Mar 27, 2020: Letter from Minister of Education and BCCPAC

Dear parents/guardians,

Please see the March 27, 2020 letter from Rob Fleming, Minister of Education and Andrea Sinclair, President of BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

Click to open letter

Download letter in French
Download letter in Punjabi
Download letter in Chinese

Essential Services Childcare Survey

Dear parents/guardians,

The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District is conducting a survey to determine the need for childcare and educational services for children of essential service workers in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Ministry of Education has suspended all in-classroom instruction, school districts have been asked to provide daytime childcare for children of essential service workers so that these individuals can continue to work. Essential service workers are those whose work is considered critical to preserving life, health and societal functioning.

Although the primary focus for school districts is children aged 5-12, school districts have also been asked to work with community partners and non-profits to coordinate school-aged care and 0-5 care at the same district site(s). Please note that families who qualify for this service will need to arrange transportation for drop off and pick up.

The survey will close at 4 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Take the survey at

We will review all responses and will follow up with families requesting these service provisions by Friday, April 3, 2020.

Mar 26, 2020: Letter from superintendent Sylvia Russell

Dear families,

As spring break draws to a close, I want to thank you for your patience as we work towards reconnecting with all students to provide teaching and learning opportunities during this challenging time. We now have extensive and clear guidance from the Ministries of Health and Education on how we are to organize for student learning in our new context.

I am writing to provide you with information about some of the changes we are making to our education system at this uncertain and quickly changing time. I also wanted to update you on the planning work our school district has been doing over the past couple of weeks.

I have received many emails and messages from families, students, staff and community members expressing anxiety about how we will manage safely and in the best interest of our school communities. While these are difficult times, I strongly believe that our school district community is full of generous and talented adults, children and youth. Many have already reached out to me to offer their help. I know that as we start working again with our students, we will all find strength from a collective sense of purpose and direction.

As you know, last week the provincial government suspended in-class instruction indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means that students will begin to work with their teachers and instructional support staff in different ways over the next few weeks and possibly beyond.

In the next short while, our staff will be in contact with students and families to organize for continued learning. We will be checking with you about how we can best support learning in formats that enable us to maintain a safe distance. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our students.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last night, the Ministry of Education sent out a document that answers some of the common questions families may have. We have added these questions/answers to our own list of FAQs on the school district website at

You can browse or search through the questions and answers, or can submit your question directly to us if you do not see it on the list. Staff will be updating the FAQs on this page as more information becomes available.


Childcare for Children of Essential Service Workers

The BC Ministry of Education requested that school districts provide daytime childcare for children of essential service workers so that these individuals can continue to work. Earlier today, we sent out a link to an online survey that will help us identify families in our school district who will require these services. For your information, that link is

The survey closes at 4:00 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020. We will be following up with families requiring this service by Friday, April 3, 2020. If you are a health care worker, please complete the survey as soon as you are able so that we can respond to the needs of the health care system as quickly as possible.


Supporting Student Learning

I know many of you will have questions about how the school district will support your child’s learning now that in-classroom instruction has been suspended.

School district staff have been working hard behind the scenes on the necessary planning. This planning will continue at the school level next week as teachers and principals prepare to provide students with learning opportunities.

We want to be very thoughtful not to overburden students and families with unrealistic expectations. Our goal is to provide our students with engaging, meaningful and manageable learning opportunities. Your child’s teacher will connect with you before the end of next week to discuss next steps.

In the meantime, I have attached for you in the parent portal message version of this letter a list of the many online learning resources available for families in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District. These password-protected online resources cover the BC K-12 curriculum and include many interactive multimedia resources. The passwords are provided in the attachment you will have received with my message through the portal.

I know that some of our families have limited access to online resources. I want to assure you that we are working to ensure we provide meaningful learning opportunities for all our students.


Meal Programs

Finally, we know that many of our families depend on our school-based meal programs. The Ministry of Education has asked all school districts to plan for continued delivery of these programs and we are doing that planning work now. The continued health and safety of our families and staff is our top priority, and we are working closely with Fraser Health to establish all necessary processes and protocols.

I will provide families with an update once we have more information and our plans are finalized.


As I close this letter, I want to reminding you again that your child’s teacher(s) will be reaching out to you in the coming week. In the meantime, I hope that each one of you has the support of family and friends and that you are connecting from a safe distance in new and positive ways.

Stay well!

Sylvia Russell

Mar 13, 2020: Letter from superintendent Sylvia Russell

Dear families,

Before we head into spring break, I wanted to take a moment to share with you some important school-related updates on the novel coronavirus.

I have attached for you a letter from Deputy Minister Scott MacDonald that highlights a number of the important announcements made yesterday by Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

School Closures

First, Dr. Henry advised that school closures are not necessary at this time. Over the next two weeks, therefore, school districts in the province with a different spring break schedule than ours will remain open, as will our balanced calendar school Kanaka Creek, which will start its spring break holidays on March 30. All other schools in our district will start their break Monday, March 16 and reopen on Monday, March 30, 2020 as scheduled. If there are any updates or changes to these plans, I will immediately inform you.

The decision to close schools because of the coronavirus is not a local school district decision. Instead, such a decision would be made by the Provincial Health Officer. As Deputy Minister MacDonald notes in his letter, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and education stakeholders will be having ongoing discussions over the next two weeks. We will provide you with any updates as they become available.

Non-Essential Travel

Second, Dr. Henry strongly advised against all non-essential travel out of the country, including to the United States. She also asked that those who do travel out of the country self-isolate (stay away from school or work) for 14 days upon return to Canada.

If your family does decide to travel out of the country, I ask that you please comply with this important directive so that we can continue to keep our schools and communities healthy. Remember to advise your child’s school of the absence as you normally would.

Community Gatherings and Events

Finally, Dr. Henry directed that all community gatherings and events planned for 250 or more people be cancelled or postponed. As such, we have asked our schools to postpone any planned concerts, performances or assemblies.

These are unusual and challenging times, and we must all work together to keep our communities healthy and safe. Please consider carefully the Provincial Health Officer’s advice and take all the necessary precautions. We will continue to post all COVID-19 updates to the district website at Updates specific for the Fraser Health region will be posted to the district website, school websites, and sent to you directly through the parent portal.

I wish you and your family a healthy and restful spring break.


Sylvia Russell
Superintendent of Schools


The Deputy Minister’s letter is also available in the following languages:
French, Punjabi,

Mar 10, 2020: Letter from the superintendent on spring break travel

Dear parents/guardians,

Since we are soon heading into spring break, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some important reminders about travel in the current context of COVID-19, as provided by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam.

If you are planning an international trip with your family this spring break, please remember to monitor the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories at Dr. Henry notes COVID-19 is currently found in 80 countries, and advises there should be both a careful assessment of and a low tolerance for international travel. Dr. Tam, in the meantime, advises Canadians to avoid all cruise ship travel.

Those with underlying health issues should reconsider trips at this time. [Read more…]

Feb 26, 2020: COVID-19 Guidelines for BC Schools

Dear parents/guardians,

On Monday, February 24, 2020, all school districts in the province received guidance from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control regarding recommended measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, in schools and childcare settings.

The link below will take you to a document that includes a summary of these recommendations, information on how the recommendations are being implemented in our school district, and guidance on the steps you can take at home.

Feb 26, 2020: Update from the superintendent on COVID-19

Dear parents/guardians,

As you know, on February 21, Fraser Health provided school districts in the Fraser Valley with an update on novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the release of this update, many different concerns have begun to circulate online in the region.

Although school districts cannot speak about specific schools or specific individuals, I want to reassure you that the Fraser Health Authority reports there is no public threat at schools in the region or anywhere else in the province. Whenever there is a public health matter, school districts work closely with health authorities to keep students and staff safe.

This week, all school districts in the province received additional guidance from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control regarding recommended measures for preventing and controlling respiratory viruses (including COVID-19) in schools and childcare settings. We will be providing you with a summary of these recommendations shortly and will also let you know how they are being implemented in our school district and what steps you can take at home.

We understand that you may have many questions and concerns regarding the novel coronavirus. We are in regular communication with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Fraser Health, and will continue to provide you with the very latest information provided by health authorities. We will continue to send these through the parent portal and to post them to the school district website at


Sylvia Russell

Provide your feedback on proposed calendars for 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23

The proposed calendars for 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 were presented to the Board of Education at the January 22, 2020 public meeting and are now out for public consultation.

To review the proposed calendars and provide your feedback, go to

The survey will be open from Thursday, January 23 to Friday, February 21, 2020 (4:00pm).

All feedback will be reviewed by senior staff for possible revisions once public consultation concludes. The proposed calendars will then be submitted to the Board of Education for approval at the March 11, 2020 board meeting.