May 26, 2020: Letter to families from the superintendent (secondary)

May 26, 2020 8:13 AM

Dear families,

We 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 part-time in-school instruction. I am writing today to provide you with key details about the changes we have implemented.

Please note that due to the limited hours of in-school instruction, we will unfortunately not be able to provide student transportation at the secondary level.

From June 1 until the end of the school year on June 24, our secondary school teachers and instructional support staff will continue to support students/families with remote learning. At the same time, we will be providing secondary students with the option of a voluntary return to in-school instruction the equivalent of one day per week. The attached Ministry of Education document, K – 12 Education Restart Plan, will provide you with additional information.

The final month of the school year is especially important for our secondary school students. Although staff will be contacting students who need support completing assignments and other requirements for their classes, I encourage you to connect with your child’s teacher(s), counsellor, or school principal/vice principal if your child needs assistance.

If you have selected the part-time in-school option for your child, by the end of this week the principal of your child’s school will provide you with school-specific details about school operations during the month of June. This will include information about the time that educational programming will be available, instructions on where your child will enter and exit the building, information about how physical distancing will be maintained, expectations with respect to hand washing, and guidance on how you can contact school staff during this time when school entry is limited to students and staff. You will find additional information about in-school instruction below.

Students not participating in part-time in-school instruction will continue their learning remotely. School staff will undertake instructional planning for both in-school learner groups and for students who have opted to continue with remote learning, with the goal of ensuring to the best extent possible that the material covered is consistent across both student groups. Since in-school instruction will be limited to two half-day morning sessions, remote/virtual learning opportunities will continue to be provided to all students.

Educational programming for students with disabilities/diverse abilities and for students who require additional supports will continue and may be available in school five days per week in consultation with school administration. Enrolling teachers, school-based support teachers and administration will continue to support these students as needed, working with Learning Services staff and families.

I wish you and your child a positive and successful end to the school year,

Sylvia Russell,
Superintendent of Schools


Additional Information Related to In-School Instruction

Students who have selected the option to participate in in-school instruction will attend in-school programming in two half-day sessions per week.

Students will be organized alphabetically in multi-grade groups. Staff will be available at school sites for the designated instructional times that students are in the building.

In the first week, secondary school principals will be starting with a schedule of two half-day sessions per week in the morning (8:30 am to 11:10 am). Principals will communicate with parents and students about the days of the week when students will attend.

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 and 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.
  • Encourage your adolescent children to physically distance themselves when outside of the family unit or household.
  • Please remind your children to avoid physical contact with their friends (no wrestling, no hugs, no touching). This is a time for verbal expression rather than physical closeness.
  • Students are encouraged to bring a snack and water with them to school.
  • Students will not share their personal items or food.
  • There will be increased spacing between students in school and groups will be smaller than usual.
  • In-school supports will be a combination of tutorials organized in large learning spaces with physical distancing and individual or small group instruction in classrooms with physical distancing.
  • There will be no physical contact sports.
  • We will not be holding assemblies or other large gatherings.
  • Schools will be cleaned once a day, with high touch areas being cleaned an additional time during the day.
  • Classroom furniture that is difficult to sanitize will be moved aside for this period of time and will not be available for use.

All of the measures I have outlined in this document are in alignment with provincial direction set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings document and the K-12 Education Restart Plan. I encourage you to review these documents before your child returns to school.


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Our mission
Our mission is to support all individuals in their development as successful learners, and as respectful, caring and responsible members of society.