Similkameen Elementary Secondary School will be running business as usual for the time being. (File Photo)

Classes continue in SD53 for now

The current ministry response plan does not have school closures as a part of it

  • Mar. 14, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Classes at School District 53 for the Okanagan Similkameen aren’t being cancelled — yet.

“Right now, that is not part of the response plan from the provincial health authorities,” said superintendent Bev Young.

“If that changes, we will act accordingly, but right now school closures are not a part of that plan.”

Those classes include ones at the Similkameen Elementary Secondary School, and the Cawston Primary School, as well as schools in Osoyoos and Oliver.

There are a number of other precautions the district is taking, before taking the step of closing schools.

READ MORE:Second presumptive case of COVID-19 in Interior Health

On Friday, March 13, the district issued a letter to all parents in the district. The letter advises that parents follow the advice of the B.C. Provincial Health Officer and avoid non-essential travel abroad, and to self-isolate from work or school for 14 days after returning to B.C.

As part of policies towards mitigating the spread of any illness, the district has increased cleaning during the previous weeks. The district will also conduct higher-level disinfecting and give special care to high-touch surfaces.

School assemblies are being cancelled for the future, as will sporting events if current conditions persist through and beyond spring break.

“So we just got the advisory, as all British Columbians did yesterday [March 12], and we are taking it seriously as far as gatherings over 250,” said Young. “That does mean while we have a reprieve for spring break, it could affect sporting events afterwards, where the gatherings are larger. That includes assemblies, we will refrain from have schools gather in large assemblies.”

Due to how quickly the situation around the virus is changing, the district’s current plans are changing with them.

“Things change and evolve daily, and sometimes even twice a day,” said Young.

“We will make sure that over spring break that we are passing any changes on to families, and we will do so through our website.”

Updates on the state of the virus’ impact on the district can be found at

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