View From SD73: Reflecting on the school year thus far

While it has been a tumultuous year, our students have remained in class and learning. We have seen many successes and learning has looked similar as in the past, with some exceptions.

As we enter the final stretch of the school year, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on the year so far.

While it has been a tumultuous year, our students have remained in class and learning. We have seen many successes and learning has looked similar as in the past, with some exceptions.

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Students and staff have adapted through the year to new routines — and a lot of hand-washing.

Masks are now the norm and, while recent changes to the mask mandates have students wearing them throughout the day in grades 4 to 12, they are adapting and happy to remain in class.

I encourage families to talk with their students about the importance of wearing their masks, washing their hands and adhering to the physical distancing requirements whenever possible.

If we all work together, we can see through to the end of the year and successful completion of the 2020-2021 school year.

We’re now firmly in the grips of spring, with new life popping up everywhere, from our gardens to the farmers’ fields, but unfortunately, we are not seeing the relief from COVID-19 we had hoped we would by now.

Vaccine programs are ramping up, but so are case counts. I urge families to consider the impacts their activities may have on others, and on the school system, if they do not adhere to the health guidelines.

On a lighter topic, secondary students will soon be entering their final quarter classes.

It is hard to believe we are three-quarters of the way through the year and we will shortly be preparing for graduations and summer break.

I hope students and staff all had a restful March break and Easter long weekend with their families.

The final quarter of the year will bring many exciting events to SD73.

One of these is the Day of Sucwentwecw (Acknowledging One Another), an annual initiative held on April 7 each year to recognize and celebrate the Secwépemc people (Secwepemcul’ecw) and other Aboriginal people residing within the Secwépemc territory.

The theme for 2021 is “Learning together: In memory, history and story, using Aboriginal perspectives.”

Students across the district will be taking part and many families will have the opportunity to view activities digitally.

At the district office, the board of education is considering our budget for the 2021-2022 school year.

The budget process is incredibly detailed and countless hours of work go into ensuring student needs are met, while still operating buildings and buses efficiently.

Finance staff and senior administration have been working diligently to prepare a draft budget for public input this Thursday at 7 p.m.

The presentation will be live streamed on our Facebook page and input will be received by the board prior to final revisions and adoption at our April 26 public board meeting.

This will mark the final budget presentation by secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch, who will be retiring later this year.

The board will miss Kelvin’s leadership, but wish him the best in his retirement.

Rhonda Kershaw is chair of the School District 73 board of education. SD73 columns appear monthly in KTW and online at kamloopsthisweek.com. Kershaw can be reached by email at rkershaw@sd73.bc.ca. To comment on this column, email editor@ kamloopsthisweek.com.

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