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Powell River Board of Education/School District 47 briefs

Moves scheduled professional day; Outlines provincial reporting survey results; Plans policy/administrative updates; Explains non-collection of vaccine data and functional closures

Changing in-service

School District 47 will be moving its scheduled February 18 professional day to May 20.

At the Powell River Board of Education meeting on January 19, superintendent of schools Dr. Jay Yule said it is hoped that staff can be brought together in-person if possible, so it was recommended to move the professional day to May. He said if the recommendation passed, information would be distributed to all parents.

Board chairperson Dale Lawson said it makes perfect sense, given that all can appreciate how much more meaningful an in-person engagement is compared to trying to carry out professional development over videoconferencing. Yule said the school district’s unions and the district parent advisory committee support the move.

Reporting reported

Yule outlined provincial reporting policy survey results. He reported on a kindergarten to grade 12 report prepared for BC Ministry of Education.

“When you read the document, people aren’t as thrilled as we had hoped, but it is really understandable because parents and people who have gone through the system like something definitive like letter grades and percentages, even though from an educational perspective, it doesn’t paint the proper reporting picture,” said Yule. “A lot of the stakeholders don’t like the direction the government is moving in.”

A key element of the proposed policy includes requiring a minimum of five reporting updates throughout the school year, of which four would be learning updates (two of which are written) and one will be a written summary of learning at the end of the school year.

Policies reviewed

The school district plans to have its policy and administrative procedures updated and approved by the end of the school year.

“We’ve been working with a consultant throughout the school year,” said Yule. “We just spent 16 hours with the consultant reviewing all of our administrative procedures and making changes. We’re hoping in the next month we’ll be able to present those and have more discussion."

No collection

Regarding vaccine data collection, Yule said the school district will not be collecting any data about vaccines regarding employees without the direction of the public health officer.

“We don’t have any direction from the public health officer,” added Yule.

Regarding functional closures, if it was student illness, public health would make the call if there were closures and if it’s around the school district not having enough employees to operate the schools, the decision would be made at the school board office, said Yule.

“I’m happy to report that the percentage of absenteeism among staff and students is very low and it’s very comparable to other non-COVID-19 years,” he added. “So far, so good.”