We are heartened by the improved circumstances in our province and sincerely look forward to welcoming students back into our schools starting June 1. As we reopen, however, the organization of our schools will look different than it did before COVID-19. Our focus over the next few weeks will be on continuing to ensure that all appropriate health and safety measures are in place to protect our students and staff as they return to some in-classroom instruction. I am writing today to provide you with some details about the changes we have implemented.
Please note that due to expected low demand for transportation services, we may only be able to offer limited transportation services with extended ride times to registered eligible riders only. Private vehicle use is encouraged where possible in order to decrease the number of students on buses.
From June 1 through to June 24 (July 21 for Kanaka Creek), our elementary school teachers and instructional support staff will continue to support students/families with remote learning. At the same time, we will also be offering families the option of part-time in-classroom instruction.
In order to make both of these options available to our students and families, we must change the usual routines to allow our teaching and support staff to support both students who come to school on a part-time basis and those who choose to continue their studies remotely.
As we transition to Stage 3 of the K-12 Education Restart Plan on June 1, classroom teachers will continue to provide supports and learning resources/opportunities to those students who are continuing with remote learning. The same planning and learning resources will guide the learning experiences of the students we will see for part-time in-classroom instruction. As parents/guardians, you have been asked to choose the option that is most appropriate for your circumstances.
If you choose to continue with remote/at-home learning, please note that your child’s teacher will have less availability on days they have in-classroom responsibilities.
On the pages that follow, I have provided more detailed information about class composition and other key considerations for families whose children will be participating in part-time in-classroom instruction. Additionally, I have attached for your information the Ministry of Education K-12 Education Restart Plan document.
In-school learning will look different as we return and I know it will take all of us some time to adjust to this new reality. That said, we will work to ensure we make the experience as positive and engaging as possible for our students.
Part-Time In-Classroom Instruction
Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 who participate in in-classroom instruction will return to their classrooms with their teachers. Students in Grades K – 5 who participate in in-classroom instruction will be in classes that have no more than 50% of normal class size and will receive two days of instruction. Students in Grades 6 -7 who participate in in-classroom instruction will be in classes that are no more than 50% of normal class size and will receive one day of instruction.
Kindergarten class sizes will not exceed 10 students; primary grade class sizes will not exceed 11 students; and intermediate grade class sizes will not exceed 14 students.
School principals will work with staff to reach out to families who did not respond to the district survey to confirm the family choice regarding continuing with remote learning or participating in part-time in-classroom instruction. If you haven’t completed the district survey, please do before the survey closes at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 26. A link to the survey is here: https://letstalksd42.ca/voluntary-return-to-school-survey.
You will receive details from your child’s school about the health and safety measures the school has implemented. These details will cover physical distancing measures, line-up for entry into school, pick-up and drop-off procedures, and recommendations on how families can connect with school staff during this time when entry to the schools will be restricted to students and staff.
In-Classroom Instruction Schedule: Kindergarten to Grade 5 (Including Grade 5/6 combined classes)
Student groups for 2 days of in-class instruction will be set up by classroom teachers and the school principals. Families who have selected in-classroom instruction will be informed of the schedule. Where possible, principals will work with classroom teachers to ensure that siblings attend in-class instruction on the same days.
The weekly in-classroom schedule for children in kindergarten to Grade 5 will be as follows:
Monday – Students do not attend. Monday will be a designated day for lesson planning and for supporting students who are continuing with remote instruction.
Tuesday and Thursday (Group 1) – Direct in-class instruction provided by classroom teacher for Group 1. Grade 6 students in 5/6 combined classes will continue with 80% remote learning and attend one day of in-class instruction on Tuesday.
Wednesday and Friday (Group 2) – Direct in-class instruction provided by classroom teacher for Group 2 (if enrolment dictates). On Friday, June 5 and each Friday until June 19th (July 17 for Kanaka Creek), families who selected continued remote learning for their children may advise the school principal that their children will begin participating in in-class instruction. Please note: to permit this fluidity, groups may need to be re-organized weekly and days of in-class instruction may need to be adjusted.
In-Classroom Instruction Schedule: Grade 6 to Grade 7
The Ministry of Education requires that grade 6 and 7 students have the option to receive one day of direct in-class instruction per week while continuing with 80% remote learning for the month of June. The weekly in-classroom schedule for children in Grade 6, Grade 6/7 and Grade 7 will be as follows:
Monday – Grade 6, Grade 6/7 and Grade 7 students attend in-class instruction provided by the classroom teacher. If enrolment in in-class instruction exceeds 14, a second day of in-class instruction provided by the classroom teacher may be added.
On Friday, June 5 and each Friday until June 19th (July 17 for Kanaka Creek), families who selected continued remote learning for their children may advise the school principal that their children will begin participating in in-class instruction. Please note: to permit this fluidity, groups may need to be re-organized weekly and days of in-class instruction may need to be adjusted.
In-Classroom Instruction Schedule Available 5 Days per Week: Children of Essential Service Workers, Students with Disabilities/Diverse Abilities, and Students Requiring Additional Supports
Our teacher librarians, prep time teachers, school administrators and other non-enrolling teaching staff and instructional support staff will work with the children of Essential Services Workers, students with disabilities/diverse abilities, and students who require additional supports when these children are not receiving in-class instruction from their classroom teacher.
It is important to note that many of our non-enrolling teaching staff and instructional support staff may need to change their focus from supporting remote learning to supporting students who are attending school.
Health and Safety Measures to Support the Return to In-Class Instruction
Below is a list of the health and safety measures in place to support the return to in-class instruction, including suggestions on how you can support us in making the return to part-time in-classroom instruction as positive an experience as possible:
- Please closely monitor your child(ren) daily for symptoms; do not send them to school if they are sick.
- Only staff and students will be permitted to enter the school. Parents requiring assistance should phone or email the school office, classroom teacher or principal.
- Students and staff will be required to wash their hands frequently (or use the hand sanitizer provided), including immediately after entering the school.
- Please remind your children to avoid physical contact with their friends (no rough and tumble play, no touching and no hugs). This is a time for verbal expression rather than physical closeness as much as possible.
- Students will not share their personal items or food.
- Schools will be cleaned once a day, with high touch areas being cleaned an additional time during the day.
- There will be increased spacing between students in classrooms, and groups will be smaller than usual.
- We encourage teachers to participate as much as possible in outdoor education.
- There will be no physical contact sports.
- Classroom soft toys and furniture have been set aside along with area rugs and other items that are difficult to sanitize.
- We will not be holding assemblies or other large gatherings.
All of the measures I have outlined in this document are in alignment with provincial direction. You can find additional information on the recommended measures in the attached document, COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings. I encourage you to review this document and the key/relevant guidelines with your child(ren).