Harry Dhillon, superintendent for School District 42, says district leadership are meeting to review existing and enhanced COVID safety measures at schools. (Special to The News)

Harry Dhillon, superintendent for School District 42, says district leadership are meeting to review existing and enhanced COVID safety measures at schools. (Special to The News)

SD42 leadership reviewing school COVID safety measures as Omicron spreads

Reviewing existing and new enhanced measures before school resumes Jan. 10

School district leadership is meeting with principals and vice principals to review COVID safety measures and assess the impact of the Omicron variant before the return to school for students on Jan. 10.

In a letter to parents on Thursday, Dec. 30, D42 superintendent Harry Dhillon, said meetings would take place on Monday Jan. 3 to go over both existing and enhanced safety measures set out by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Education.

Following these meetings, principals will then be meeting with school staff to begin planning for the “full implementation of enhanced measures effective Jan. 10,” said Dhillon.

From Tuesday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 7, schools will be open for children of essential service workers and those with exceptional needs. The rest of the school population from kindergarten to Grade 12, will be returning to school Monday Jan. 10.

“Schools have safety protocols in place that have kept students and staff in school over the past two years, but as the pandemic changes, our protocols must change, too,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, in an announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

“That’s why schools will be implementing enhanced public-health measures to ensure we can continue the in-person learning that is so important for well-being and mental health,” she noted.

The Ministry of Education said all schools up to Grade 12 must reinforce existing safety measures including: maximizing space between people and avoid face-to-face seating arrangements were possible; making everyone wear a mask; and performing daily health checks and having students and staff stay home when sick.

READ MORE: SD42 DPAC chair supports PHO for phased-in return to school order

ALSO: In September, 2021, Maple Ridge parents more comfortable with back-to-school

Public and independent schools up to Grade 12 must also implement enhanced safety measures including: implementing strategies that prevent crowding during class transition times; holding school gatherings and events virtually; if gatherings must be in-person then a 50 per cent attendance capacity is enforced; holding staff gathering virtually when possible; limiting visitors to schools to those supporting activities that directly benefit student learning and well-being; and pausing extracurricular sports tournaments.

“While I recognize the delayed re-opening is a challenge for many families, taking a few extra days now will set us up for the safest possible start to the new year,” said Dhillon. “We thank you for your ongoing support and we look forward to welcoming your children back to school.”

Additional information will provided to parents and guardians of students next week, promised Dhillon.


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

maple ridgePitt MeadowsSchools