Interior Health has notified School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) that there was a positive COVID-19 exposures at A.L. Fortune Secondary on Nov. 3-5 and 9th.
When there is an exposure, Interior Health will directly notify confirmed close contacts of the positive case with further instructions, including if they should self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms of illness. If you are contacted by Interior Health, or receive a self-isolation/self-monitor letter, it is imperative that you follow their direction carefully. The most important thing for students and families to remember is that students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and get tested.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever/chills, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell. Most people experience only mild disease.A small number of people may experience a more moderate to severe illness requiring hospitalization.
COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It may also be spread by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
The Board of Education of School District No. 83 is committed to ensuring all of our students, staff and schools are safe. Please use all the layers of protection available to you.
The Ministry of Education is seeking feedback from parents/guardians on its draft K-12 Student Reporting Policy.
Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff comments SD83 is pleased to share the draft K-12 Reporting Policy, recently released by the Ministry of Education. “This follows four years of work across the province, where schools have worked to align teaching and assessment practices with our renewed curriculum.”
“The SD83 Parent Guide to Communicating Student Learning will help you understand the rationale behind some of the changes, and to clarify what information will be shared during each reporting period.”
Please read through both the Parent Guide and the Draft K-12 Student Reporting Policy, then share your feedback with the Ministry by November 5, 2021.
An important update to the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools and the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings was announced on October 1, 2021 by Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger would like to inform parents about this change and to update everyone on the notification process for school exposures.
Update to face coverings mandate
The provincial government has announced that beginning Monday, October 4, 2021, all students in B.C. schools will be required to wear a mask when inside a school building, including while at their desks and on buses. This builds on the existing guidelines that currently apply to all students in grades 4-12.
“We recognize that some students in grades K-3 may not be accustomed to wearing masks, as a result, school staff will spend October 4 helping children adjust to this change, with the goal of building mask wearing into student routines by Tuesday, October 5th. We suggest you send your K-3 child to school with a clean mask and a spare mask that they are used to wearing. Schools will have disposable masks available,” she reports.
As a reminder, provincial guidance advises that mask requirements do not apply to staff, students and visitors in the following circumstances:
A person cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons;
A person is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask;
If a person is eating or drinking;
If a person is behind a barrier; or
While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important.
Change to notification process for school exposures
The provincial government also made a change to the notification process for school exposures, directing local health authorities to begin posting general school exposure notifications to their websites. Exposure notifications for our school district and the Interior Health region more broadly can be found on the Interior Health school exposures page. For a helpful overview of the contact tracing process visit the BC CDC website.
Director of Instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff clarifies to parents why SD83 supports use of FSA
From October 4 to November 12, 2021, our students in grade 4 and grade 7 will be participating in the Foundation Skills Assessment Test, also known as the “FSA”. This is a provincially mandated standardized test that uses broad metrics to determine whether students are meeting curricular expectations at grade level in literacy and numeracy.
Though it is a standardized test and subject to the same limitations as other standardized tests, we believe it provides important information on individual student learning. We use the FSA assessment results in conjunction with other forms of district and classroom assessments to provide a comprehensive picture as to how each student is doing, and to provide important feedback to school and district staff in regard to instruction. School District No. 83 has often used information from the FSA and Ministry Graduation Assessments in budget conversations to allocate additional staffing for the purpose of better supporting teachers with their instructional practice in our classrooms.
The FSA assesses student learning up to and including the previous year’s grade. Placing the assessment in early October allows our teachers to use each student’s results to inform their instruction over the balance of the school year and make sure student learning needs are being met.
The time spent on the FSA testing cycle amounts to approximately six hours in grade four, and another six hours in grade seven, not including practice (with the secondary assessments adding just another six hours in total). This amounts to just over one-half of one per cent of their instructional time for that school year, with the two test cycles taking up just a tenth of a per cent of instructional time from kindergarten through grade twelve. We think that these assessments provide a tremendous amount of information given the time spent, and that it is an incredibly efficient way to collect that information. In fact, the need for this insight may be even greater, given the interruptions to learning that we have recently experienced.
We do agree with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) perspective that the results have been misused by the Fraser Institute, and that it is both wrong and misleading to rank schools in this way. We do, however, believe the test is worthwhile is spite of this, and we would be in favour of using it even if it were not mandatory in our province’s schools. It should be noted that this light assessment regimen is a completely different experience than what student endure in some U.S. jurisdictions, who may issue general skill or even more curriculum-specific tests monthly instead of just a few times from Kindergarten through Grade Twelve as we do in British Columbia.
If you remain unconvinced of the FSA’s importance and wish your grade four or grade seven student to be exempt from this month’s testing process, please ask your school principal for an FSA testing schedule, then keep your child at home during the testing times. While we are not permitted to excuse a student from the FSA because of a parent request, parents always have the right to keep their child at home, and this right will be respected during FSA testing, in the same way it would be in other circumstances. As a courtesy in this regard, please note that I have asked the principals not to have students make up the tests at a later time if they were kept at home by parents for the purpose of test exemption. Students participating in an online program may make arrangements to join an assessment session at their neighborhood school in a separate setting, or at an alternate site.
To the Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Caregiver(s) of SD83:
On behalf of SD83 I wish to thank you for your understanding regarding the “hold and secure” issued on Friday, September 17, 2021. Given the situation that unfolded at several schools in and around Salmon Arm, it was necessary to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Though the term “lockdown” has been reported by some media sources, this is inaccurate. The “hold and secure” we initiated was a means of preventing unauthorized individuals from entering our schools.
After much consultation, we feel confident that the “hold and secure” can be lifted as of tomorrow, September 21, 2021. We have encouraged schools to limit their number of entry points. Most schools will move toward having the main entries locked after the opening bell, the exception may be our Secondary Schools with open campuses. You may gain access to the school by calling the main office. Where possible, additional supervision will be added to playgrounds during recess and noon hours.
Once again, I’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding. The messaging you received on Friday was an attempt to keep you informed and was done in the spirit of transparency. If you have questions or concerns, I would welcome a thoughtful and respectful conversation.
We look forward to moving ahead and focussing our attention on the wonderful achievements of our students.