Prince Rupert School District 52 board of trustees met for the first time in 2021 on Jan.12.
Highlights of the meeting included a brief discussion about a skiing field trip.
Gabriel Bureau, president of the Prince Rupert Teachers Union questioned the board about its approval of Feb. 8th and 22nd planned ski field trips for two classes of students to Shames Mountain.
“How does it fit in with the travel advisory,” Bureau said. “How does it fit in with orders not to travel?”
Bureau pointed out the high number of cases of COVID-19 in the Terrace area currently and said it is difficult to ensure all students will continue to wear masks while in close proximity on a bus.
The current provincial travel orders recommend staying local and avoiding non-essential travel with-in BC.
“The field trip is a replacement of a day at school,” James Horne, board chair said. “The students will be safe on the ski hill. Provincial travel orders expire on Feb. 5. If the orders are extended we will review.”
“The (supervising teacher) is aware of the COVID-19 precautions,” Andrew Samoil, SD 52 superintendent said. “We have been assured that all precautions, including masks and hand sanitizers, will be used and followed.”
Prince Rupert Middle School Principal Michelle Cross-Pomponio and Vice-Principal Paramjit Khaira explained the school’s COVID-19 practices and protocols are working well.
The middle school is now at 100 per cent in-class learning with a modified timetable to follow the Ministry of Education’s protocols, Cross-Pomponio said. Each day starts with staff health-self-assessments as well as students being health screened by parents before school and once again when they get to school. An online check-in system has been developed and is working well, she said.
The students are split into two groups to keep the cohorts smaller than recommended. Every classroom has a separate entry and exit door with floor arrows directing students through the school and stairwells. Each grade has a separate entrance and exit into the school to avoid pedestrian congestion and overcrowding through the entry and exit points.
Masks are mandatory in all common areas Cross-Pomponio said, with many students voluntarily wearing masks all day in class.
Phishing – not fishing
A simulated phishing attack was sent to all board staff in December to create awareness of email scams and cyber dangers.
Twenty-five staff members clicked on the link which could have been disastrous if it was a real attack, the Board said. Staff were followed up with and reminded of the undesired results.
“Simulated attacks will continue as this something that simply will not go away,” the Board said.
Bottled water is continuing to be supplied to all SD 52 sites and schools from a local provider due to the ongoing city water advisory.
A number of smartboards were installed in classrooms during the December holiday break.
Bulk handsoap dispensers were changed out for foaming soap dispensers throughout the district. The old liquid soap dispensers created a lot of waste and needed to be topped every couple of days, the Board said. The new foaming dispensers don’t make a mess and are filled every two weeks.
Work is continuing to install touchless paper towel dispensers around the district and new dispensers use two-thirds less paper towel to dry hands. This will save the district time and money while providing a better quality product.
An energy grant from BC Hydro was recently received by SD 52. The funds will cover the cost of an energy manager to ascertain in all buildings the efficiency and costs of all controls and the savings they are designed to provide.
Two maintenance vehicles were replaced.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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