Sorrento moving to remote learning

After discussions with Interior Health, it has been decided to move to remote learning at Sorrento Elementary for the remainder of this week, says School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger.

As you are likely aware, COVID-19 activity has increased throughout the Interior region in the past few weeks. Recently, there have been some cases of COVID-19 among the school community, and as such there are a number of school community members that require self-isolation for 10 days.

In order to support the Sorrento Elementary School staff and students who are currently self-isolating, School District No. 83 has decided to close the school for one week due to staffing constraints. In-person classes will resume on Monday, October 18th.

Tuesday will be a preparation day for staff, and then remote learning will start on Wednesday, October 13. Classroom teachers will be providing resources to parents via email, and will also be connecting with students and families personally.

Please note, that this is a functional school closure and has not been declared a COVID-19 school outbreak.


COVID update for parents

I would like to share another update of the COVID-19 positive cases within our school and community. We continue to be aware of the positive cases connected to our school, and as such, we are working with Interior Health (IH) and the COVID-19 Rapid Response Team.

Today we had the IH Health and Safety consultant do a visual review of our school and our procedures and practices. He is writing a report of the findings and some recommendations and will be communicating those to us as soon as possible. It is worth noting that the consultant was impressed and reassured by what he saw today, and has a critical eye and therefore will be giving us valuable feedback. Once we have recommendations that could make our school even safer, rest assured we will follow them precisely.

There have been questions posed about the timeline where Interior Health and the COVID Schools Safety Team would determine the need for more classes, or even a whole school to self-isolate for a period of time. As you know, contract tracing occurs after every positive case, and the decision of who is directed to self-isolate comes from that team. It isn’t just about numbers of cases, but about the context under which those cases exist. Interior Health has provided the recommendation for two classrooms (Div 1 and Div 8) to self-isolate until Oct 12, when they can return to school, as long as the adults and children are asymptomatic.

Today they added the recommendation for our Div 10 class to self monitor until Oct 15. At this time, Interior Health is not seeing any between-classroom transmission. Recommendations have been provided to individual cases, contacts, and classrooms. Interior Health has told us that people at school who are not close contacts are not at increased risk, so don’t need to take any additional actions beyond continuing to follow general public health recommendations. Interior Health continues to monitor our school activity and will provide further recommendations should things change.

If there is an exposure at school, Interior Health will directly notify confirmed close contacts of the positive case with further instructions, including if they should self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms of illness. If you are contacted by Interior Health, or receive a self-isolation/self-monitor letter, it is imperative that you follow their direction carefully. The most important thing for students and families to remember is that students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and get tested.

We are taking the responsibility of the health and safety of our students, families, staff, and community very seriously, and will continue to strive to improve each day.

With Kindest Regards,
Jodi Garries, Principal

Several classes isolating

On the recommendation of Interior Health, two classes at our school will be switching to learning from home until Tuesday, October 12.

Students in these two divisions, who will be receiving a notification letter from Interior Health, will receive school work via email for Friday, October 8. Thursday will be used as a transition day by the teachers to prepare work for their students.

Interior Health has informed us that any students that are asymptomatic are welcome to return to class on Tuesday, October 12.

Please, during this time when so many people in our school community are ill, remember to use all the layers of protection available to you including hand hygiene and wearing a mask. We want everyone to be safe and healthy.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Principal Jodi Garries.

Message from Superintendent – mask mandate expanding

An important update to the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools and the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings was announced on October 1, 2021 by Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger would like to inform parents about this change and to update everyone on the notification process for school exposures.

Update to face coverings mandate

The provincial government has announced that beginning Monday, October 4, 2021, all students in B.C. schools will be required to wear a mask when inside a school building, including while at their desks and on buses. This builds on the existing guidelines that currently apply to all students in grades 4-12.

“We recognize that some students in grades K-3 may not be accustomed to wearing masks, as a result, school staff will spend October 4 helping children adjust to this change, with the goal of building mask wearing into student routines by Tuesday, October 5th. We suggest you send your K-3 child to school with a clean mask and a spare mask that they are used to wearing. Schools will have disposable masks available,” she reports.

As a reminder, provincial guidance advises that mask requirements do not apply to staff, students and visitors in the following circumstances:

  • A person cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons;
  • A person is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
  • If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
  • If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask;
  • If a person is eating or drinking;
  • If a person is behind a barrier; or
  • While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important.

Change to notification process for school exposures

The provincial government also made a change to the notification process for school exposures, directing local health authorities to begin posting general school exposure notifications to their websites. Exposure notifications for our school district and the Interior Health region more broadly can be found on the Interior Health school exposures page. For a helpful overview of the contact tracing process visit the BC CDC website.

“Thank you for your continued support.”