Dear Vanier students and families:
Many of you have heard by now the Minister of Education’s update on the return to school that was provided last week.
If you haven’t, the bottom line is: In Whitehorse, Grades Kindergarten through 9 students will return to school for full days, every day and Grades 10 through 12 students will attend half days, every day and continue to learn from home during the other half of the day.
These changes will allow us to maximize physical distancing and minimize the “mixing” of students within the school as these are the best practices with regard to public health and safety.
This will look and feel very different from what we are used to and we appreciate all our students’ and families’ understanding and flexibility as we implement these changes.
There are many details to work out to make this plan work. I’d like to share some of the broad aspects of what the return to school next month will look like that we know at the moment. More specific details will be shared in the coming weeks.
Overall health and safety principles:
- Maintaining 2m physical distancing where possible.
- Limit mixing of students/teachers as much as possible.
- Reduce number of transitions and hallway interactions as much as possible.
- Engage in hand hygiene and disinfecting routines as much as possible.
- Will be required to maintain 2m separation from other students as much as possible (although this distance can be reduced if they are not face-to-face)
- Will only engage in group activities (in and out of class) if physical distancing can be maintained.
- Will be encouraged to spend the least amount of time in the building as necessary.
- Will have access to a supervised off-site “study hall” when they are not in class if they cannot return home or learn effectively at their homes.
- Will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entry to the school and entry and exit of any classroom.
- Will be required to engage in some sanitization activities (e.g. wiping down desks, technology, etc.) within classrooms.
- Will not be able to attend school if exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
- Will be encouraged to have access to a digital device to engage in blended learning.
- Will be able to purchase food from our cafeteria, but may need to eat in another location.
The school will be split into two groups: Junior School (Grade 8 & 9) and Senior School (Grades 10 through 12).
- Our traditional Monday – Friday, 5 period per day schedule will continue as normal.
- Students will remain in their core class groupings for all subjects (except options).
- Each core class will be assigned to one single classroom where students will be instructed for all classes except PE and Options.
- Desks will be arranged in a manner to minimize face-to-face orientation of students, as this may allow them to sit closer than 2m.
- Teachers will move to each classroom to instruct each group to which they are assigned to teach, except for PE and Options.
- An additional focus on developing self-directed learning skills will be emphasized as they are a vital component of 21st century learning and the redesigned curricula.
- Students will be split into two “shifts”.
- Each student will be enrolled in four classes each semester.
- In semester 1, Shift 1 will attend in the mornings and Shift 2 in the afternoons.
- In semester 2, Shift 2 will attend in the mornings and Shift 1 in the afternoons.
- Each day, teachers will repeat their classroom instruction for each shift.
- Classroom instruction will be in approximately 70 minute blocks with a long lunch to allow for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.
- This schedule will not align with the Junior School schedule
- Students will move from classroom to classroom; teachers will remain in place.
- Days will alternate so that two classes are taught on the first day, and the other two classes are taught on the second:
Shift 1, Block 1/2 Class
Shift 1, Block 3/4 Class
Shift 1, Block 5/6 Class
Shift 1, Block 7/8 Class
Shift 2, Block 1/2 Class
Shift 2, Block 3/4 Class
Shift 2, Block 5/6 Class
Shift 2, Block 7/8 Class
- Days will “float” rather than be on a Monday-Friday schedule. ie. if Day 1 is scheduled for a statutory holiday or PD day, it would move to the next available school day.
- Teachers will use a blended learning model facilitated using Microsoft Teams to facilitate additional learning time when students are not in classrooms.
- A supervised off-site “study hall” will be available for students if they cannot return home or learn effectively at their homes. It will have digital devices for students to access.
- Splitting the school into a Junior and Senior school requires building a completely new timetable.
- Once built, we will use students’ course selection information to build individual timetables – we hope to mail these home no later than August 7.
- The “shift” grade 10-12 students have been assigned to will also be shared at that time.
- Timetable changes with a counsellor or administrator will be possible starting August 17 after 1 pm.
- Further specifics regarding the “broad strokes” listed above along with other developments will be shared as soon as they have been confirmed.
In the meantime, please feel free to reply to this email with any of your questions or concerns or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, at this time, do not send questions about a student’s timetable or “shift” as these have not yet been determined.
Ryan Sikkes, principal