COVID -19 Series: Early Learning and Elementary Returning to School
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May 25, 2020
Early Learning and Elementary Snapshot
Returning to School


The provincial government has announced the Restart Plan for the economy which includes the optional return to school for BC students.

Our district and school teams are engaged in ongoing collaboration to plan for safety measures, space, scheduling, and educational programming. The goal is to welcome students back to school on a voluntary basis to be supported with their learning and social-emotional well-being.

Gradual Return to School-grades K-5 can attend school approximately 50%of the time 

The transition back to school may bring mixed emotions such as excitement, anxiety, and concern, as students are returning to a known place that will look and function differently in response to COVID-19 safety parameters. We also know that our children benefit greatly from routines and positive connections with their teachers and classmates. They are social beings who miss having fun with friends and engaging in school activities. School offers a familiar foundation of community and connection. The future may be uncertain, but we do know that we are all better together.
The Ministry of Education's Provincial COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12: 
desks spaced apart

avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas

regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day

cleaning the school building at least once a day

students, educators, and staff will be required to clean their hands before entering school property
hand-sanitizing and cleaning stations available

staggered drop-offs, lunch, and recess breaks, with increased time outside time

one student per seat on school buses, unless students are from the same house

students should not share food or personal items like phones, pens, or pencils
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COVID-19: Back to school in B.C. Safety measures 

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Monterey Middle School Walk Through

 This video gives you an idea of how schools have been working hard to set things up for social/physical distancing, hand washing, and other COVID-19 related safety procedures. 
Talking to Your Child about Going Back to School
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Answer questions honestly. 

Children often seek reassurance that bad things won’t happen in order to reduce their worry. Consider a family meeting to prepare them for the return to school. Here are some recommendations:

-  Acknowledge their fears
-  Explain the overall risk of getting the virus and what happens if they do get sick.
-  Outline the steps the schools are taking to keep them safe at this time.
- There are many things they can do to keep themselves safe (see posters below).
-  Reassure them that if children do get the virus it tends to be a mild form.
-  Discuss any questions they may have.

The length and detail of your explanations will depend on your child's age. Ensure your information is age appropriate.
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Focus on the positive.

Once you have addressed your child's fears and reassured them, encourage them to re-direct attention away from the worries, and towards the positives. Ask your child, “What are three things that you are most excited about when you return to school?” "Won't it be nice to see your classmates and teachers again". Chances are that the fun aspects are getting overlooked by worries.

Story "When the Children Returned to School"

Whether your child goes back to school in June or September they will be wondering what it will be like when they return. This short story is designed to address the practical components of returning to school as well as the social and emotional concerns they may have. There is also an opportunity for them to interact with the story with some pictures they can colour.


Gardening and Mental Health

A report in the Mental Health Journal cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood, with a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

To that end, LifeCycles and Farm to School BC have teamed up with the Greater Victoria School District to support the "Get Growing, Victoria!" program.  

From May 25 - June 11, we will be distributing FREE vegetable plants and "How To Garden" resources to SD 61 families and staff.
The plant selection includes: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, mustard greens, basil, parsley, swiss chard, kale, delicata squash, and cabbage.

Please click on the link below for more information on when and where the plants will be available. 

BC Ministry of Education Restarting BC's Schools
Kelty Mental Health - Taking Care of yourself and your family during COVID-19 
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Click the button below for a comprehensive list of Community Services and their availability during the pandemic.

Learning Resources
The Ministry of Education site contains excellent information on learning at home and resources for families
The Greater Victoria School District provides learning opportunities for elementary, middle and secondary age students.
TedED - Parents can sign up for grade specific daily lessons on any subject imaginable.  Fun and engaging!
BCTF - Aboriginal Education Teaching Resources
Indigenous Educational Resources

  Learning Resources for Students with Complex Needs

Food Resources for Families 

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