(Macaulay Elementary School/SD61)

The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) has confirmed that K-12 students will not return to in-person classrooms after Spring Break ends on March 30th.

In an update on Friday, the SD61 says the district has been working to come up with a plan that allows students to keep up with their education remotely.

The following issues are being taken into consideration in drawing up these plans:

  • Instructional requirements vary for elementary, middle and secondary grade levels;
  • Vulnerable students or learners with complex needs may require additional supports;
  • Staff will require time to redesign their lessons to be shared online;
  • Some staff may require training to be able to teach remotely;
  • Not all students have internet access or computers and devices that allow them to connect from home so alternatives will need to be available for these students.

“We also realize that many families are already balancing working from home and taking care of their families so ensuring that their child or children complete online courses can cause additional stress,” reads a statement from school district Superintendent Shelley Green.

In light of these considerations, the district states that they are still working to find solutions that would enable all students and staff to operate within a new learning framework.

While students will not be returning to classrooms, Principals, Vice-Principals, Custodians and Administrative Assistant will physically be in schools.

As the Ministry of Education has advised school districts that there is no expectation to have a solution in place at the end of spring break, schools will be planning on next steps during the first two weeks back from break.

“Principals and Vice-Principals will be connecting with their school community to discuss the next steps and how students can pick up their personal belongings,” says Green.

“As you know, we are all in this together. It will take all of us to navigate this new landscape and we need to be flexible and fully support each other. We plan to take this one week at a time with the knowledge that anything can and may change as we move forward.”

The school district will be providing further updates on their website at www.sd61.bc.ca/covid-19.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

Based on the latest updates, there are now 725 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 52 on Vancouver Island.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.

This includes a $2,000/month package for four months for all Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, and $500/month assistance package for renters in B.C.

Trudeau also announced a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses and a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses, interest-free for the first year.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 590,015.

Nearly 30,000 people have died from the illness and 132,447 have made a full recovery.

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