There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the new school year that begins in this province next week, but the Sun West School Division and schools under their banner have been working hard to come up with solutions that will hopefully ensure a safe and positive academic year ahead.
On the government side of things, the Ministry of Education has set out four levels in their Safe Schools Plan, which includes the following points:
Level 1: Return to school as close to normal as possible, with additional health measures and precautions.
Level 2: Return to school with mask usage for students and staff, as per the guidance provided to school divisions by Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer on August 11.
Level 3: School capacity will be reduced. This may include establishing cohorts and hybrid learning models as considerations.
Level 4: Implementing learning continuity plans, which means transitioning to mandatory remote learning.
Schools submitted their specific re-entry plans to the division last week ahead of the new year, and Sun West made them readily available to parents and the public.
What follows are highlights and informational points taken from the re-entry plans submitted by Outlook’s two public schools.
Outlook Elementary School
The school reminds parents that their plan contains information as to how OES will start the school year, and that plans will continue to evolve as required by emerging health risk assessments.
If a student develops symptoms at school or upon arrival at school, the student will be isolated and a temperature check will be taken. If the student has a temperature the parent or guardian will be notified to pick up the student immediately.
An isolation room has been created in each school with appropriate signage for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms who is not able to immediately leave the school. Our room is located in the library near the front door/office area. The Division has provided an isolation kit including thermometers, non-surgical disposable masks, and disposable gloves. Isolation Room procedures will be posted in this room, including:
•Student or staff temperature will be taken (using a non-contact thermometer).
•After leaving the school, families are required to complete the online COVID-19self-assessment tool. The tool advises if testing is required and allows users to book an appointment immediately.
If the isolation room is not available, the student needs to be kept at least two metres away from other students and staff. If the student requires close contact and care, staff must wear a procedural/surgical mask and eye protection during all interactions with the sick child, and should try to avoid contact with the student’s respiratory secretions.
ALL OES students are to be dropped off outside of the school. Parents are not to enter the school.
Pre- K, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2:
• All students in Pre-K will attend on regular school calendar days designated for Pre-K
• All Kindergarten students will be placed in 1 of 4 Kindergarten classrooms and will attend every other day.
• Grade 1 will be placed in one of 4 Grade 1 classrooms and will attend every day.
• Grade 2 will be placed in 1 of 3 Grade 2 classrooms and will attend every day
PLEASE NOTE: There may be changes to class lists for Kindergarten and Grade 1. Parents will be notified of which class your child is placed in and which days your child will attend. Supply lists will not be affected.
Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5:
• To ensure as much physical distancing as possible in classrooms, students with a last name that begins with the letters A through L will attend school on days 2, 4 and 6 of the school calendar.
• Students with a last name that begins with the letters M through Z will attend school on days 1, 3, and 5 of the school calendar. If you are a parent of children that have different last names, please contact Outlook Elementary School and we will do our best to accommodate your situation.
Please note that Tuesday, September 8th is day 4 on the calendar so all students with last names that start with A through L will attend school. Students with last names beginning with M through Z will start on Wednesday, September 9th. If a family has children with different last names, please contact the school to determine their attendance day, as we want to keep families together.
Outlook High School
Outlook High School will begin the school year at Level 3 (in relation to the province’s four-level Safe Schools Plan reference above). Based on the key safety principles provided to us by the Ministries of Education and Health and with consideration of the feedback that we received from our OHS families and staff, we felt that starting at Level 3 addressed the concern over class size and the inability to properly physically distance. We are hoping that we will only need to be at this level for a short period of time before moving to a lower level. The transition to a lower level will depend on all the factors set out by the Ministries of Health and Education as well as how are students are adjusting, both academically and socially, to the new school year.
All staff must self-monitor daily for symptoms and use the online Saskatchewan COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.
Education will be provided to staff (prior to school start) and students (first day back) specific to infection reduction, personal hygiene practices, cleaning and sanitizing processes.
To ensure as much physical distancing as possible in classrooms, students with a last name that begins with the letter A through L will attend school on days 2, 4, and 6 of the school calendar.
Students with a last name that begins with the letter M through Z will attend school on days 1, 3, and 5 of the school calendar.
Please note that Tuesday, September 8th is day 4 on the calendar so all students with last names that start with A through L will attend school. Students with last names beginning with M through Z will start on Wednesday, September 9th.
If you are a parent of children that have different last names, please contact Outlook High School and we will do our best to accommodate your situation. In all likelihood, children would attend school on the day in which the fewest number of students would be in the classroom.
Students in Grades 6 through 9 will be assigned to a classroom. Students will stay in the classroom for their classes with the teachers moving to the students with the exception of Band and Practical and Applied Arts (PAA). Students will remain with their cohort, again the exceptions to this will be for Band and PAA. The teacher assigned to the class for the morning will teach material from the courses in which the teacher is scheduled to teach for that grade. The same expectation exists for the afternoon.
Students in Grades 10 through 12 will be operating with a modified timetable that will limit student contact to a maximum of two cohorts per day (versus 5 or more). The first period listed will be the class they will attend for the morning and the second class listed will be the class they attend for the afternoon. This schedule will be repeated for a second block of ten days from September 22 until October 6. The successes and challenges of this schedule will be evaluated and a decision will be made by September 30 as to the plan for classes at Outlook High School after October 6. This decision will be communicated to OHS families.
All staff and students will be required to wear masks in high traffic areas and where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Water fountains will not be available. We have three bottle filling stations that students and staff will be able to use. Students should bring their reusable water bottles daily.
There will be designated doors for entering and leaving the school. Specific details will be provided for each grade prior to September 8th.
Students and staff are to walk on the right side of the hallway, maintaining an appropriate distance from others that may also be in the hallway. If physical distancing cannot be maintained, masks will be required.
Lockers will not be assigned at the beginning of the school year.
Students that eat lunch at OHS will do so in the same classroom in which they had their morning class. The only exception to this rule will be for students whose class was located in the Trades Centre. Those students will be assigned a room on the first day of school.
Students that can go home for lunch are encouraged to do so.
Seating plans will be developed for all classes so that contact tracing can be done in the event that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.
Counselors will consult with classroom teachers about student needs and teach or co-teach social-emotional learning strategies and executive skills to help students adjust to the changes in their environment.
Classes should be proactive and address all students’ needs through trauma-informed practice including providing inclusive and compassionate learning environments, understanding coping strategies, supporting independence, and helping to minimize additional stress or trauma.
Physical Education will be encouraged to be outdoors as much as weather permits. The focus will be on skill development versus team sports.
Procedures will be developed for the use of change rooms.
Plans for extra-curricular activities and other gatherings will be developed based on the guidelines set out in Re-Open Saskatchewan and in consultation with the Chief Medical Health Officer once the group/gathering capacity limits for fall 2020 are known.
Community access of facilities has been postponed until further notice.
As these are just two specific school re-entry plans, this newspaper encourages readers and parents to learn more about the plans that have been created by schools all under the Sun West School Division. The plans that are available in PDF format can be accessed by going to the following web link at www.sunwestsd.ca/schools/school-re-entry-plans and clicking on the school that is specific to your household.
CUTLINE: The class schedule being adopted by Outlook High School for the time being.