This week, the Vancouver School District developed contingency and safety plans in response to the Province’s prediction of potential staff shortages due to the rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
High case counts may result in insufficient staff compliments at a school. The District may have to close that school on a temporary basis, until the adequate level of staff support for in-person learning and student supervision is available. This could include a lack of staff to provide the required level of teaching, supervision, support, and/or custodial services. Such a temporary closure is referred to as a functional closure.
Functional closures are a last resort. The District will do everything possible to find substitutions and reassign staff. However, if all staffing options are exhausted, the impacted school will shift to online or remote learning on a short-term basis. Schools will do everything possible to help students and their families prepare for possible functional closures. Families with children who have special learning needs will also be contacted to ensure continuity of learning plans are established ahead of possible functional closures.
During a functional closure, schools will make every effort to remain accessible for students who need extra supports, such as students with special learning needs and school-aged children of essential services workers.
Everyone at the District recognizes these are challenging times. Staff took the time necessary this week, with a phased restart of school, to make contingency plans and to revisit COVID-safety plans ahead of the full resumption of instruction on Monday, January 10. Staff will continue to adapt to support students, and staff remain committed to keeping school community members informed.
The District continues to implement layers of protection such as spacing out, reinforcing proper mask wearing and following all public health guidelines, as well as encouraging everyone who can to become fully vaccinated and to stay at home if ill.
For up-to-date COVID information, please visit the District’s website.