Dear Richmond Families,
I am writing to let you know that the Provincial Government has announced that a full return to school for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 will be delayed until Monday, January 10, in order to give public health and B.C. schools additional time to adapt to the impacts of the Omicron variant.
No instruction will take place between January 4 - 7, however, schools will be open to provide supervision for a limited number of students such as children of essential services workers, and in particular, health care workers, who do not have alternative childcare supports. If this applies to your family and you would like to make arrangements for your child to be at school next week, please reach out to your school principal. In addition, schools will be reaching out to families of students with complex support needs, as well as families with vulnerable learners who may require support.
Families whose children normally attend daycare are encouraged to contact daycare providers directly in order to determine whether their daycare will be operating next week.
Teachers, administrators and district staff will return to work on January 4, 2022, to develop enhanced safety plans to support the continuation of in-class learning. Enhanced safety measures will include:
- Strategies that prevent crowding during class transition times.
- Holding school gatherings and events (e.g., assemblies, etc.) virtually.
- Holding staff gatherings (e.g., meetings, professional development activities) virtually.
- Limiting visitors to those who are supporting activities that directly benefit student learning and wellbeing (e.g., teacher candidates, immunizers, meal program volunteers, etc.).
- Pausing extracurricular sports tournaments.
These enhanced safety measures build on existing safety measures such as:
- Strongly encouraging everyone who is eligible to get fully vaccinated.
- Doing daily health checks and staying home when sick.
- Using available space to spread out and to respect others' personal space.
- Wearing masks in accordance with the Provincial Health Officer Order on Face Coverings.
- Cleaning hands regularly.
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
It is important to note that an addendum to the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings has been developed to ensure alignment with the BCCDC. We also encourage you to read the updated safety measures by visiting the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 Safe Schools website.
The well-being of our students and staff remains our highest priority. With enhanced safety measures in place, we believe that schools can operate safely while continuing to support our student's educational goals, as well as their social and emotional well-being.
I would like to express my gratitude for your continued efforts in keeping each other physically safe, and in supporting each other with kindness and compassion. Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.
Superintendent of Schools