Letter to Parents (SD44)

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March 20, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As communicated to all Parents/Guardians and Staff on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Minister of Education Rob Fleming directed schools to suspend all K-12 in-class instruction in British Columbia until further notice. We recognize this decision was made to protect the health and safety of students, staff and families, and it likely brings relief for those who have become increasingly concerned about the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the school setting. It has also raised many questions about what teaching and learning will look like for the remainder of the school year, should the suspension of in-class instruction continue until then.

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Ministry of Education directed school districts to begin planning for the continuity of educational services. The suspension of in-class instruction means school districts will need to look for different ways to provide educational services to students in British Columbia. The Ministry was clear that students would not be returning to their classrooms on March 30 and encouraged school districts to take some time to carefully consider options for remote instruction and learning. Teams have been established to develop the NVSD’s plan for continuity of learning for our students. We continue to work toward finalizing a preliminary framework for early April, with detailed plans to follow.

The Ministry of Education also received a provincial call to assist in providing public service for those who are delivering essential services in our communities. We are waiting for more information and will provide an update once we have clarity about this directive. In the meantime, we are considering options as to how we can support essential services and updated information will be provided next week on any measures that we plan to enact.

School districts were also asked to consider local solutions to provide support for our most complex and vulnerable learners. Again, we are waiting for further clarification about what kind of support the school districts should be offering and by whom. We know this is an area that brings great concern to many of our parents and staff and we thank you for your patience as we continue to look ahead with those students’ best interest in mind.

We are only in our first week of spring break, which is normally the time for school staff to rest and recharge. We want to ensure we are being respectful of their time and are not contacting staff with questions about educational programming right now. I thank you in advance for giving our staff the time they deserve while on break, before we move into next steps for learning continuity. Further, we ask students to please refrain from entering the schools to pick up resources or personal items until a co-ordinated approach can be developed and communicated.

We encourage parents to reinforce with their children the importance of social distancing. We have a shared responsibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Allowing children to play together or gather in groups goes against the orders of the Provincial Health Officer to limit close contact with others. As such, we have closed all school playgrounds until further notice and we thank you for your co-operation.

We recognize that this is a stressful time for our school communities. Our Social Emotional Learning and Safe and Caring Schools staff have prepared a document and list of resources for parents that you may find helpful as you support your children with their emotional well-being and mental health.

We will continue to be measured and thoughtful in providing educational continuity during this global pandemic. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding and shared commitment to support community and family.

Sincerely,

Mark Pearmain
Superintendent of Schools

Self-care during Crisis

  • Take care of your body: Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Try to come up with a routine that includes physical activity, like a daily family walk.
  • Connect with others: Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member (while still practicing social distancing). Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
  • Take breaks: Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Remind yourself that this time and these feelings will pass. Try to do activities you usually enjoy, or experiment with new activities.
  • Stay informed: When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from official sources. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information.
  • Avoid too much exposure to news: Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting and anxiety provoking to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.
  • Seek help when needed: If distress impacts activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, reach out for mental health support.
    • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society operates a 24 hour provincial aboriginal crisis line for Adults/Elders (250-723-4050), Child/Youth (250-723-2040), Toll Free Line (18005888717).
    • For mental health, addiction and alternative care service support, please reach out to the Community Health & Wellness team:
      Phone: 604-982-0332       Email: wellness@squamish.net

Cultural Self-Care Ideas:

Smudge

Brush off

Pray

Light a candle

Cold water bath

Meditate

Learn your language

Spend time with nature

Sing a cultural song

Arts & crafts (weave, knit, etc)

SD44 School Closures

03-17-2020 4:30PM PST – UPDATE: Letter from BC Minister of Education

Ministry of Education Announcement regarding the suspension of all K-12 in-class instruction

Sent on behalf of Mark Pearmain:

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

The Ministry of Education announced today the suspension of
all K-12 in-class instruction in British Columbia. As more information becomes
available, we will post it on our website at www.sd44.ca

I wish to convey that these are extraordinary measures
implemented by the Ministry of Education, in consultation with the Ministry of
Health and education stakeholders, to protect students, staff and families from
the spread of COVID-19.

We ask for your patience as we gain further clarity about
what this announcement will mean for our students, staff and families. We will
provide further communication once we have direction from the Ministry of
Education.

Please continue to check our website for updates.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Mark Pearmain

Superintendent / CEO
North Vancouver School District

Notice to Squamish Nation Members: Youth Lacrosse and Sports Funding

There have been numerous questions and views expressed by community members regarding the Youth Lacrosse and Sports Funding.

This notice is to share information with Squamish Nation Members:

What is the Sports & Athletic Grants Policy? What is the reason for creating the Policy?
The Squamish Nation Council approved the Sports & Athletics Grants Policy, which guides the allocation of funding for sports and physical recreation for individual Squamish Nation (SN) Members and team sponsorship (60% SN Members).

The objective of the development of the policy was to create more fairness, accessibility, and transparency in this funding, as in the past it wasn’t always publicized or communicated to members. This policy consolidates all forms of funding into one pot and allows for equal access to funding regardless of what sport you play or where you live. Multiple council members and Squamish Nation staff have provided input that affected the development of this policy.

The new policy increased funding up to $500 per person and up to $2000 for elite athletes/sports. Eligible grant expenses can include registration fees, equipment purchase or rental, travel expenses, sports camps, etc.

Why did I receive a different amount for my Sports & Athletic grant than what was requested?
As a result of creating more accessibility and transparency, more members applied for funding than previous years. Staff allocated 100% of the budget in the first call out. There was no remaining funds for a second call out for applicants. In order to support as many Members as possible, the full Sports & Athletic grants amount requested by applicants were not awarded.

What is happening with the North Shore Lacrosse Association fees/funding?
Parents and the North Shore Lacrosse Association were notified by Squamish Nation staff, that under the Nation’s new policy, parents would need to apply for funding. This was communicated on the North Shore Lacrosse Association’s website and via Squamish Nation’s communications (letters, emails, etc.).

The Squamish Nation staff are aware that North Shore Lacrosse Association fees are due. We are working towards identifying available funds to pay for last year’s overdue fees and this year’s fees. Squamish Nation staff are in contact with the Association and following up on this matter.

What is being done to address the funding available for Sports & Athletic Grants?
Staff will be presenting their feedback to Council on the policy, which will include their challenges and opportunities. Recently, the staff have highlighted that the Sports and Athletic Grant funding needs to increase.
The Council will be discussing different ways to fundraise to increase funding for the Sports & Athletic grants moving forward.

In the future, we will be following the Sports & Athletic Policy to ensure all members have equal access to funding opportunities. All funding requests for sports and physical recreation will need to be submitted through the Sports & Athletic Grants application process.

Our goal is to remove barriers to ensure our children can play sports and have fun.

IMPORTANT:
If you have paid the North Shore Lacrosse Association fees, you can contact Justine Sobell, Interim Manager, Recreation regarding reimbursement. You will need to provide an original receipt of payment in order to be reimbursed.

For reimbursement and additional questions, contact: Justine Sobell at 604-980-6338 or rec@squamish.net

SQUAMISH NATION EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID-19 – UPDATE #1

As a response to Covid-19, Squamish Nation will be implementing the following measures:

  • A Task Force committee has been created to discuss COVID-19 practices made up of key staff in the Squamish Nation.
  • All gatherings over 250 will be postponed or cancelled.
  • Buildings will be receiving increased cleaning to disinfect and prevent transmission.
  • Signs are being circulated and posted for hanging at the entrance points and throughout the offices including: “Stop! If you are sick, do not enter the building; reminders to wash hands, keep hallway doors propped open, etc.”
  • Staff are monitoring Provincial and Federal support initiatives for workers, caregivers, and the most vulnerable.

Important Information:

  • We strongly recommend that Squamish Nation citizens do not attend large external events/conferences and international travel until further notice.
  • Do not come to a Squamish Nation building if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, cold, sore throat, etc. Please stay in contact with a health care professional.
  • There is an urgent and primary care site in North Vancouver that is set up to test for COVID-19. After testing, you must self-isolate for 3 days after to wait for the results of the testing. More information is available on their Website: www.vch.ca/UPCC
  • BC Hydro Customers who need help paying their utility bill can call BC Hydro’s customer service line at 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376) and speak to a customer service agent. Customers will not need to provide any documentation.
  • Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.

The following services are being changed and more changes will be coming:

  • Any elders’ gatherings or luncheons in North Vancouver and Squamish Valley will be cancelled to prevent transmission of Covid-19 which presents a high risk to our elders.
  • If family members are unable to assist, Member Services will offer grocery pick-up to support our elders from travelling outside their home to reduce the risk of transmission during the week. Elders is need of this service can call (604)-505-3776.
  • Spring Break Programs at Squamish Nation buildings are cancelled.
  • The Squamish Nation is looking at ways to reduce staffing at building and allowing as many staff to work from home as well.
  • Community Operations will implement protocols to reduce potential virus transmission during home visits by staff when necessary.

We are working diligently to make sure that all measures are covered for the safety and wellbeing of Squamish staff and our community. We are aligning our risk and crisis plan to coincide with the WHO and Canadian Government’s response to COVID-19. We also ask our families and community to lean on each other and allow Nation resources to be used for the most vulnerable.

Please pay attention to public health officials. We’ll do our best to communicate information through social, our website, emails, and notices.

We thank you for your cooperation during these challenging times.

Squamish Nation Co-Chairs

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