Fresh off the March 17 provincial announcement that Abbotsford schools will be closed indefinitely to curb the spread of COVID-19, students, parents and staff are likely curious about the future after spring break. The Abbotsford School District has released some clarifications on what exactly the rest of the school year will look like.
“We want to help alleviate some of the anxiousness that wondering families may have regarding the Ministry of Education’s announcement,” said Kayla Stuckart, communications manager for the district.
While every school will remain closed for students, staff who normally work either 10 or 12 months a year will continue to attend their workplaces. The Ministry of Education will let the district know if there are any changes to this decision, based on consultations with provincial health authorities.
Immediately following the March 17 notice that schools would be closing for the foreseeable future, the district began meetings on potential ways to continue lessons through out-of-class learning, according to Stuckart.
When these out-of-class learning plans are finalized, the district will communicate that information to students and staff.
“Teachers will need to be prepared to plan for a continuity of learning,” Minister Rob Fleming said on March 17. “We have 57 online-learning providers in B.C. … We’ve got the sector putting their minds to it right now.”
It is too early to tell whether the school year will be continued into the summer. That decision will be made by the Ministry of Education at a later date. Every Grade 12 student who is currently passing, however, will graduate. Students will have their final mark based on their current academic standing. Post-secondary applications should not be affected.
This rule will also apply to other grades, and determine whether or not they advance to the next grade. Students with low grades can discuss their pre-mid-term graduation prospects with their teachers and school administrators.
As for staff, they will not be expected to work during the spring break period, but should resume normal schedules after March 27. Administrative and operational sites will remain open to staff, but the district is restricting public access. The district is planning to permit staff to work from home, and the details of these plans will be released before April 2.
All full-time and part-time staff will continue to be paid. The same goes for employees under contract or on temporary assignment.
Casual employees, on the other hand, should apply for employment insurance. Their employment records are being processed by district payroll this week. Any further questions about EI should be addressed to Service Canada.
As for the schools, the district is implementing an “enhanced cleaning” regimen to sanitize high-touch areas, such as surfaces, doorknobs, desktops, washrooms and food-prep areas.