March 13, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As you are likely aware, new information was provided yesterday by the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Please see the attached letter to parents from the Deputy-Minister of Education. In addition to this letter, I would like to provide further information that is specific to the Richmond School District:
Non-essential travel outside of Canada:
We realize that many families have made spring break plans which involve travel outside of Canada, however, we are hopeful that as a community, we will all make decisions to help protect our families, our neighbours and others who may be vulnerable. We strongly request that anyone returning from outside of Canada comply with the Provincial Health Officer’s self-isolation protocol of 14 days. We all have a role to play in protecting our children, our families and staff members. Please notify your school principal if you are going to be returning to school from outside of Canada after spring break so the appropriate steps can be taken to support your child.
As a result of the Provincial Health Officer advising against all travel outside of Canada, the school district has taken the following steps which are in effect until the end of June:
• Anyone returning from outside of Canada will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to school.
• All field trips outside of Canada have been cancelled.
• All student exchanges and visits to Richmond public schools are being cancelled or rescheduled.
• All staff work-related travel outside of Canada for conferences and professional development have been cancelled.
• Any new student registrants arriving from outside of Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before attending school.
Closing of schools:
At this time the Provincial Health Officer has not made the decision to close schools. However, the great majority of students and staff in the Richmond School District will be starting a two-week spring break tomorrow. As we are in a rapidly evolving situation, district senior staff will continue to be in contact with public health officials and the Ministry of Education during spring break. If the decision to keep schools open following spring break changes, parents will be contacted as soon as possible.
Community gatherings of more than 250 people:
Until otherwise advised by health authorities, schools will not hold assemblies or other events with more than 250 participants present. Additional care will be taken to ensure that there is adequate space between students during all sizeable gatherings. We will continue to assess planned events between now and the end of the school year and as further information becomes available, decisions will be made and communicated to parents.
The District will take the opportunity to further increase our daily cleaning protocols of all school sites over spring break.
In addition to the regular daily cleaning of schools, extra sanitizing, disinfecting and
cleaning will continue to be conducted. For the past month, sanitizing of schools has also been taking
place on the weekends. Over spring break, sanitization will be increased while most schools are closed.
Every effort is being made to maintain as clean and as safe an environment as possible for our students and staff.
We will continue to take direction and receive advice from public health officials. Parents are encouraged to continue to seek information from the Vancouver Coastal Health websitte and to check the school district website for updates.
I continue to be hopeful that we will all come together as a community to support one another and ensure that we each do whatever we can to ensure the safety and well-being fo our students, their families and our staff.
Superintendent of Schools