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What will happen if too many Burnaby teachers get sick with Omicron?

School district outlines plan to deal with functional closures at local schools

The Burnaby school district has announced a plan for what it will do at local schools where too many staff are off sick with Omicron.

“There is a possibility that, at some point, schools will have so many staff absent due to illness that there will not be enough to provide instruction and appropriate supervision,” states a notice posted on the district’s website Friday. “If that happens, after consultation with the district, a school may have what’s called a functional closure where, following a day of necessary arrangements, students would learn remotely for a period of time.”

Because schools may not know if they have enough staff until the morning before the school day begins, the district is urging families to check email messages coming from their kids’ schools.

Once school starts up again this month, daily staff attendance reports will be assessed by school officials to identify schools with unusually high staff absences, according to Friday’s notice, and the district will work with those schools to determine the impact of the absences.

“If the district is unable to fill the positions of staff who are absent, a functional closure of the school may be declared,” states the notice.

The school principal will notify parents via email, and a notification about the closure will also be posted on the school’s website.

The day after the functional closure is declared will be a transition day to allow learning to be moved online.

For the duration of the closure, students will then learn remotely.

The school principal will communicate with families about the anticipated date of return to in-class instruction.

The district said the steps outlined in the notice are “fluid” and “may vary due to evolving circumstances.”

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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