August 28, 2020
Ecole Qayqayt’s Restart
I hope that you are well, staying safe, and taking time to enjoy the summer. By now you will have received a letter from the Superintendent outlining the options available to you as you make decisions about the upcoming school year. We know that each of you will make the right choice based on your family circumstances and encourage you to visit our dedicated school district Stage 2 Restart webpage.
As we have stated throughout this process, we’re proud of the new programs that have been created and expanded to give our District’s families more options in this challenging year. We have also been clear with the limitations we’ve faced, including the fact that we do not have the capacity to offer online learning in separate streams to also align with programs of choice. In stating our limitations, we have also made sure that parents and students know that we can not guarantee a spot in the program of choice to families who opt to pursue one of the new alternatives.
It is our goal to help families who may choose to leave our schools this year – for whatever reason – opportunities to return when they feel it is safe to do so.
But we also need to consider the impact on learning that a full year away from an immersion-type program may result in – both for the individual student and for the class they’re requesting a return to.
We want you to know that we are pulling together a team of immersion specialists to consider creating a process that might, on a case-by-case basis, enable students to return to the program in September of 2021.
Again, we can not guarantee any return into a program of choice. But we want you to know that, where possible and appropriate, we are looking for ways to help all of our families return to our schools when they’re ready, and when we have capacity to do so.
Just a reminder that if you, or your child, is immunocompromised to the extent that your child will require accommodations due to health related risks, we ask that you contact me by Monday August 31 at 4 pm to discuss your needs. Please note that these requests must be supported by a medical note.
We are looking forward to welcoming students back to École Qayqayt Elementary on September 10th. We have been working hard to ensure that the health and safety of our students and staff remains our first priority. I would like to provide you with further information about what you can expect when your child returns to school.
By now, you will have undoubtedly heard about the organization of students into Learning Groups. This has been recommended by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to reduce the number of close, in-person interactions. This will reduce the number of people each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission of COVID 19 and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities.
The PHO has established a maximum Learning Group size of 60 for elementary schools, however; Learning Groups in our school are organized in groups of approximately 30. This will mean that each classroom will form a Learning Group and within these groups, physical contact must be minimized. Aside from Learning Groups, there are a number of additional changes that you will want to discuss with your child. These include:
- Increased hand washing protocols
- Changes in classroom layout to increase spacing between students
- Removal of hard to clean objects
- Reduction of shared materials
- More individual and smaller group activities
- Breaks taken at staggered times rather than a common recess and lunch
- A 5 minute staggered start and end times for some classes with designated entry and exit doors for all classes
- More outdoor time
- Adults outside of a learning cohort will be maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask (E.g. Learning Resource Teacher, Librarian, Counselor)
- Please note that masks are not required for elementary school students however; wearing a non-medical mask will be a personal choice for students and staff
- Masks are required for staff when they are in high traffic areas such as hallways as well as when they are outside of their learning group
There are a number of protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. These include additional cleaning and disinfecting, physical barriers, hand washing stations and sanitizer available throughout the school including in portables, and increased signs and other visual cues. Most importantly, we ask for your utmost cooperation in ensuring that your child remains home if they show any symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID 19 and other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school. To that end, we ask that you perform a daily wellness check with your child using a checklist that will be made available to you. You will be asked to confirm your understanding of this responsibility when you complete the on-line consent forms for this school year.
While our bell schedule has generally remained the same, you will see that we will be staggering recess and lunch to reduce student density in outdoor play spaces.
The Ministry has provided time on September 10th and 11th for student orientation to adjust to new routines and review health and safety protocols. On September 10th students will attend school for one hour in the morning at designated times (9:00-10:00 or 9:30-10:30). On September 11th all students will attend from 8:50 – 12:24.
As we move forward, communication will remain important. To that end, I will be in touch with you by September 8th to provide further information about your child’s class placement, protocols for school arrival and more details regarding the first two days of school. A special welcome to our families whose children are beginning kindergarten this year! I will reach out to you by Tuesday, September 1st, 2020, with our kindergarten gradual entry schedule.
While classrooms may look a little different, I want to assure you that we are working hard to plan for a positive learning experience for your child and look forward to the year ahead. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me should you wish to connect.