A Message for VSB Members from the Deputy Superintendent

Thursday, March 26, 2020

All VSB school-based staff,

We would like to acknowledge the uncertainty and ambiguity felt by many members of our staff in advance of Monday, March 30.  District staff have been consulting with unions and stakeholder leadership, liaising with other school districts and in discussions with Vancouver Coastal Health.  Your safety and well-being is our top priority and we have taken the time necessary to be thoughtful in our decisions. 

The intent of this email is to provide an update on plans for school operations following this final week of spring break.

As stated, District staff have been in contact with presidents of local unions and associations to discuss plans for schools starting Monday, March 30, 2020. In those conversations we shared the following guiding principles that helped shape our discussions and decisions: 

1. Ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and school communities.

2. Implement systems and structures within our current context to ensure timely, thoughtful and transparent communication with staff, students and the broader school communities.

3. Develop opportunities for all students and staff to stay connected to maintain a sense of belonging, value and community.

4. Support all learners through the provision of continuous learning opportunities during the suspension of in-person classes.

Tomorrow (Thursday, March 26) principals and vice principals will participate in an on-line meeting to continue planning for Monday, March 30. As part of this meeting, administrators will discuss plans for next week.

Please note that all school-based principals and vice principals will update school-based staff, via email, on plans for the week of March 30 – April 3 on Friday, March 27.  Please watch for this email.

At this time, I want to let you know that most school-based staff are not being asked to report to school sites next week (March 30 to April 3).  A very small number of school-based staff may be asked to report to school sites next week to assist with essential school functions.  In these instances staff will be contacted directly by their principal/vice principal.  Please know that the health and safety of any staff asked to report to a school site is a top priority.

As we develop and implement plans for how we keep our school communities connected and how we ensure continuity of learning, I want to assure you that Guiding Principle #1: Ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and school communities, is key to District decision making.  Where possible, staff who can do their work from home will be permitted to work from home as we do our part to minimize social contact and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Again, I want to thank you for your patience as we work through logistics. School-based staff will receive an update with more specific information from your principal or vice principal on Friday, March 27.

Thank you,
David Nelson on behalf of the senior leadership team