The excitement of the new school year is tempered by the rising number of COVID cases and the unknowns around variants. I know the entire Seaforth community values the physical, mental and emotional well-being of all it’s members. As indicated, we plan to take a thoughtful and cautious approach to our plans and practices, and will err on the side of caution.
The District is doing their part in supporting health and safety in schools. Enhanced cleaning practices, improved air circulation and the use of MERV-13 filters, as well as access to supplies of hand sanitizer, masks, posters, and other supplies are some examples of the support we are receiving.
What the School is Doing. At Seaforth, we will maintain many of the health and safety practices that were successfully implemented last year, such as hand washing routines and creative strategies to minimize crowding in tight areas. In addition to existing practices, we will carefully implement new guidelines as they are provided to us. Below are some things we are doing within the school, as well as ways that our parent community can support us.
Mask Mandate – The mask mandate in place at the end of the 2020-21 school year will stay in place to start this school year. All K-12 staff, visitors, and students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas of the school and on school buses. Students in kindergarten to Grade 3 will be strongly encouraged to wear masks. Students are not required to wear masks during high intensity physical activity
Health Check – Students, staff, and all visitors to the school are required to do a daily Health Check before coming to school. More information on the health check is available below:
Physical Distancing and Space Arrangement
- Although public health no longer recommends learning groups and physical distancing of 2M as communicable disease measures for the K-12 setting, there are a number of strategies that we will use to help create space between people whenever possible. These include:
- Reminding students and staff about respecting others personal space.
- Using visual supports, signage, and prompts, as necessary.
- Using available space to spread people out in learning environments and limiting large gatherings
- Taking students outside more often, where and when possible.
- Managing flow of people in common areas, including hallways and around cloakrooms , to minimize crowding
- Using floor markings and posters to address traffic flow throughout the school
- Keeping doors and windows open
Activities and Events – As we did last year, we will carefully consider the traditions that we will continue this year. We will find creative ways to plan events such as the Terry Fox Run and assemblies, within safety protocols.
What parents can do to help:
Health Check – As a parent, you are an important part of the Seaforth plan. Please do a Health Check before sending your child to school. There are a number of online references for families to use each morning to determine if children should come to school. These are available at: https://burnabyschools.ca/daily-health-check-for-students/
If your child is exhibiting any of the key symptoms, please keep them at home. If a student exhibits symptoms while at school, they will be isolated and parents will be contacted to pick them up. Please be proactive in planning ahead for the possibility of keeping your child home when they are sick, and for the possibility of needing to pick them up part way through the school day, so that you are not caught off guard. We are all in this together, and safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Our Westcoast Outdoor Policy is even more relevant now than it has ever been before. Please remember that students will go outside for recess and lunch, even if it is raining heavily. Exceptions will only be made for safety reasons such as lightening or extremely high winds. Sending students outside allows our custodians to get into classrooms to clean high touch surfaces, and being outdoors allows students to get some fresh air at least twice a day. Please help your child be prepared for the elements by ensuring your children have warm, water resistant boots, coats and hoods, hats or umbrellas to keep dry, and have them wear layers that can easily be taken off and on as needed. Please consider keeping a change of clothes at school for your child.
Drop Off and Pick Up Times – Our school start and end times will no longer be staggered. Parents are requested to exercise caution and be mindful of not overcrowding, especially in the narrow passageways to exterior classroom doors, which are further restricted due to construction requirements. Because of our handwashing routines the school day will get off to a “soft start,” allowing families to take an extra few minutes to hold back their child’s entry into the classroom without being late and missing instruction. We remain a construction zone, and many of our outside classroom doors are only accessible through narrow walkways. We are asking parents to stand back and supervise their children from a distance, rather than waiting with them just outside the classroom door, to avoid crowding into the narrow passageways.
Parent Visitors – Parents are essential partners in their child(ren)’s education, and we are glad we will now be able to invite parents into the building for parent-teacher interviews, student led conferences, and IEP meetings. To ensure that appropriate safety protocols (health checks, sign ins, masks, etc) are in place, we request that parents make an appointment when an in-person interaction is required.
Lunch Reminders – Just a reminder to pack all utensils needed for your child’s lunch. There are no forks and spoons available for student use. As we are still not running a full recycling program at school to adhere to COVID protocols, we are continuing with our pack in/pack out recess snacks and lunches, and asking students to take recyclables and food scraps home for appropriate environmental disposal. If you haven’t already done so, it might be a good idea to consider litter-less snacks and lunches packed in reusable containers and wrappers that are environmentally friendly. Please note that students COVID protocols prohibit students from sharing food.
As always, if you have questions or concerns or need clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher, the amazing office support staff, or myself.
Sincerely, Shairoz Merani, Principal / directeur