With our return to in person learning at Ecole Meridian Heights School just over a week away, I know that there are many questions. I am hopeful that this post will answer a few of these questions. If you have questions that remain, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at email@example.com or at the school at 780-963-2289. Working together we can facilitate as smooth of a transition for our students as possible.
This blog post will focus on some of the Physical Distancing measures that will be in place within our school community. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read my previous blog posts on Promoting Healthy Hygiene Practices and Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices, please consider doing so to learn more about our efforts in those areas.
Field Trips – no field trips (in school or out of school) will be booked until further notice. At this time we do not see the benefits of these learning opportunities as outweighing the risks of unnecessary travel on school buses and the challenges of social distancing in other environments. Walking field trips within our community (e.g. Rotary Park) will still be considered on a case by case basis. Parents will be informed of these field trips prior to them taking place.
School Assemblies – given our large student population, and the challenges that would pose for social distancing, we will not be hosting in person school assemblies until further notice. The staff at Ecole Meridian Heights School will be exploring how we might host virtual school celebrations in the upcoming months.
School Visitors – in aligning our practice with the PSD Guidance for School Re-Entry Plan , there will be a very strict protocol around school visitors. We will not be inviting presenters into our school until further notice. Additionally, it is imperative that parents report to the office upon entering the school. Should you need to speak to your child, we will bring your child to you. Parents will not be permitted to move throughout the school. We appreciate your support in this change to our school practice.
Hot Lunch – while we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to offer our hot lunch program this year, we will be revisiting how to best facilitate this in October. We appreciate your patience as we work towards sorting this out.
Microwaves and Lunches – Students will NOT be permitted to share lunches with peers. Additionally, microwaves will not be available to start the school year. We appreciate that this will require changes to lunch preparations for our students and we thank you for supporting us in this regard.
Classroom Set Up – in order to facilitate as much space as is possible within our classrooms, all unnecessary furniture has been removed from every classroom. Extra book shelves, tables, searing and furniture etc. has been removed to provide more space within our classrooms.
Additionally, we have been able to put desks in most classes to replace tables, and have spaced these as far apart as is possible. Desks are arranged in rows with all students facing the same direction.
Communal Spaces within EMHS – seating in the front foyer and hallways has been removed (with the exception of two seats in the front entry for parents registering at the office). Additionally, seating throughout the school in the circle and in the basement has been removed at this time. Minimal seating (approx 4 seats) remain in the jr. high “gathering area”.
Altered Routines within the School Day – We will be making significant efforts to reduce the traffic volume within our school hallways throughout the school day. Students will NOT be moving from classroom to classroom. In the past, students would go the music room or students in grades 5-9 may move to a different teacher for FSL or ART, or perhaps Math or Science etc. Teachers will be moving between classrooms as opposed to students.
Upon Arrival At School in the morning– specific processes for student pickup and drop off, as well as for the before school recess, a.m. recess and lunch recess will be coming very soon. Thank you for your patience.
Note: a reminder that school doors will not be open prior to 8:15 a.m. and supervision will not be available prior to that time as outlined in emails last May and June). We are happy to be able to offer Out of School Care for those families who wish to access it. You can learn more on on our school website.
Traffic Flow within the school – students will notice directional arrows in the circle of our school and in some hallways. In addition, each class or grade level will have a specific, labeled exit and entrance to the school, including using the emergency exit doors within classrooms and portables to reduce the number of students entering in any one place. More information and pictures will be coming soon.
Signage supporting Physical Distancing – students and parents will notice markers within the front foyer to support Physical Distancing. Additionally, signage will be placed at each bathroom indicating capacity.
While there are many more strategies in place to support Physical Distancing, including our procedures for student drop off and pickup and recesses (information coming soon on these), I am hopeful that this gives you just a bit of information about our plans for the return of our students to in person learning.
Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming days 🙂
Mr. S. Patras