The Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District has been selected by the Province of B.C. to lead a new initiative aimed at supporting K-12 schools amid COVID-19.
School District 68 has been chosen as one of six regional school districts across the Province — one for each health region — to facilitate a COVID-19 rapid response team.
The Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District rapid response team will be made up of representatives from both school and public staff and will assist facilities on Vancouver Island with safety plans and exposure assessments.
“Rapid response teams are a critically important addition to the health and safety measures that are keeping schools safe for students and staff,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “As the pandemic evolves, these teams will help us respond quickly and adapt, where necessary, to ensure best practices are being consistently applied throughout the education sector.”
The rapid response team based in SD68 will work with schools, districts and health authority staff to review significant school exposure events, make recommendations and support schools to enhance their safety plans when needed, according to the government.
The team will also support schools with the implementation of safety plans as well as assist with communications to students, staff and families.
The government said $900,000 in federal funding has been invested in order to help develop the rapid response team initiative.
.@sd68bc chosen as one of six regional COVID rapid response teams to support students & staff. The teams are an important addition to the health and safety measures keeping schools safe for students and staff. #BCED #COVIDBC https://t.co/9r2be5xfSu
— School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) (@sd68bc) March 2, 2021
Other school districts that are also taking the lead include Surrey for the Fraser Health region, Central Okanagan for the Interior Health region, Peace River North for the Northern Health region and Vancouver for the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
A separate rapid response team will be in charge of supporting independent schools, including hiring or redeploying health and safety staff.
The government says that $288 million in one-time provincial and federal funding has been allocated to schools and districts, including $3.5 million to manage COVID-19 exposures in schools.