and safety requirements are now a combined total of over 80 pages in length. I wanted to express my appreciation to our leadership team for finding space to review the documentation over night and to have a substantive planning conversation this morning. I think it really
speaks to the dedication of our team. We’re blessed to have them.

During the press conference, both the Provincial Health Officer and the Minister of Education described the changes in the Guidelines as being responses to both the evolution of the virus and our growing evidence-based understanding of best safe practices for schools.

When PCS reopened in the fall, we submitted and had approved a school safety plan that met or exceeded all provincial COVID safety guidelines. We have been given until February 26th to ensure all of our processes comply with the updated guidelines.

We’d like to highlight a couple of important changes in the new guidelines that will be most immediately visible.

The most obvious is that all staff and middle and high school students will be required to wear masks in all indoor areas of the school, including when they are in their learning cohorts. Masks can only be removed when:
• sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in their classroom or learning space;
• there is a barrier in place; or
• they are eating or drinking.

Additional requirements include having high intensity activities outside wherever possible and that middle and high school students wear masks while singing.

As a school, we continue to appreciate the diligence of our community in supporting our efforts to maintain the various protocols and procedures that continue to ensure our safe operation.

For further information:
BC Centre for Disease Control Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools
Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings

Your continued prayers are appreciated.

Darren Lewis

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