Have you ever looked forward to a school break more than the upcoming Christmas break? This has been a school year like no other, and we want to thank you for your cooperation and diligence over these last few months of the school year. You and your children have done an incredible job of adapting and helping keep schools safe learning environments.
Before we break to celebrate Christmas, we need to look to the new year and the return to school. No doubt you have heard or read about a handful of other school divisions in the province starting the year with a period of online learning (Level 4 according to the province's Safe Schools Plan).
In consultation with our local medical health officers, and our sister school divisions, we are planning for a return to in-class learning as scheduled on January 4, 2021. High schools currently at Level 3 (blended learning) will resume with blended learning. With the planned two-week Christmas break and more robust public health measures in place, the medical health officers see little potential benefit in starting the new year at Level 4 (full online learning).
We have been consistently reminded that the vast majority of positive cases in schools are NOT
transmitted in school; transmission happens somewhere else in the community. As a school division, we have not experienced similar challenges we read about in other jurisdictions. There is no doubt that is because of your efforts following health guidelines and safety processes in schools and in the community.
We recognize the cases we have had affect families in a variety of ways. We do not want to minimize those challenges. At the same time, we do not want to make division-wide decisions based on the unique circumstances of each positive case in schools.
Understandably, there are a wide range of views on what should or should not happen in the new year—we respect that. As we have done since March, we lean heavily on the advice and direction of our medical professionals.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen how quickly circumstances can change. If there are any changes to this decision over the holidays, we will communicate with you as quickly as possible.
Please stay safe, and have a blessed Christmas and a restful break!