For close to 90 minutes, School District 27 and Interior Health teamed up to host a virtual town hall meeting.
Chris van der Mark, the superintendent of schools, and Medial Health Officers Dr. Carol Fenton and Dr. Silvina Mema answered parents’ questions in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.
van der Mark said that overall that other than some technical problems, the meeting went well.
“We had lots of positive feedback in terms of follow up on the questions. Interior Heath was superb; they were just outstanding,” he said. “I would say, overall, we’re pleased.”
van der Mark said that the meeting featured many highlights and topics that parents had. One of the main questions asked during the meeting was what happens when if a child gets sick at school?
“I think the clarification around Interior Health about what happens if a child gets sick and just that clear understanding that just because someone in the family group is sick, doesn’t mean everybody is in isolation,” he said. “It really is about symptoms and especially about new symptoms. I think it was really helpful. If your child is not feeling well, it looks like when your child wasn’t feeling great a year ago. Your called, please come and arrange to come to pick up your child. We will keep them safe and taken care of. Then as a parent figuring out do you need to go and test your children, those are all parent decisions and hopefully, that helped parents.”
van der Mark said that for schools to remain safe, it will take teamwork between schools, parents, and students to follow guidelines.
“I think we’ve highlighted throughout this, throughout the spring, throughout the summer, is we’ve been really fortunate in the attitude of all our partners,” he said. “Everyone has really pulled together to make the best of this situation, and make it meaningful and have kids back in a safe way. Everybody ultimately has the same end goal, which is doing good things for kids, and this really focuses that energy in a positive way.
van der Mark said that some of those guidelines could change as they move along into the school year.
“This is a new thing on the landscape. It’s not going away anytime soon, and just as we learn to deal with chickenpox, and measles, and things like that in the community, we are adding this into that selection of things that are out there and that we have to deal with and we are developing ways to do that, but it’s not going away,” he said. “That’s also why we have to make people aware of this notion that we are just going to hunker down until COVID is gone because that is not likely.”
van der Mark encourages parents to watch the meeting if they have any concerns or talk to a local school about any questions and concerns, they might still have.
To check out the virtual meeting click here.