Covid-19 Planning & Back to School Update

Covid-19 Planning & Back to School Update

Blog Landing chevron_right Covid-19 Planning & Back to School Update chevron_right

LCS students, parents, and caregivers, we hope you are enjoying the last days of your summer holiday.

Did you miss our updates posted over the summer?

Our Summer Updates post outlined the exciting work we have been doing to execute on our strategic plan and move us forward as a thriving, excellent Christian school. We also posted updates about the Elementary expansion plans and how we are re-envisioning our K-12 Bible curriculum to ensure we are delivering transformative educational experiences into the future.

Finally, we posted a farewell to three long-serving, outstanding LCS Board directors whose final term came to an end this summer: Jim Heuving, Lars Vanlinge and Mark Griffieon. 

Plans for Welcoming You Back

In recent days, the LCS administrative staff have been working hard in preparing to welcome everyone back to school in September. We have some exciting changes this year and are welcoming many very talented, new staff who will be beginning their LCS career this September. 

In all of our discussions and planning, we are emphasizing optimizing learning, health and wellness for all students and staff. Our own qualitative data collected from staff, as well our conversations with parents, students and other educators in our region, indicates strongly that student mental health and student learning were adversely impacted by the Covid protocols in place last year. Throughout the entire pandemic, independent schools have been equal partners with all education stakeholders in B.C. in a collaborative process to determine what protocols might best keep schools safe for students and staff. Some of the protocols schools believe were not effective and/or hindered connection and learning, have been discontinued this year in the Ministry of Education’s guidelines.

As we all navigate the implications of the mandates that remain in place for September, specifically the grade 4-12 mask requirement, we are aware that the potential exists for there to be significant Covid fatigue and division within any school community. Our administration and board of directors are committed again this year to balancing what is good for our staff and students’ learning and wellness, with active support of public health initiatives that contribute to the common good of everyone in the Fraser Health region and beyond. 

Further, more detailed information about Covid-19 protocols for the K-12 education sector can be found here:

Our desire is to be united this year in a common posture of humility, mercy, patience and genuine desire to listen, learn and grow in understanding of the diverse individuals, perspectives and people who make up the LCS community. Covid-19 has made those divisions more pronounced everywhere we look today, but as a school, our role is to bring people together in common understanding, respect and dignity. Micah 6:8 captures such a posture, and will be our theme verse this year, guiding the work we do.

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) 

In navigating the weeks ahead, and in our efforts to keep everyone well informed of what you need to know as a valued member of the community, we will be increasingly relying on our new website and email to communicate the most up-to-date information.  

How safe is LCS for students and staff? 

  • Over 80% of LCS staff are fully vaccinated with two doses as of August 26
  • The transmission of Covid-19 through schools was very low last school year
  • We will continue to work closely with our partners, including Fraser Health, to monitor any potential outbreaks and to be proactive to transition to online learning for a short period of time on a class by class basis if necessary 
  • We have smaller than local district average classroom sizes, especially in middle and high school
  • Teachers have flexibility and autonomy to conduct learning outside when possible
  • Our ventilation systems meet all Ministry of Education specifications 

What are different about Covid-19 protocols this year? 

  • No cohorts; staggered breaks and staggered start and finish times have also been discontinued
  • Full resumption of extracurricular activities, including athletics and intramural activities
  • Essential field trips can resume where external service providers are able to safely accommodate us
  • Chapels and cross-grade gatherings essential for community connection may resume 
  • Respecting personal physical space replaces the 2-meters physical distancing requirement

What Covid-19 protocols are resuming from June 2021? 

  • Health and Safety Committee oversight to ensure a safe working environment
  • Enhanced cleaning and hand washing
  • Remaining home when sick 
  • Daily health checks before entering the school 
  • Masks required for all indoor spaces for everyone in grade 4-12 and adults 
  • Masks remain a personal choice for grades K-3
  • Students, and/or parent/caregivers may request a mask exemption 

What are the exemptions for mask wearing on campus, indoors? (EXEMPTION FORM LINK)

Staff, parents and caregivers requesting an exemption are required to fill out an exemption form and send to their campus principal. Exemptions to the mask policy include: 

  • A person who cannot tolerate wearing a mask for personal health or behavioural reasons
  • A person unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person

Parents and caregivers are not required to provide verification from a family doctor or health care practitioner. We trust parents and caregivers to make informed, responsible decisions for their child, and that medical reasons for an exemption, especially those related to youth mental health, are private and confidential.

What are the temporary mask exemptions? 

LCS students and staff may temporarily remove masks while on campus, indoors under the following exemptions, where they can be done safely. These exemptions do not require parents or caregivers to provide an exemption form. 

  • 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. Examples may include but are not limited to:
    • Playing an instrument
    • Engaging in high-intensity physical activity
  • If a person is eating or drinking
  • If a person is behind a barrier
  • While providing a service where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important (i.e. Conducting small group, explicit instruction of literacy and languages)

Are vaccines required for staff and students?

Proof of vaccinations are not required for essential sectors such as grocery stores and education. We expect that the number of vaccinated staff to reach closer to 90% in the coming weeks, so any such mandate would not be necessary.

Vaccinations for students over 12 years of age continued to be encouraged, but are not mandatory to attend school or school events in British Columbia. There are currently no discussions or plans at any level for health authorities to establish vaccination clinics at schools in our community.

Where do I find information about school start up?

In the coming days you should expect to find school start up information on our Back to School page.

As we upload our updated student policies, you should be able to locate them on the Policies and Procedures page.

Questions about any Covid-19 measures or school start up can be directed to the appropriate campus principal.

Thank you in advance for coming together once again to support the measures we need in schools to overcome this pandemic as soon as possible, keep schools and businesses in our community open, and to continuing supporting those who are vulnerable.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon.