Message to Families January 7, 2022

Welcome Back on Monday!

We are looking forward to seeing our students on Monday January 10!

We have spent the past four days getting ready for a safe return for students and being ready for the many possibilities we might face over the next month or so.

On Monday, we will start the day going over the changes to our safety protocols. There aren’t many changes, but they will help to keep our school open for full time instruction.

If you would like to join us for the assembly at 9:20am on Monday, please click on the link below.

Virtual Assembly: Click here to join the meeting

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Why We Need Increased Safety Protocols

We know that Omicron is far more transmissible than other COVID-19 variants. More transmissible means that there will likely be higher transmission and infection rates, as we are seeing in our community and province already. This is hopefully a short term, emergency situation in which we will do our best to keep schools open and prevent a return to cohorts, elimination of extra-curricular, return to social distancing, and/or remote learning. Following these increased safety protocols is a small price to pay to keep our schools open.

What Might We Expect?  

Hopefully, we will be able to maintain in-person instruction over the next several weeks. That’s our ideal world. However, if rates of infection in our staff are high, we will not have enough staff members to be able to keep the school open. It is possible, in this case, that Interior Health and our Superintendent would declare a “functional closure”.  This means that for a certain number of days, probably between 4 and 7, we would have to “pivot” to online learning. Preparing for this possibility is some of the work that our staff has been doing over the past four days.

Enhanced Safety Protocols

Here are the key changes to our safety protocols:  

  1. Properly worn masks are absolutely essential. We know that Omicron is spread very easily through airborne droplets, and masks are an excellent way to protect ourselves and others from the virus. We recommend wearing 3 or 4-ply surgical or procedural masks, which are available at the school. Information on masks has been sent home in a letter from our Superintendent. If you think that your child should have a mask exemption, please reach out to Ms. Prince (cprince@sd83.bc.ca) or Mrs. Brennan (dbrennan@sd83.bc.ca).  
  2. All students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask while in our building. Visitors are restricted to essential volunteers only (breakfast program, lunch program, important meetings).
  3. Students and staff are to complete a daily health check before coming to school.  Please stay home when you are sick.If students appear to be sick, they will be required to go home.
  4. Students are asked to use the following doors to enter and exit PVSS to reduce crowding:
    1. Grade 11 & 12’s – Main Entrance
    1. Grade 10’s – Snack Shack Entrance
    1. Grade 9’s – Auditorium Entrance
  5. We will keep our exterior doors locked until 8:45am, when the first bus arrives.  If it is necessary to arrive earlier, you don’t have to wait outside in the cold. Please contact the office to make special arrangements. Go straight to your first class (if you are accessing the Breakfast Program, you can go there first, then go straight to class). If you have PE at the beginning of the day, meet inside the main foyer.
  6. At lunch, there are the same places to eat – for example, the Student Centre, hallway tables, window seat, outside, etc.  Students must give each other as much space as possible, and they should pick a space to eat, then stay there for the remainder of the lunch break. There is no wandering the halls at this time. You always have the option to go outside.
  7. Unless you have permission or a reason to stay at school (club, practice, etc.), please go home right away.
  8. In the Snack Shack, the line-up will be on the opposite side of the Student Centre, and only the person ordering food may be in the line-up. Leave some space between you and the person in front of and behind you in the line-up. We encourage e-transferring money to the school to purchase punch cards in $10 or $20 amounts (pvs@sd83.bc.ca) to make paying faster.
  9. In Athletics, practices and games may continue, but tournaments (more than two teams playing each other) are not allowed. Spectators are not allowed at this time.  
  10. It is very likely that we will not be able to have a live performance of our Musical Theatre production. Once we have more details, we will let our students and parents know.  

We are very glad that we are able to re-open our schools. We know that having our schools open is good for mental health of our students, and we are hopeful that we can continue to be open for the next several weeks. While there are increased restrictions, we have done our best to minimize the impact to our students while still following provincial expectations. The district and province will continue to re-evaluate the need for these restrictions and we will keep you posted. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Chelsea Prince                               Deanna Brennan

(she/her/hers)                                                                       (she/her/hers)

Principal, PVSS                                                                    Vice Principal, PVSS

cprince@sd83.bc.ca                                                            dbrennan@sd83.bc.ca

We acknowledge that our place of work is on the ancestral unceded traditional territory of the Secwepemc and Syilx people.

Some Details About Returning to School

Pause on Return to School for Most Students

As you have probably already heard, there is a delay on a return to school for most students. This delayed start allows our school staff to prepare for a safe return to full time instruction on Monday January 10. Students with exceptional needs, or students of health care workers or school district employees who require care during school hours for the week of January 4-7 may return through special arrangement. Please reach out to Chelsea Prince by email (cprince@sd83.bc.ca or pvs@sd83.bc.ca) if you would like to make those arrangements. At some point tomorrow we may be reaching out to you to let you know that your child(ren) would benefit by returning this week.

We are very hopeful that this is the last time we will have to make major changes to how we run our school because of the pandemic. The silver lining to this cloud is that while the Omicron variant seems to be much more contagious than other variants we have seen, it also appears cause less serious illness. Thank you so much for your continued support as we work toward having a safe a caring school for your child(ren).  

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What Does This Mean?

There are many unknowns right now, and as we learn more, we will share that information with you. However, here are a few details we know for sure.

  1. There is a pause on instruction this coming week. Teachers will not be sharing new learning or assigning any learning tasks for students. Regular instruction will resume on Monday January 10. We anticipate that most students who are at school are either on individualized plans or require extra learning support.
  2. Medical grade or procedural masks are now the requirement for students and staff rather than cloth masks or gaiters. The school has a good supply of disposable masks for student use, but if you have some at home, we encourage you to send them to school for your child(ren)’s use. We will be enforcing proper mask wearing. Our Superintendent, Donna Kriger, will be sending out a letter to families with information about expectations around masking very soon.
  3. School sports are continuing, but there will be no games until January 10. Previously scheduled practices can continue.  We anticipate that spectators will not be allowed to attend for the next while.
  4. All meetings – PAC, Grad Committee, etc. – will happen virtually through Microsoft Teams. Watch your emails for invitations to these meetings.
  5. The PAC Raffle is going ahead as planned. This Lottery Ticket raffle is meant to help support clubs and groups in our school such as Dance, Athletics and Leadership.  The tickets will be on sale January 1-31, and the draw will take place on February 16 at the PAC Meeting. Tickets are $2 each and can be purchased at the PVSS office, from a member of PAC, or by contacting PAC through pvsspac@gmail.com.  Payment must be made in cash, and ticket purchase is restricted to people 18+. We are selling 1500 tickets, and the prize is $60 in scratch tickets and $50 cash. Thank you to Valley First Credit Union for donating the prize!

Grad Parent Committee Meeting – Wednesday January 12 at 7:00pm

We will have our Grad Parent Committee Meeting is postponed to Wednesday, January 12, at 7:00pm. This meeting will only be held online through Microsoft Teams.  If you would like to join us online, please click on the following meeting link: Click here to join the meeting

Grad Bottle Drive

As part of our ongoing fundraising efforts, there will be a bottle drive at the school on Saturday, January 15. Please note that this is a change in dates. Save your empties from over the holidays and drop them off at the school that morning. More details will sent out soon.

Musical Theatre Production – “Golly Gee Whiz!”

We are not sure what these new regulations will mean for our Musical Theatre Production, but as soon as we know, we will send information home.  

Winter Holidays

Today is the last day of school before the holidays! We are back to school on Tuesday, January 4. Please note that there is an extra day this winter holiday because New Year’s Day, a statutory holiday, falls on a Saturday. We hope you have a safe, healthy, and restful holiday.  

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Special Thank You to…

As a school, we always try to support families who might need a little extra help over the holidays. We don’t do this in isolation, and we would really like to recognize some of the amazing support we have received from the community.

The Legion has an “Angel Tree”; we submit information about students who may not otherwise receive presents, and they bring those very generous gifts to our school to give to families. This year the Legion provided gifts for 18 of our students! 

Two local businesses provided Askews gift cards to be given to families. One of these businesses would like to remain unnamed, and the other is Tolko. Between the two, they provided $2300 in gift cards to help our families purchase groceries. Our staff donated several hundred dollars as well, which we converted into gift cards.

Our school always has a food drive at this time of year, and we did again this year, collecting non-perishable food items and cash for the Armstrong Food Bank. Mr. Austin’s class reached out to Pinnacle Pellet and they agreed to match any cash donations raised by the school. They donated $2500, which matched the funds raised by our school.

Thank you so much to our staff, students, and all of our community partners. This is such a generous and involved community!