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Archive: COVID-19 Updates

March 27, 2020

ARCHIVE 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVI19) Chinook.png​​
COVID-19 information archive

For our most recent COVID-19 information and updates, click here.

May 6, 2020
Provincial Update

The bad news... you won’t get to see your friends and teachers at school for a while as supplemental learning at home will continue until the end of this school year; the good news… our teachers have this covered!

Schools will remain closed and supplemental learning will continue at home until the end of June for all Saskatchewan students.

The Ministry of Education, Government of Saskatchewan and Chief Medical Health Officer have stated that limits on private and public gatherings must be respected, so Graduation activities are encouraged to be virtual.

Education for Saskatchewan’s students will resume in the fall and contingency plans (scenarios) are being developed and the format will be determined in consultation with the province’s chief medical health officer. There are no immediate plans for the full return of students to classrooms in the fall – all of this is dependent on the health and well being of the province.​


May 6, 2020
Director Update to Families: Supplemental Learning and Next Steps

Hello Chinook Families:

As we continue with week three of Chinook Learning at Home, I want to thank parents and caregivers for taking care of our students. You are doing a great job in a very difficult circumstance. Remember, Learning at Home does not have to be perfect, our goal is to keep as many kids as possible continuing to learn. If you or your child need help, please ask us!

There are approximately seven weeks of teaching and learning remaining in our school year. As you organize your child's school day, I ask that you continue to show patience with their learning. Try to keep a schedule for them, but allow some flexibility in order to prompt the building of a few breaks into their day. Our weather is changing and fresh air is great, but please find time in the day to have your child work on the learning packages provided by your school. 

Again, what will the new normal be? No one knows for sure. What I do know is that our staff is committed to helping you and your child. I encourage you to reach out to your students’ teacher for support, and in doing so, know that we are all partners in student learning. Children will need help and clarification about learning activities, just as you may also need help with teacher expectations. Please be your child’s learning conduit. Feel free to contact your child’s teacher for clarification and support via email, a phone call or you can even try a Google Meet! 

Today, I bring to you two bits of good news. First, in a recent provincial survey of school divisions, Chinook had a remarkable 94% of students sign up for supplemental learning opportunities. Awesome!

Learning at home is a partnership;  this is not the regular classroom everyone is used to. We need to use all available resources to keep our kids engaged and on track. This is not an ideal teaching and learning environment. Please remember, our main goal is to keep as many kids as possible engaged and connected to their classes. This will be better for your kids and their teachers next fall.

I am aware that some of you are putting in many more hours than you would normally with your children learning at home. You might feel frustrated that your child may not be working as hard or is as interested as you are. This also happens occasionally at school. However, please be assured that our teachers are working hard, trying new strategies, and are going above and beyond to engage with your  kids. Thank you for your partnership and for your efforts to help your kids be successful.

Yes, there will be peaks and valleys over the next seven weeks, but remember that this is not a regular circumstance. We want to keep kids in classes because in the long run, greater content understanding and skill mastery is better than a higher mark with little subject knowledge. Learning now will better prepare your child for his/her future.

You know your child better than we do, therefore you will recognize when they can be pushed and when they need help. Right now, it is important to reach out to your child’s teacher when you need to. When in doubt ask for help.  You are not alone.

Secondly, and not shockingly, we will not resume our “normal school operations” prior to fall. In the next few weeks, we are also providing schools, SCCs and Grade 12s with some options and parameters within which Graduation celebrations may occur. 

As I look toward the fall, I cannot assure you that our schools will look the way they looked in September 2019. Chinook superintendents, the Board of Education and myself are presently working at creating return-to-work scenarios that include: continuing with at home learning, partial/staggered return to school and normal operations. We continue to work with the province, the ministry and with the province’s chief medical health officer. I want to ensure that schools are safe for students and staff before we will resume normal operations. 

Please remember that everyone has a role and everyone has a responsibility in this unprecedented time. 

This is a challenging time for you, but it is also challenging for kids. Most students are doing fairly well considering the circumstances. Parenting can be a challenge; it is often demanding when we are not in the middle of a pandemic. We all know our children and we know what we as parents can and cannot handle academically. Thank you for your commitment to your children’s learning. Thank you for your creativity, for being risk takers and for continuing to do what is best for your kids. 

Stay safe, stay healthy and if you have questions or need help, please ask. 

May 6 2020 - Director Update To Parents Supplemental Learning and Next Steps.pdf


April 23, 2020

The recently announced Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan states that long-term restrictions on high risk areas will remain in place for the foreseeable future, which includes the continued suspension of classes in all primary and secondary educational institutions. 

Chinook School Division will continue the work and progress in supporting our staff and supporting students who are learning at home to complete the 2019-2020 school year. 

For more information and the detailed plan, please visit Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan | Government of Saskatchewan.​

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April 20, 2020
Message to Chinook Families​ from the Director of Education

It has been just over one month since our communities were first impacted by COVID-19. This pandemic has been absolutely life changing and job changing for us all. We are now in the midst of an historical period and educationally we are “satisficing”: all of us, including you, are doing the best that we can for our children in the circumstance we find ourselves in. I sincerely thank you for your partnership.

As you know, the health and wellness of our students and staff is the top priority in Chinook. We believe that our division will continue to be a great place to work and go to school even if kids are not physically attending school in our buildings. By now, your child’s teacher has connected with you and your child. We know that solid teaching and learning is already taking place in several communities around the division. School in the COVID era will start up again this week. The last four weeks have been challenging for all involved as we navigate the emergent and rapid change that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic. ​

There have been some very positive things that have come out of this crisis. For the most part you, me, and your family and my family are presently healthy. We have made plans with you to continue to work with you and your child on a Supplemental Learning Plan. In our division, just over 94% of our students and families have chosen to work on Supplemental Learning at Home. That is outstanding!! This really emphasizes the importance of education in the southwest.

The pandemic has brought a pause from the chaos that some of us live with as we follow our children around our communities, province and country in their various pursuits. There has been suspension of travel, our children’s activities have for the most part been cancelled and we are not racing around taking our kids from one event to another. Life has slowed. We now have time to read, make and eat family meals together, go on family walks, play games, watch movies or make TikToks. 

I am sure that many families have appreciated teachers connecting with them and most will be extremely happy that supplemental learning packages and activities have arrived. Some parents will have a new appreciation for the work that teachers do. There have been plenty of jokes on Facebook and Instagram about parents expelling their students, quitting, or using corporal punishment while teaching their kids. Some children may be missing school, as teachers and support staff are positive role models in their lives. School is a safe, friendly, caring, consistent and welcoming place in their lives for six hours a day. I want to thank you for your work at home supporting your child’s learning: trying to establish structure and routines, establishing regular bedtimes, playing educational games, having them read, reading to them and working with your child while instilling some life lessons. 

We are living in an unusual time. We are making history. We are maintaining social distancing to help our community and to help our health care workers. Embrace the opportunities to reconnect with school and, most importantly, embrace the opportunity to reconnect with your own family. Everything in this life happens for a purpose.

Thank you for your commitment to student learning, for your partnership as parents and for making Chinook Rock, even in unusual circumstances.

Kyle McIntyre
Director of Education​

April 20, 2020 Letter to Chinook Families.pdf


March 27, 2020
Education Response Planning Team Update

As I mentioned to you on Wednesday, March 25th, locally and provincially people are working behind the scenes to work with you and your children in this extremely unique and challenging teaching and learning environment. Please find (below) a provincial overview of some of the supports and learning opportunities that will be coming from the province and Chinook.

Please remember, beginning next week your children’s teacher will be reaching out to you personally and one week from today, I will provide you all with a resource called the Chinook Supplemental Learning Plan COVID-19 Pandemic Response 2020. 

Please take care of yourself and your family. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to us.

Kyle McIntyre


March 25, 2020
COVID-19 Update for Chinook Families

Thank you for all you have done during this first week of school closure to promote social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our province. Practicing social distancing supports our healthcare system and our many frontline workers who provide essential services in our communities.
I want to reassure you. Our staff and I are here for you and your children.

In addition to our core function of supporting student learning, Chinook is committed to promoting student well-being, wellness, and mental health. When school staff return to work next week, they will be reaching out to all Chinook students and families, offering support, making connections, and advising families of wellness supports available from our school division and through other organizations in our communities.

Beginning Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 and throughout that week, teachers will touch base with you to discuss ongoing supports for student learning.

The provincial government has stated that students will progress to the next grade in September 2020. For Prekindergarten to Grade 9 students, this means that they will be beginning their next grade. For Grade 10-12 students, this means that they will receive credit for courses they have started and will move directly to more advanced coursework.

However, as the skills, knowledge and strategies learned in each grade will form the foundation for success in the next grade, students risk re-entering school with gaps in their learning from material not covered. Your child's readiness to succeed in their next grade will depend on active and routine learning during the school closure period.

To support families in facilitating their children's learning, Chinook staff is creating a Supplemental Learning Plan. This learning resource will be available in both physical and digital formats and will also include a Frequently Asked Questions section for your reference. I hope to have this guide to you by Friday, April 3rd, 2020.

Active use of the supplemental learning resources provided during this period will support your child’s school success moving forward. Thank you for your patience and for supporting your children's learning this past while. Chinook teachers and school support staff will be working throughout the school closures to continue to meet students’ needs.

Please continue to practice social distancing and self-isolate when required. We will continue to communicate and we encourage you to keep checking our website and social media platforms for our latest updates. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Kyle McIntyre
Director of Education

March 20, 2020​
Provincial Education Response Planning Team Update

On March 16th, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced an indefinite suspension of classes in all provincial schools in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Following this announcement, a provincial Education Response Planning Team was established to provide high level guidance for school divisions related to student learning matters during the indefinite suspension. 

In addition to our Chinook Learning Updates, we are also committed to let you know what is going on provincially. Here is the first update from the Education Response Planning Team:

Letter to parents March 20 2020.pdf​​


March 18, 2020
Coronavirus Update for Chinook Families

This letter is an update related to the provincial response to COVID-19 and the plans that are underway in Chinook School Division. I know there is much uncertainty during this time, and wish we had all of the answers to your questions. Our goal continues to be to support your children and your family, and we promise that we will continue to communicate with ongoing updates to staff and families as more information becomes available to us or as academic plans become more concrete.

On March 16th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the indefinite suspension of schools in Saskatchewan beginning Friday, March 20th. “Indefinite” may mean that school is finished for the year, or it may mean that when the COVID-19 outbreak stabilizes, we will be able to return to school sometime sooner than next fall. At this point there has been no final determination. We are acting under orders and data from the province’s Chief Medical Officer.

The Ministry of Education has also announced an education pause period for school programming in Saskatchewan from Friday, March 20th to Friday, March 27th inclusive. As a result of this announcement, Chinook will be enacting our business continuity plan to ensure that essential business services continue to function while ensuring all staff safety. This plan will include availability for parents, families and staff to still contact the division if they have questions during this time. Please do not contact your child’s teacher. I assure you they are eager to provide learning opportunities when the province and Chinook directs them to do so.

During the education pause period, education sector partners will develop a good solid plan for all students to learn moving forward. In the meantime, please keep your children safe at home, increase prevention measures and practice social distancing. Try to maintain a daily routine, demonstrate calmness and connect with your children so they feel safe. 

I can appreciate you are all concerned for your children. I have children in this circumstance too. There is no academic emergency at the moment so please do not feel pressure to teach your child. Please focus on the health and safety of your family and take this pause as time off from those pressures as well. Have them read books, play some board games, and monitor their online interaction with their peers. 

Our division is working collaboratively with the Ministry of Education behind the scenes. The education sector is also working on a provincial plan to ensure the successful completion of high school courses and grade 12 for students interested in continuing to learn and to improve their standing. In due time when the pause is lifted, our teachers will reach out to provide instructional support for our students and resources for parents.  

We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we work through this. The decision by our province has presented many unknowns, and we will continue to work through the details and communicate information to you. 
For ongoing updates and information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus.

Kyle McIntyre
Director of Education

March 17, 2020​

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has established an Education Response Planning Team (RPT) to work diligently through the details of school suspension and what that will mean for our students’ marks and achievement. This committee intends to respect and align its work with the provincial government’s decision, while striving to be consistent and equitable given the diversity in our province and in our schools.
 
A hard deadline for marks and a reporting process has yet to be established. We anticipate provincial direction and consistency regarding transitions, grading and program placement. Once our division receives direction from the Ministry, we will share expectations with our teachers, as well as our parents and families. Right now, our primary concern is the health and safety of our staff and students, and their families.
 
The major important action right here and right now is stopping the spread of COVID-19.
 
Behind the scenes, among other things, we are working on the learning needs of children. Learning is important, but health for the time being is more important. Please keep your children at home, increase prevention measures and practice social distancing as much as possible.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work through this. We will continue to communicate with ongoing updates to staff and families.

Ministry of Education Update - COVID-19

March 16, 2020
Province Announces Class Suspensions Effective March 20, Wind Down Period Until Thursday​

Today, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that all classes in Saskatchewan pre K-12 Schools will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For the period of March 16 to March 19, pre K-12 classes will wind down. This means that parents who are able to keep children home should do so immediately, with no absence or grade impacts. Parents with limited childcare options have a window to plan for class suspension.

We are now working to understand the many implications of this announcement. Of course public health and safety is paramount. This has all been done to ensure that when this virus hits our communities that the many dedicated health care workers are not overwhelmed. 

We all have a responsibility to “flatten the curve” by maintaining appropriate and proactive social distancing by avoiding activities such as play dates, sleep overs, in-person interactions, use of public spaces, public gatherings and travel. If you have symptoms or have recently returned from out-of-country, please self-isolate and follow the guidelines from the Government of Saskatchewan.

Our schools will be closed to all students effective Friday, March 20; the last official day of classes will be Thursday, March 19 and the last day for transportation services will be Thursday, March 19. Please make arrangements to take home all of your child’s personal belongings by March 19, 2020.

We are presently trying to anticipate some of your immediate questions and concerns, but please allow our teachers and administrators time to work through the details of this closure. Your school will provide you with pertinent information as planning is completed.

At some point in the future, every student will receive a final grade based on their current grade, and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Every student who is eligible - presently on pace - to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate. 

For the rest of the regular school year, Chinook School Division will continue to work with Ministry of Education officials to implement educational opportunities and resources through alternative learning methods, as you support your child’s education at home. 

At a future date, Chinook will commit to communicating the specifics of how we intend to deliver the supplemental curriculum and how we may support those students who are not presently passing. The Ministry of Education and School Divisions will also work with Post-Secondary Institutions to adapt entry requirements for programs commencing in the next academic year. While this supplemental curriculum will have no impact on final grades, it will ensure that students seeking to continue learning will have the resources necessary to do so.

The suspension of schools has obviously led to the cancellation of Student Led Conferences in their current format. Teachers will connect with families to provide communication on their child’s progress. 

A Response Team has been assembled by the Ministry of Education and they are presently meeting to examine ways that our sector can continue to support you and your child as they are away from our schools. More information will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, some ideas for families at home may include creating a daily predictable routine for your child that will include exercise, reading, math, limiting screen time, as well as family activities. 

Over the next few days we will be sharing information regarding next steps. Below are some websites you may find helpful.

Tips for managing anxiety about COVID-19:

Talking to your children about COVID-19:
We are sailing in uncharted waters, but please be confident that we will attempt to find solutions that are good for kids and also respectful and fair to staff. This has been a tumultuous time for families, for our schools and for our communities. Thank you all for your care and commitment to our kids and to one another.​​ We hope that our students, staff and families stay healthy and safe. 

For ongoing updates and information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus.


Families and Staff Letter - March 16 2020.pdf

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March 16, 2020 

​Message from Kyle McIntyre, Director of Education

This morning, a message from the Government of Saskatchewan was announced regarding school closure effective Friday, March 20, 2020. We are now working to understand the many implications of this statement. Of course public health and safety is paramount. This has all been done to ensure that when this virus hits our communities that the many dedicated health care workers are not overwhelmed. We now all have a responsibility to “flatten the curve” by maintaining appropriate and proactive social distancing.

We are presently trying to anticipate some of your immediate questions and concerns, but please recognize that in such a short time span we will not be able to answer all of your questions right away. ​

I have a couple of conference calls coming up in the next few minutes and then will send something more thorough out this afternoon for all staff and for parents. We are sailing in uncharted waters, but please be confident that we will attempt to find solutions that are good for kids and also respectful and fair to staff. Chinook will continue to try to do the right thing even in these challenging times. Thank you all for your care and commitment to our kids and to one another.​​

Kyle McIntyre
Director of Education

March 16, 2020 News Release: 

Province Announces Class Suspensions Effective March 20, Wind Down Period Until Thursday​


All classes in Saskatchewan schools from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20th, due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

March 16th to 19th will be a wind-down period, where parents will be able to withdraw their children from school attendance, with no impact on absences or grades.

This will provide parents with limited childcare options a window to plan for class cancellations.

We are working as a division to understand what this will mean for Chinook students, staff and families. We will provide more information as soon as possible.


March 15, 2020

Government of Saskatchewan news release: ​
Saskatchewan Keeping Schools Open For Now
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March 14, 2020

The Government​ of Saskatchewan updated their Travel Guidance on Friday, March 13, 2020. Please note the important information below and click the link to read the updated March 13 Coronavirus Information document.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending residents postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada. ALL TRAVELLERS are being asked to SELF-ISOLATE for 14 days after returning to Canada as a precaution. If this applies to your family, please contact your school upon your return and confirm the date your child will be able to return to school. 

Chinook School Division is asking families to keep children at home if they have any cold or flu like symptoms. If they exhibit these symptoms at school, their parent or caregiver will be called and they will be sent home.

Also if a member of your household has recently returned to Canada from abroad, please contact your school as soon as possible.


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March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Prevention Measures at Chinook Schools​

At Chinook School Division, our primary concern is the health and safety of our students and staff. The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak a pandemic. In order to address this public health situation, we will manage operations in accord with existing board policies and operating procedures according to our pandemic plan, which we have been preparing for in advance. 

SCHOOL FACILITIES AND CLASSROOMS
We have increased preventative measures in our facilities in a manner similar to an influenza outbreak. We are requiring additional (several times daily) disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces and staff is following cleaning and sanitizing guidelines provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. All students and staff are encouraged to follow thorough hand washing procedures to help stop the spread of viruses.

As always, if your child is sick, please keep your child home from school. If a parent or caregiver is experiencing any symptoms, please do not come to the school. Make separate arrangements for drop off/pick up at school.

Please follow the advice of our healthcare providers to help protect yourself and others:

  • Practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette (into a tissue or the bend of your elbow);
  • Wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick; 
  • Stay home if you become ill and prevent the spread of the illness;
  • Avoid hugging, kissing, shaking hands and high-fiving; and,
  • Don't share water bottles, band instruments, eating utensils, personal electronic devices, ear pods, or food.
RETURNING FROM TRAVEL
If you or any members of your household have travelled recently, it is very important that you read the advice and travel guidance that is continuously updated by the Government of Saskatchewan at Saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus. 

According to the government’s travel guidance, all travellers should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada and avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill. If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call HealthLine 811 for advice.

If you have travelled to a country with a level three travel advisory, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days starting the day you began your journey to Canada. This means self-isolate and stay at home. Contact HealthLine 811 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for direction.

SCHOOL EVENT AND ACTIVITY CANCELLATIONS
In addition to the preventative measures at our facilities, the following events and activities will be cancelled, effective immediately until further notice in all our schools and division facilities to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
  • Facility rentals;
  • Any field trip or excursion;
  • All international exchange and student educational tours;
  • Extra curricular activities;
  • Assemblies, pep rallies, any larger group gathering;
  • SCC Meetings;
  • Guest speakers, external presentations and school tours;
  • Division Professional Development and related large meetings; and,
  • Parent-Teacher Interviews: face-to-face meetings will be cancelled and schools will communicate an alternative structure for the interviews. 
SCHOOL CLOSURE: 
Saskatchewan school divisions are required to take direction from the government and at this time there are no school closures. If there is a community outbreak, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will provide direction. This could mean that all community members will be asked to stay home and they recommend school closure.

Anyone with questions or seeking more information is asked to visit Saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus for the most up to date information from the province and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Further updates will be provided as necessary.

A letter with the above information is being sent to Chinook families:


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For our most recent COVID-19 information and updates, click here.


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