A Special Superintendent’s Update: Health and Wellbeing

Posted On Thursday November 17, 2022

Dear Parents and Caregivers:

Because Wellbeing is a core commitment in our 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, with the start of influenza season, it is timely to share important information to foster physical well-being of students and staff.

Increased Absenteeism

Increases in absenteeism is expected at this time of year during flu season. Since Nov 1, 2022, the K-12 absenteeism rate is approximately 5% higher than last year at this time.

Collective Attention on Prevention

Everyone is hearing about surges in children’s illnesses and hospitalizations in Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba as a result of the “triple threat” (COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus [RSV]). Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, emphasized that we are not in the same position provincially due to higher rates of immunization. Dr. Fenton, Interior Health Officer, confirmed that in SD73, it is timely to invest in a proactive strategy of sharing preventive health strategies to support staff during this elevated trend of illness and absenteeism.

Provincial Health Guidance

In our district, we will continue to monitor absenteeism rates for students and staff and share Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry’s key messages:

  • Get all recommended vaccines including influenza and COVID-19 boosters; getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent serious illness
  • Do daily health checks
  • Stay home when sick
  • Engage in regular hand washing and hand sanitizing
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose.

We will also highlight Interior Health Public Medical Health Officer, Dr. Carol Fenton’s key messages:

  • What: respiratory season is here, but it is just the beginning.
  • So what: we need to prevent as many infections as we can.
  • Now what: Get up to date with COVID and influenza vaccinations. Stay home when you’re sick. Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control remains an excellent source of information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases such as the flu in our communities. We encourage you to visit their website to gather more information on actionable steps you can take in your professional and personal lives to keep you and your loved ones safer.

We will continue to receive updates on how we are doing with absenteeism and preventative measures in Friday updates. Thank you for staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and keeping up with booster shots, and not being afraid to wear a mask.

Stay well and know that we will continue to improve together with “collective attention on prevention.”

Rhonda Nixon, PhD


Contact Us