Preparing for the reopening of school Information
Dear ESDH families,
A part of our preparation for the reopening of school, we have put together some information to share with families.
Monitoring Your Child’s Health
Our shared health is our shared responsibility. We need families to monitor the health of their child(ren) each day before they come to school using the COVID-19 Daily Checklist. A link to the checklist is https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Daily-COVID-checklist-en.pdf or you can access it on our website at: https://esd.hrce.ca within the banner slides at the top of main page. Please keep your child at home when they are ill, even if their symptoms are mild, and contact 811. We will be removing attendance-based awards or incentives this school year because we do not want students coming to school when they are sick. By monitoring daily, you are doing your part to protect our shared health.
Frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizer are public health measures we can all practice both at home and school. We will be emphasizing the importance of hand hygiene, throughout the day specifically when entering school and classrooms and before and after eating. Hand sanitizing stations have been installed at entrances and in hallways, and there will be hand sanitizer in classrooms.
We will also be working with children on the importance that “no sharing is caring” in a pandemic. Our teachers will be using age-appropriate language to educate students on why they are not able to share food, personal belongings or their individual school supplies.
Arrival and Dismissal
When your student arrives at ESDH, their busses will arrive at their scheduled times but students will be asked to remain in their seats until the bus driver grants them permission to exit the bus. Busses will be unloaded one bus at a time in order to assist with maintaining social distancing. Please remind your student to be mindful of the six feet of space that should be between them and their fellow students when entering the building. Busses will unload at either the soccer side entrance or the main entrance to allow for a staggered entry into the schools.
As the students enter the building, they will be asked to sanitize their hands and to have their face mask on. They will be directed to follow the directional arrows and make their way to their first period class. Students (at GNSPES email) and parents will be receiving an email regarding what room they are to go to on the first day. These emails will have been sent by September 6. If you did NOT receive an email, students are to go to the gym where teachers will be readily available to help students know where they are to go. Teachers will be available throughout the morning to help students find their way to their first class.
For dismissal, we will be calling down a few busses at a time to stagger the exits from the building. Students are to remain in their afternoon classes until their bus number is called. Students are reminded to socially distance. If you have any questions about bus numbers, please consult the MyBusPlanner through the parent portal from the HRCE Transportation site. Here is the link: https://hrcetransportation.mybusplanner.ca/
Bus Loop and Student Drop off/pick up
There is a dedicated driveway to buses only. Please ensure to use the FIRST driveway on your left as the second is for buses only. When entering the first driveway, parents/guardians dropping off/picking up students would go straight to the drop off zone turn-about.
We do have two accessible parking spaces. We do have a few families in need of these spots to support students with mobility challenges. Thank you for your cooperation in reserving these spots for these students and their families.
The bus loop is closed to buses only between 8:30-3:45. With more students outside getting fresh air throughout the day with rolling breaks, it is imperative that vehicles remain in the drop-off/pick-up or parking areas. Thank you for your understanding.
Students will be attending two classes per day. Each class will be the equivalent of two classes spread over two days. Students will be rotating their schedule every second day and Friday will run on a rotating schedule. For example, if a student had English and Math on a Monday, they would not have it again until Wednesday. Likewise, if the same student had Science 10 and Phys. Ed on Tuesday, they would then have it again on Thursday. Fridays will rotate every week so that on the first week, Friday would be running on Monday’s schedule, the next week, Friday would be running on Tuesday’s schedule, etc. We understand that these classes are long, but we will be providing opportunity for the students to have staggered 10 minute breaks allowing for the students to go to the washrooms without there being crowds in the hallways and also will give them a chance to go outside to remove their masks. Having only two classes per day will allow for the students to organize themselves in such a way that they will only have to be carrying one day’s worth of books and supplies in their backpacks. Lockers will not be issued this year and we anticipate that two classes per day will help to reduce the heaviness of the backpacks for the students. Students may want to consider how they organize their backpack witth only having 2 courses per day. It is important that students be responsible for their own belongings.
In order to maintain social distancing throughout the building, as previously mentioned, we will be providing students with staggered breaks so as not to have much foot traffic in the hallways. At this time, students are encouraged to use the bathroom, go outside, get some fresh air, have a snack or a drink, etc.
There is directional signage throughout the building to manage traffic flow. We are asking for students to be mindful of distancing of those in front of them and respect 2m/6ft whenever possible.
An essential part of the Back to School plan is to maximize time spent outdoors. More classes (including Physical Education) will be held outdoors, when possible, to encourage physical movement and support our students’ well-being. Students are encouraged to use their lunch to enjoy some fresh air. We are fortunate to have some open spaces around the school
Any course change requests must go through Ms. Stevens. Students are asked to email Ms. Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org . She will look at all requests and will communicate with each student. Students are to follow their schedule until contacted by Ms. Stevens. Thank you for understanding the importance of awaiting her direction as she will balance calling students down to the office and/or emailing responses.
Students may consider a Nova Scotia Virtual School (NSVS) course to amend their schedules (max of 2). More information is available here: NSVS
All students will be required to wear a mask when travelling on the school bus. We will provide each student with two facemasks on the first day of school. If a student requires a facemask prior to the first day, please email Ms. Gaetz ( email@example.com )to set a pick-up time on Friday. Many municipal and provincial entities offer free facemasks, including HRM Libraries.
Students must wear their masks including hallways, bathrooms and other common areas. If students can be seated 2m/6ft apart, facing the same direction, they may remove their masks while at their desk. Masks are not required during outdoor activities. Should a student forget their mask, schools will have a supply of disposable ones on hand.
Public Health has encouraged all of us to socialize the wearing of masks as a measure to protect our collective health. Here is a link to a video that you can watch with your children before the first day of school: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/video/covid-19-wear-non-...
Should there be extenuating circumstances (medical or other) regarding wearing of masks, please reach out as soon as possible to our Vice-Principal, Ms. Ellis ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or extension 7701003.
Feeling ill at school
Any student who becomes unwell at school will have a separate location in the school where they will be supervised, while they wait to be picked up.
If a child feels unwell or begins to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, a parent or guardian will be contacted for pick-up. It is very important to ensure that your contact information and other emergency contacts for your child are kept up to date with the school during the school year. Please contact Ms. Gaetz if there are any changes to your contact information (email@example.com) If your child exhibits COVID symptoms, contact 811 to receive advice from Public Health on what to do next, including if/when the child can return to school.
If a COVID-19 case is identified, Public Health will provide direction to the school and HRCE on communicating with families.
Bring own water bottle filled from home
It is important that students bring their own filled water bottles to school. There will be water stations throughout the building, but they will only be available for single use cups. Students are not to fill their personal water bottles at the spouts of the water stations.
Cafeteria is closed at this time
Students are to bring their own lunch and snacks from home. The cafeteria is not available at this time. The contractor is working on ways to comply with Public Health protocols as outlined in the Back To School Plan. Please note that microwaves will not be available for student use. More details about lunch will be shared as we finalize planning. Should students leave property, please know that there is no supervision. Please have this discussion with your student in regards to leaving property over lunch break.
There are sanitizing dispensers throughout the school and there will be numerous sanitizing bottles stationed in classrooms and other spaces. The basic rule of thumb is whenever a student passes through a doorway, they should clean/sanitize their hands. Teachers and staff will continuously be supporting students and each other to make this practice a habit. Everyone’s safety is everyone’s responsibility.
If your student is on a study block, there will be space provided for your student to work in the building. It is important to remember though, that the study block will be approximately two hours and thirty minutes. While on their study block, students are not to be walking through the halls but are encouraged to go outside on breaks. If you feel you would like to have your student leave the building during their study block, you can make arrangements to pick them up. Attendance is not mandatory but students will need to sign in/out of the space they are working in order to support contact tracing.
Sharing is NOT caring
Against much of what has been instilled in young people about the importance of sharing, this year, we are going with a ‘No Sharing is Caring’ theme. Please remind your student to be responsible for their own belongings and have them keep their personal items separate and apart from other students and their belongings. This is a new way of thinking, but it is ultimately a show of respect and kindness in our efforts to keep everyone safe and healthy.
A strong relationship between home and school is important to student well-being and success. Under the Back to School plan, visitors, including parents/guardians, will not normally be permitted in the school.
As a school, we will look to alternative ways to engage with parents/guardians that do not require you to physically enter the building. Teachers will continue to reach out to you as it relates to your child’s education and well-being. We encourage you to communicate regularly with the school and your child’s teachers.
Should you have any questions, please feel welcome to reach out to our teachers. All emails will be on our website and available through PowerSchool Parent Portal. Please feel welcome to reach out to Ms. Gaetz ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) should you have general questions and she can support you in directing inquiries and/or setting appointments virtually or in person if necessary with Administration or Student Services. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work through essential visitor access.
Healthy Social Choices
The use of vaping products is a health concern and COVID 19 brings about another layer to these concerns. We will be working with our school community Liaison Officers and SchoolsPlus supports to educate students on the health concerns as well as the potential consequences with youth vaping. Along with an education piece with our community partners, communicating directly with parents/guardians is another intervention to help students understand the risks associated with vaping. Cessation programs for youth will also be made available. In many ways, this is a social activity. With more time outdoors encouraged, students will continue to have opportunities to be social but focused on enjoying fresh air!
Extra-Curricular and Athletics
With regard to our school athletics and extra-curricular activities, it is important to state that these important aspects of school life will look very different this year. There will be more information provided to you after we settle into our new routines.
No Student Fees
Please note that there are no student fees this year. We will reassess any individual user fees needed as things may develop with extra-curricular and athletics.
Parking Passes for Grade 12s
For all grade 12s, they will be sent a parking pass request form via their GNSPES email. Once this is completed in full and returned to Ms. Gaetz with all pertinent information, she will call students to the office for their pass. The student parking area is on a first-come-first serve basis for grade 12s with a parking pass. This ensures that all spots are used up instead of issuing a limited number. The staff parking area is used for permanent site-based staff as well as itinerant specialists who come at different times throughout the day. We expect students to respect the staff area being off-limits to students to ensure itinerant staff have spaces available. Once the student parking area is full, students may consider the West Petpeswick Road. We have limited spaces and this was deemed a fair approach after consulting with students in the past to problem solve the limited spaces. Students are also reminded that visitor parking is limited to essential visitors and is not extra spaces available to those with passes. We thank our grade 12s for their cooperation.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we manoeuvre unchartered waters and prepare for an opening like no other. I would like to thank the many staff who continue to work hard to prepare for welcoming our Schoons back to school!