Dear Parents and Guardians,
On behalf of the Vancouver School Board, I write today to share our best wishes to you and your children as the new school year begins.
As your Board of Education, we understand that there are a variety of feelings about this school year. For many, the return to school brings a sense of optimism. For others, it causes feelings of uncertainty. Please be assured, whatever feelings or thoughts you and your family have, our District team will work to support you and your children.
I also wish to acknowledge the work of District staff and of our stakeholder groups including our principals and vice principals, teachers, support staff and trades staff. Over the summer months, they worked collaboratively to set plans and get schools ready for the 2020-2021 school year. As trustees, we are pleased they were very mindful of what families shared and, to the extent possible, reflected your input as they created new schedules for schools and ways to ensure your children’s learning is supported. We applaud their commitment to health and safety for everyone and the focus on keeping students connected to their schools.
The health, safety and well-being of students and staff remains the highest priority. At a special meeting of the Board in late August, trustees unanimously supported the District’s plan to welcome students to the new school year. We also passed a motion about creating another learning option for elementary students, and, wrote to the Minister of Education about adequate funding. In addition, our motion encouraged the wearing of masks by all students and staff, as well as maximizing ventilation and use of outside spaces for learning. Please see a video about the first weeks of school, a health and safety video and fact sheet online, as well as other important information for more details about measures in place at our schools.
Although these remain uncertain times, some things are certain. Children will laugh and play, students will learn and grow, and communities will come together in support and in kindness. As your Board of Education, we too will continue to carry out our mandate. In the coming weeks, we will focus on health and safety in schools, launch Phase 2 of our Building for Modern Learning public engagement and continue development of the Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. And, as always, we will remain advocates for your children’s education as we work to build a stronger public school system with the well-being of students and their success at its heart.