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Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows welcome back students with relaxed COVID-19 restrictions

Students will now have greater access to extracurricular activities than previous year
SD42 superintendent Harry Dhillon is encouraging students and staff to be up-to-date with their vaccinations. (The News files)

Students can expect to participate more in extracurricular activities this year, thanks to a relaxing of the COVID-19 pandemic health mandates by the province.

However, Harry Dhillon, the Superintendent of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District, is still reminding students and staff to continue to practise health awareness checks.

These relaxed measures were already in place, advised Dhillon, before students went on summer break. But it has been a joy to see students returning to school this week, he said.

“It is nice to be able to open the school year with the more relaxed measures we had in place in the spring. It means students will be able to participate more fully in extracurricular activities like sports, band, fine arts, leadership, clubs, and dances. It also means opening school doors to families and the community, which is always enriching for students, staff, and the school community more generally,” said Dhillon.

Dhillon, though, is reminding all students and staff to stay at home if they are sick or unable to participate fully in routine activities.

“If you are not feeling well, stay home and give your body the rest it needs,” he said.

People should still be practising proper hand hygiene, and also good respiratory etiquette – by sneezing or coughing into an elbow or tissue.

Students and staff are being discouraged from sharing food or drinks or anything else that touches a mouth, unless the item is cleaned and disinfected.

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And he is also asking that the personal space of others should be respected, along with the personal decision of individuals to wear a mask or face covering.

Dhillon noted that while there is an element of uncertainty about whether COVID-19 measures might come back into place, he still feels confident in the district’s ability to, “thoughtfully and in a timely manner implement any possible shifts in guidelines” – a direction that would come from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Child Care.

Overall though, the first week of school has been smooth and positive, he said.

“We are pleased to welcome many new students and their families to our schools. Our community continues to grow, and with it, our student enrolment as well. While there remains some lingering uncertainty related to COVID-19, I feel optimistic and look forward to a positive 2022/23 school year,” he said.

Dhillon is also reminding eligible staff and students to make sure they are up-to-date on all their vaccines, including COVID-19, as they protect against serious communicable diseases.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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