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Coronavirus: Supporting essential-service workers, delivering food packages on Central Okanagan school district’s agenda

Central Okanagan Public School’s board of education says to reduce physical contact, its providers will deliver a week’s worth of lunches and breakfasts at one time.
Central Okanagan Public School’s board of education says to reduce physical contact, its providers will deliver a week’s worth of lunches and breakfasts at one time. Global News

It’s been three weeks since students in the Central Okanagan last went to school because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sometime soon, remote learning will begin, with students taking instruction online. But for a select few, some could be returning to class this week.

On Friday, Central Okanagan Public Schools said starting Monday, April 6, it will be providing support to select essential-service workers with young school-aged children.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Okanagan parents worried about childcare as B.C. closes schools

In a letter to parents available on the school district’s website, the board of education said learning service centres in some elementary and middle schools will begin to accommodate the children of tier-one essential service workers who had submitted applications.

It listed health-care providers, acute-care workers and emergency responders as examples of tier-one essential-service workers.

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On March 17, in announcing that all B.C. schools were closing because of the pandemic, the province said “we expect school districts and independent schools will develop plans to maintain some level of service for children of people who are performing essential services across our province – like medical health professionals, first responders, pharmacists and critical infrastructure workers.”

Okanagan schools planning to continue learning through pandemic
Okanagan schools planning to continue learning through pandemic

On Friday, the Central Okanagan board of education said teaching and support staff will provide learning and care for small groups of students in kindergarten to Grade 6, Monday to Friday.

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It also said tier-two and tier-three essential-service workers are currently on a waitlist, and that the district will attempt to accommodate requests according to available space.

“The school district health and safety department inspected the additional cleaning at schools and established a universal standard of strong safety protocols to protect everyone who enters,” said the board’s message.

“As we set standards for school spaces and personal conduct, the students of essential-service workers and the staff who attend schools will maintain appropriate physical distancing and abide by new guidelines for a healthy and safe environment.”

Life after spring break: B.C. students start online learning
Life after spring break: B.C. students start online learning

Additionally, the board said that it will be distributing food packages next week to students experiencing food insecurity.

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“We are grateful for support from community volunteers who offered to provide food to schools,” said the board.

“To reduce physical contact, our providers will deliver a week’s worth of lunches and breakfasts at one time.”

To view the board of education’s message, click here.

B.C. education response plan during COVID-19 shutdown
B.C. education response plan during COVID-19 shutdown