Apr 3, 2020: Letter from superintendent Sylvia Russell

Dear families,

As we find ourselves on the other side of spring break in this unusual new context, I wanted to reach out to provide you with a few updates and to thank you for your support and patience. We have been working hard to prepare meaningful learning opportunities for our students while ensuring the health and safety of our school communities.

For some of our staff, the shift to a virtual classroom will not be new; for many, however, the rapid change to a new format of instruction may be more challenging. Thankfully we have a school district ethos of collaboration and support that is the very cornerstone of our mission, vision and values. I see our instructional staff forming teams, supporting each other, and investigating the power of remote instruction. At the same time, we recognize the uniqueness of each individual and will work to ensure that we provide diverse learning opportunities for students who may not be able to engage meaningfully in the virtual space.

It is our goal to contact every student in our school district this week to check in and assess what supports we will need to put into place so that we can provide a meaningful and safe learning experience for all of our students. I know that our staff are looking forward to reconnecting with students.

We are also working hard to set up school-based educational programming for children of essential services workers. We consider it a privilege to contribute in this way and are quickly moving forward with this important work.

Essential Worker Survey is Now Closed

Thank you to all parents who completed our essential worker survey. This survey closed at 4 pm on Monday and staff are now reviewing all responses.

At this time, the provincial government has directed that school districts prioritize the provision of childcare and on-site educational services to children of tier one essential service workers in the health care sector. We will be reaching out to families who qualify for and require this service by end of today, Friday, April 3. If you are a tier one essential service worker in the health care sector requiring this service but you did not complete our survey, please contact us at register@sd42.ca.

Reconnecting with Students

As I mentioned in my letter last week, your child’s teacher will be reconnecting with you and your child this week. The purpose of these initial conversations will be to get a sense of what your child’s unique needs may be and how we can best meet those needs in this new context. Teachers who have experience working in virtual classrooms will already be taking steps to provide students with learning opportunities and remote instructional support; teachers who are new to this way of teaching will be engaging with students next week and moving forward, but no later than mid-April.

If your child needs access to the school to retrieve an essential item that is required for learning (e.g. a device, a musical instrument, glasses), please advise your school principal by email or phone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, I wanted to remind you that we now have a collection of frequently asked questions on the school district website at https://www.sd42.ca/faq/. We have already received many questions from students, parents/guardians and staff, and have been adding the answers to our growing list on this page. The search feature on this page allows you to sort through the existing questions/answers. You can also submit any question(s) not on the list and we will post the answer(s) within 24-48 hours.

We continue to work hard to restructure our approaches to instruction so that we can support your children. It has been a challenging exercise but the work has had some joyous moments – found mostly in the reconnection of our staff to our students.

I hope that you, your family, and your friends are staying well.

Sylvia Russell

SD 42 Trades – Application Deadline Extended

SD 42 Trades are still accepting applications!

Deadline has been extended

Visit: http://apprenticeship.sd42.ca

or contact Brenna Michaud at 604-315-0678

How to Access your School Email and Office 365 Accounts

If you need assistance accessing your school email account and Office 365, CLICK HERE for instructions.

Teachers Email Addresses

CLICK HERE for easy access to teachers email addresses

Suspension of all Regular In-Class Instruction

On March 17, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer directed all Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools to immediately suspend all regular in-class instruction until further notice. Please see adjacent March 26, 2020 superintendent letter to families.

The entrance doors of our school will remain locked this week. You can contact office staff at 604-465-7141 between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. You can also reach school administration by email at the following addresses:

Principal name:  cheryl_schwarz@sd42.ca

Vice principals:  denis_drapeau@sd42.cagary_lozinski@sd42.ca

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as our community and school district respond to the COVID-19 pandemic under the direction of the Ministries of Health and Education.


Cheryl Schwarz

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

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 https://www.sd42.ca/faq/.

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 https://letstalksd42.ca/esw-survey.

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 17, 2020: Letter from superintendent Sylvia Russell

Dear families,

This afternoon, the provincial government announced that it would be indefinitely suspending all in-class instruction for BC’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 learners. This means that schools will NOT be opening after spring break for regular daily instruction. This temporary measure is being put in place to help keep students, staff, families and wider community safe as the province responds to the COVID-19 outbreak.

I know you will have many questions about what this announcement will mean for you and your family.

I have attached for you a letter from Minister Fleming, in which you will find additional information about this decision. In the letter, Minister Fleming stresses that every student will receive a final mark, that all students on track to graduate this year will graduate, and that the province is working with post-secondary institutions to ensure the transition for our grade 12 graduates is supported.

The letter also outlines a number of key directives for school districts. School districts are expected to:

  • begin planning for continuity of learning;
  • develop plans to maintain some level of service for children whose parents are performing essential services;
  • address the question of important services like school meal programs and childcare services operating on school grounds.

Our school district has already begun some of this planning work as a part of our Pandemic Response Plan. We will provide you with additional information as soon as these plans are more fully develop and will continue to update you through the parent portal and the school district website at https://www.sd42.ca/coronavirus-district-response/.

For information about COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19.

I know these are challenging and uncertain times, but I am confident we will get through them together. Thank you for your patience as we work through this evolving situation.


Sylvia Russell
Superintendent of Schools

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 https://www.sd42.ca/information-community-coronavirus/. 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 www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories. 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…]