December 31, 2021
Dear First Nations and First Nations Schools,
As you may have seen, on December 29th, the Province announced that the full return to school for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 will be delayed until Monday, Jan. 10, in order to give public health and B.C. schools additional time to adapt to the impacts of the Omicron variant on communities and schools, and to implement enhanced safety plans to support the continuation of in-class learning. While students will return on Jan. 10, staff will return on Jan. 3 and 4.
The delayed return is supported by an Order from the Provincial Health Officer, which applies to all public and independent schools in British Columbia. As always, individual First Nations have the authority to make decisions about the operation of First Nations schools in the best interests of their students, schools, and communities. This includes the authority to decide if and how to use this guidance to inform planning and if and when to reopen their schools.
The BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Education have released addendums to their communicable disease guidelines for K-12 schools, which are linked to below. These set out focused actions and additional prevention measures that First Nations may choose to implement in their schools in response to the recent rise of cases of COVID-19 due to the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant. We will be working to update our resources for First Nations schools to reflect this additional guidance and will share that with you as soon as possible.
- BC Centre for Disease Control Addendum: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID_public_guidance/Addendum_K-12Guidance_12292021.pdf
- Ministry of Education Addendum: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/safe-caring-orderly/k-12-covid-19-health-safety-guidelines-addendum.pdf
We wish you all a safe and healthy start to the New Year.