BACK TO SCHOOL

September 2020

On July 22, the Honourable Zach Churchill (Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development) and Dr Robert Strang (Chief Medical Officer of Health) announced the 'Back To School' plan for public schools in Nova Scotia. As an independent school in Nova Scotia, The Booker School is able to develop a plan suited to its unique setting. In early June 2020, we announced our possible scenarios for what a return to school could look like in our documents 'TBS. Reopening Strategies. September 2020'. Based on the announcements today, we believe that we could reopen with Scenario 5 in this document and would like to embellish what that will look like for our community in the following categories:

 

  • Guiding Principles

  • Physical Spaces

  • Scheduling

  • Student Life

  • Staff & Faculty

  • Parents & Families

 

It is understood that should Public Health make announcements due to a change in the epidemiology of the CoronaVirus, The Booker School will adjust to tighter measures such as Scenarios 1-4 of the Reopening Strategies document previously mentioned.

UPDATES August 22 2020

- Students in Grade 4-7 will have to wear masks when keeping 2m physical distancing is not possible. Each of the two classes (G4-5 & G6-7) will have spaces to work mask free in and out of the building.

- The teachers have released introduction videos for families and students to show the new protocols in place in preparation for a return to school. (See the Learning Pages)

Guiding Principles

The principles behind reopening The Booker School align greatly with that shared by Mr Churchill and Dr Strang. We believe that reopening schools will provide emotional, physical, mental and academic support for the children in our province. The Government's principles of Safety, Equity, and Flexibility are real possibilities in our small school community. We believe that The Booker School's class sizes (between 8-12), building structure (multiple entries & bathrooms) and outdoor spaces will allow the 'classroom bubbles' to be an attainable and suitable strategy for a return to school in our Pre-Primary to Grade 7 classes.
 

Core Strategies for Reopening

With the developments since our previous document in early June, we continue to believe that there are some core strategies that must be in place for a reopening of The Booker School’s campus (based on WHO’s Key Messages and Actions for Covid-19 Prevention and Control in Schools March 2020):

1. Sick students, teachers, and other staff should not come to school
2. All members of the community should enforce regular hand washing with water and soap, as well as hand sanitizing solutions (Appendix B).
3. Daily and consistent disinfection and cleaning of the school should be established and maintained.
4. We shall promote physical distancing in ways that can slow down the potential spread of highly contagious disease, including the limiting of large groups.

A Community Approach

Within our small community, it is crucially important that every community member respects the strategies in place and protects one another. Please use the screening tool (Appendix A) every morning before sending your child to school. We know it may be difficult, but if a child or household member is showing symptoms (Appendix D), it is vital that they stay home to avoid further spread. Students may connect with the learning from home at an age-appropriate level. It is through the hard work of the Government and the people of Nova Scotia that we have been able to keep our number of cases down and by working together we can embrace a new normal that will help our children continue to learn and develop as individuals.

Physical Spaces

The Booker School has five classes with a maximum of 8-12 students in each class. With five bathrooms and four entrances, we can limit each Classroom Bubble to give each cohort their own space and minimise exposure. Each bathroom will be regularly cleaned throughout the day by a dedicated member of staff. Common areas, such as door handles will also be regularly sanitized. Sanitizer stations will be frequent around the building and appropriate use of these will be taught to all members of the community.

 

Our students are used to learning outside, so our school is investing in developing some more outdoor learning environments for the students to work in. This has practical uses with minimising the spread of Covid-19 and emotional benefits for those nervous about a return to school. We are pleased to see the 'Back To School' government publication promoting outside classrooms where possible (p12). 

 

The combination of our outside spaces, and the partitioning of our interior spaces allows for our classes to return to school with something resembling what they are used to. Classes will engage with their teachers and duty providers in their own class environments, developing a sense of ownership, structure, and comfort as they return to school after a long period of home-learning and vacation. 

 

Should public health require distancing in classrooms and day-cares, we are prepared with our physical spaces to respect physical distancing.

Scheduling

Drop-off & Pick-up

Drop-off and Pick-up times are staggered to support physical distancing at a busy time of day. 

  • The Grade 1, the Grade 2-3, and the Grade 6-7 classes can be dropped off at school between 8.00am and 8.15am and be picked up between 3.00pm and 3.15pm.

  • The Early Years class and the Grade 4-5 class can be dropped off at school between 8.15am and 8.30am and be picked up between 3.15pm and 3.30pm.

  • Families with siblings in different time slots are encouraged to drop off near to 8.15am and pick up near to 3.15pm.

  • Families must not enter the school building at these busy times and must maintain physical distancing from one another while on school property.

  • Students are to wear non-medical masks as they enter and leave the school property.

Recess & Lunch

Schedules and spaces will be staggered to allow classroom bubbles to maintain physical distancing from one another. All classes will have increased outdoor learning time when possible. Classes will eat in their classroom bubbles either inside or outside at the discretion of the teacher. Students will not be able to share food or use school cutlery or microwaves at this time.

After School Program

As part of tuition, we offer the After School Program for students from 3.15pm until 5.00pm. For our younger students, this is a supervised free-play session and for our older students this may be an opportunity for extra-curricular clubs and project work. We ask for families to only use this when needed at this time and that volunteers will be welcome to support outdoor, physically distanced, supervision. The school and the families will work to ensure students from outside of classroom bubbles maintain physical distancing. With our school population of between 35 and 45, this should minimise risk of spread. While our local area remains reportedly covid-free, the ASP can be maintained but could be subject to change.

Student Life

Each class will continue to access our full curriculum which is built upon an inquiry-based and concept driven program of inquiry. Students will continue to have opportunities to develop their skills across the academic disciplines. Specialist teachers will be utilised to provide opportunities in the arts, physical education, and other disciplines. Classes which are able to will be taken outside. We strive to continue to facilitate learning in a contextual manner, embracing real-world opportunities as learning experiences.

We will continue to use local opportunities when and where available over the school year. This will depend on Public Health guidelines and how private organisations decide to operate. Student and community safety will underpin all of our decisions going forward.

 

As we have been doing since home-learning began in March, families will be able to borrow technology from the school should they require it once more. We will continue to use technology as a tool when it is beneficial for student learning. During this time, technology can be a connection to global resources that are otherwise inaccessible. 

While students will be in their classroom bubbles, the 'Back To School' document stipulates maximum class sizes of 20-24 in the Pre-Primary (p12). There may be occasions where two of our small classes could combine with physical distancing for activities or if there is a teacher absence. Students will bring a non- medical mask to school in case they are ever needed and shall be taught how to appropriately use them. Students will be able to access the normal supplies and learning tools in their classroom bubbles. Greater hygiene practices, explicitly taught by the teachers, will be mandatory to minimise risk. With sanitizer stations and access to hand-washing facilities, each student will be regularly maintaining good hygiene for the benefit of the whole community. Students from Grade 4-7 will have their own devices to use, either supplied by home or from the school and will be taught how to frequently clean these. At the end of each day and each week, more intensive cleaning will take place that will include educational opportunities for the students to take on.

Staff & Faculty

In our community, every member has value, and our staff and faculty are what we need to keep the high level of education continuing throughout the school. The faculty are a point of connection in the school and their health must be supported. Teachers will have non-medical masks for moving through common areas and in faculty meetings. Specialist teachers moving to different classes shall wear masks and maintain physical distancing of 2m from students. If a member of faculty were to develop one of the symptoms of Covid-19, they must wash their hands and don a mask and then we would either send them home or prevent them from coming into school in the first place. Then the following steps would take place:

  • All families in that class would be notified.

  • The classroom would be thoroughly cleaned.

  • A substitute teacher would be called to come in the next day.

  • If a substitute teacher is not available, that class may be combined with another.

  • If the class is too big to combine and a substitute teacher is not available, we shall facilitate home-learning.

  • The member of faculty must contact 811 for further guidance.

 

If a member of staff or faculty falls ill and this impacts the programming of the school, scheduling and structures may need to be altered. Public Health shall be consulted and the school shall follow all directions given.

Parents & Families

  • Families must use the screening tool (Appendix A) before sending their children to school.

  • Families will provide their child with a mask to bring to school for when they are needed.

  • Families must respectfully follow the protocols put into place and contact the Head of School with any questions or concerns.

  • If any member of the family's household tests positive with Covid-19, they must inform the Head of School immediately.

  • Should a student display any of the symptoms in Appendix D, the teacher will don a mask and PPE and separate the student from their peers for an immediate pick-up from the family.

  • If a child is displaying symptoms and having to stay home but is well enough to do school work, the family and the school will collaborate to provide meaningful learning engagements from home.

A Screening Tool for Families (Appendix A/D)

Resource from the NS Covid-19 Guidance for Child Care Settings

Hand-washing Poster (Appendix B)

Resource from the NS Covid-19 Guidance for Child Care Settings

Use of Medical Masks (Appendix C)

Resource from the NS Covid-19 Guidance for Child Care Settings
  • TBS on Facebook
  • TBS on Twitter
  • TBS on Instagram

The Booker School 2020

1341 Belcher Street, Port Williams, Nova Scotia B0P 1T0 Canada

Call Us: +1 902-585-5000

Email Us: admin@bookerschool.com