(PQB News file photo)

(PQB News file photo)

Staggered restart for PQB schools in 2022 sees children of essential workers return first

‘Health care workers are the stated priority’ for district

Parents of elementary and secondary students in Parksville Qualicum Beach concerned about their children accessing schools prior to Jan. 10 will need to contact their school’s principal to see if they can.

On Wednesday, Dec. 29, Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, announced children of essential workers can return to class in the first week of January, while all other K-12 students will return to school a week later on Jan. 10.

A release addressed to parents, guardians and staff of School District 69 (Qualicum) from Peter Jory, superintendent, stated the additional time will provide staff an opportunity to plan and implement new safety protocols, as well as increase system readiness for potential functional closures should classrooms or schools need to be excluded in the event of extensive staff illnesses.

READ MORE: B.C. schools to have a staggered re-start in January; essential workers’ kids return first

Jory’s release continued, noting SD69 staff will be expected to report to their regular work sites on Tuesday (Jan. 4) and participate in planning meetings and to complete regular work assignments; and that school sites will be open for K-12 students whose parents are deemed to be essential workers (with those in health care being prioritized) and for students who have unique needs whose parents believe they require the support of school staff. Buses will also be running until it is determined that they are not necessary and there will not be regular instruction in schools until Jan. 10.

“If parents or guardians have questions regarding whether or not their child can access school this coming week, please contact your school principal via email prior to Tuesday morning,” read the release.

“Though health care workers are the stated priority, the list of other jobs that qualify as essential is comprehensive, and we have no intention of turning students away if their parents need our support. We would like that conversation to go through the school principals as it will help them plan for this coming week,” wrote Jory in an email to PQB News. “Most of the strategies that have been recommended are about increasing the opportunities to distance in the building. Principals have been asked to customize these to match the needs and culture of their building. For example, schools that have busier hallways and entrance areas are likely to adopt staggered transition times, while schools that have lower levels of student traffic many not.”

If parents, students or guardians have any further questions, they can add them to an online form (found at: https://forms.gle/UD51121UpE6u146VA) so school district staff can address them in upcoming communications.

– NEWS Staff, submitted

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