School District 27 staff will be encouraging children to avoid direct physical contact, as well as focusing on how children and staff can move around safely in a school environment. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

SD27 superintendent encourages ‘calm and confidence’ as students eye return to classes

The district will host a virtual Town Hall Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. with Interior Health

School District 27 superintendent Chris van der Mark is setting the stage for a calm, safe, knowledgeable return to school next week.

In a letter penned to families released Thursday, Sept. 3, van der Mark noted the risk of COVID-19 is low but that it is also important not to be complacent.

“We are very fortunate to live in a rural part of the province, and our lower population density combined with better physical distancing and hygiene has helped keep our region very safe from the pandemic,” van der Mark said, adding schools are following the same rigorous health, cleaning and distancing requirements that apply to metro areas.

Van der Mark said while adults in school buildings will remain two meters apart where possible when school starts, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control recognizes that social distancing is not always feasible and is not expected in classrooms.

“Instead we will be encouraging children to avoid direct physical contact, as well as focusing on how children and staff can move around safely in a school environment. Through these efforts, our communities and our schools remain very safe. Moreover, our schools remain one of the best controlled, clean environments during this pandemic.”

Cohorts will help health authorities trace potential contacts if and when positive cases occur but will also, unfortunately for students, limit the interactions for them across their day.

READ MORE: Organizers move forward with COVID-restricted hockey season in Williams Lake

“However, limited interactions are significantly better than the continued social isolation of children,” he added.

School District 27 is teaming up with Interior Health on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. to host a virtual Town Hall meeting to help answer any remaining questions parents may have. Participants are asked to send questions to in advance so the district can prepare for the session. The Town Hall Link will be posted on the website and through social media.

“We are all in this together, and I hope we will all provide the calm and confidence to our children and our communities that enables them to be resilient and look to the future with the bright optimism of youth,” said van der Mark.

Schools will have staff orientation regarding the new COVID-19 procedures on Sept. 8 and 9 and students will be welcomed back on Sept. 10 and 11.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

School District No 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s General Voting Day in the B.C. Election with the polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (File image)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Local hunters pose with 198 pounds of goose meat after a 12-day trip to Chilanko Forks. Ken Rife accounted for nine of the 21 birds shot. Left to right: Sid Pigeon, Rife, Bill Margetts, Claude Huston, Geoff Place and Gary Hutchinson. (Williams Lake Tribune archives Nov. 2, 1960)
From our Archives: Gone Geese

A photograph from the 1960 edition of the Williams Lake Tribune

On Friday, Oct. 16, Vivian and Dan Simmons, left, creators of the Save the Cow Moose Sign Project resulting in a new mural, posed for a photograph with some of the funders who made the mural possible including Joe O’Neill and Joanne Cooke, West Fraser Truckers Association, Dariene Andros, Williams Lake and District Credit Union, Mayor Walt Cobb, City of Williams Lake, Kane Fraser, artists Dwayne Davis and Steven Davis-Gosling and City Coun. Scott Nelson. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cow calf moose mural looms large in Williams Lake

Donations made the mural possible

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read