ABOVE & BEYOND

WIC Safer September Startup

The last few months have been unlike anything we have experienced before. Closing school campuses to fight the virus and shifting to online learning and virtual contact with teachers and classmates have forced us to adapt and adjust in ways we never dreamed. Thankfully, we know much more about the virus than when we started – and we continue to learn more every day.

Readying WIC for 2020-21!

With cautious optimism, we prepared for a successful safe return to the WIC campus in August 2020 in line with the government directives. Also shaping our decision-making are local, provincial, federal, and international guidelines, as well as important research,  recommendations and best practices from worldwide sources, such as The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto), The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and The Shanghai and Beijing Education Commissions.

All of our work and every decision we make are focused on two key and shared priorities:

  1. Safety first – ensure that WIC upholds the highest standards of community health and well-being; and
  2. Mission driven – promote a healthy, engaging, bilingual learning community in which each student thrives and is empowered to discover and pursue their own path forward.

Safer WIC operations to mitigate risk – The nature of the COVID-19 virus is unpredictable and the directives from the ministry continue to change and evolve. Aware of the shifting landscape, WIC planning remains fluid so that we can quickly adapt, as needed. We know where the risk points are and despite the challenges ahead, we are pleased with the successful progress made over the summer break to ready the campus for the return of students and staff. Some of the changes you will notice include:

  • increased custodial standards for stringent sanitation and disinfecting of the campus grounds;
  • a school nurse hired to support our risk mitigation, treatment, and education;
  • refurbished facilities – e.g. additional washing basins, touchless dispensers for soap/water and toilets, and the creation of a safe space on campus to isolate those with symptoms;
  • a strengthened WIC IT network and enhanced classroom hardware to support a high-quality, blended learning environment;
  • equipment for health monitoring, cleaning, and personal protection;
  • overhauling school schedules and routines to maintain physical distancing.

The 2020-21 school year will indeed be different for everyone. During these unusual times, we know we are asking more of families and colleagues than ever before. Through cooperation, we will help our students to thrive and protect themselves and others from getting sick.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and willingness to fight the virus alongside us.

Together with you,

Eric Jabal

Head of School

Lise Lafontaine

Director of Finance and Operations

FAQ

In line with government regulations, for

 

Sec I-III: A full-time return to campus

 

  • students will be grouped in homeroom classes and remain in the same classroom for the day (except for some specialist classes).

 

Sec IV and V: A rotating 2-week cycle of

 

  • 3 days on campus/2 days of timetabled online learning 
  • 2 days on campus/3 days of timetabled online learning.

According to the current government directives, beginning in the fall, it is again compulsory for all students to be physically present at school.

 

The only exception to this rule concerns students with a health condition or living under the same roof as someone with a health condition that makes them vulnerable (e.g. chronic disease, severe immunodeficiency). They may choose not to return to school and instead be taught and receive support from a distance (a doctor’s note will be required – select for vulnerable population according to Health Canada).

 

Parents/guardians are encouraged to keep their child at home if he/she is exhibiting ANY symptoms, even a headache.

 

WIC has upgraded classroom technology so that in-person, campus learning is streamed synchronously as part of our blended approach to learning in 2020-21. If a child is well enough to attend virtually, then the child is expected to stay up to date with class work.

If your family is traveling out of Canada in the summer, you should plan to return to Canada no later than Aug. 9th, 2020. The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. You MUST quarantine for 14 days and monitor yourself for symptoms subject to the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation) No. 3.

 

Your compliance with this Order is subject to verification and enforcement by the government. Those in violation may face transfer to a quarantine facility as well as fines and/or imprisonment.

 

A wellness questionnaire will be sent to families and must be returned to the school prior to the return to campus.

All student absences must be confirmed by email before 7:45 am at  [email protected]

Whenever possible, only one adult should bring a student to campus for drop off. All individuals coming to campus must wear a mask. Parents are requested to take their children’s temperatures before leaving for school each morning. A student or employee with a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher must stay home. Students with exposure to someone with COVID-19 must remain home and advise the school nurse by email at [email protected] while test results are pending or until the 14-day quarantine period is up. During this time they should self-monitor symptoms and consult a health care provider. 

 

The school will require a doctor’s note confirming that the student/employee is COVID negative and is cleared to return to school. 

No one without a direct connection to WIC will be allowed on campus. If for any exceptional reason someone aside from staff, teachers, external staff (coaches) and students need to enter campus, strict registration protocol and epidemic control must be followed.

 

On-campus visitors will be limited to those who are critical to school operations. They will be required to wear a mask, sanitize their hands upon arrival, sign in and complete a questionnaire and have their temperature taken before accessing the school.

 

Parents/guardians will be asked to drop students off and depart campus promptly. By appointment only, parents may enter the reception area, but only students will be allowed to circulate throughout the campus buildings.

Be vigilant in protecting oneself and minimizing all unnecessary outings. Encourage children to practice good personal hygiene habits. If and when students have any symptoms such as fever, immediately seek medical attention and alert the school.

 

If parents or other family members exhibit symptoms, students should not come to school and should observe a 14-day home quarantine if the case is positive.

Before returning to in-person campus learning, students who have tested COVID positive will be required to present a medical note from their family physician.

WIC will give epidemic prevention training to teachers, staff, students, and parents to educate them on epidemic prevention, personal protection, and disinfection. In line with government directives, WIC will implement an emergency plan for epidemic prevention and control, drill practices on emergencies (e.g. handling those with fever), safety and security issues, and make sure all employees know how to handle emergencies according to the new procedures.

Should a student begin to exhibit COVID-related symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell), WIC personnel should immediately take the person to the WIC Health center specifically designed for this purpose and consult with the on-site nurse.

The student will be cared for by the nurse until the parents arrive for pick-up. Parents/guardians must then call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the instructions they are given. Parents/guardians must complete the Emergency Contact form in order to identify the person to contact should the student need to leave the school.

In line with public health directives, WIC will implement emergency plans immediately if a suspected, probable or confirmed case is found. According to epidemic control protocols, WIC will take measures such as suspending a class or classes, or even on-campus learning for the whole school, as necessary, to ensure students, teachers, and staff are safe and healthy. This will be done in accordance with ministry directives.

Anyone (staff or students) who has tested positive for COVID or whose immediate family member has tested positive will be refused access to the school until all of the following criteria are met: 

 

  • A period of at least 14 days has passed since the onset of the disease in its acute phase;
  • An absence of acute symptoms for 24 hours (excluding a residual cough which may persist); 
  • An absence of fever for 48 hours without taking fever reducing medication (antipyretics). 

 

 

The school will require a doctor’s note confirming that the student/employee is COVID negative and is cleared to return to school.

If a child exhibits any symptoms while on campus, they will be immediately sent to the school nurse for follow up. If the nurse deems a presumptive case, she will alert the leadership team. There will then be onwards school-home communication to families of that class in line with Canadian data privacy laws. The parents/guardians of the child in question will be asked to pick up their child immediately.

No. Both students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and consult a doctor. Quebec households have received the Self-care Guide on this subject, telling them what to do.

Information relating to the instructions to follow, in particular on how to consult if a test is required, is also available on Québec.ca

Each of our janitorial staff members has completed a sanitization training course through Le Groupe Gesfor. WIC already thoroughly cleans shared spaces daily, however our custodial protocols have been adapted to increase the frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas, such as door handles, staircase railings, and bathrooms. During the day, classrooms will be equipped with disinfecting sprays so that students and faculty can clean classroom desks between classes. 

 

Each night after students have departed, the entire campus will be deep cleaned and disinfected following guidelines and protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, a further disinfection, using electrostatic technology will be completed on a regular basis.

In accordance with public health guidelines about preventing transmission of the virus causing COVID-19, students will be expected to follow these basic principles: 

 

    • physical distancing of while circulating in the school (1 meter between students, 2 meters between students and staff)

 

 

    • Wearing a mask when entering or circulating in the school

 

 

    • Regular hand washing/sanitizing throughout the day.

 

 

    • Coughing/sneezing into their sleeve. 

 

 

  • Disinfecting their classroom desks between classes

Over the summer, an industrial hygiene consulting firm was brought in to audit all aspects of campus operations and facilities and to offer recommendations on how to improve the health and safety of our school. 

 

WIC undertook the following renovation work to improve the health and safety of its facilities:

 

      • A new Health Centre has been built across from the reception area and will be staffed by a full-time school nurse.

     

     

    • All washrooms are being renovated to replace sinks, toilets, soap dispensers and paper towel distributors with contactless solutions.

 

 

    • Ventilation systems are being upgraded to improve the fresh air exchange systems in place.

 

 

    • Hand sanitizing dispensers were installed in every classroom and additional units were placed throughout the school.

 

 

    • Directional signage will be placed around the school to minimize contact between student and staff that are circulated throughout the school. 

 

 

    • Students will use a clear plexiglass divider while eating lunch in the cafeteria.

 

 

    • Plexiglass dividers have been installed at the reception windows and employee desks.

 

 

  • Water fountain drinking spouts have been condemned. Only the bottle refill function is available and will be sanitized regularly.

In line with government directives, we plan to follow the regular daily academic schedule. This schedule will promote easy transitions between on-campus and remote learning.

Classrooms will be equipped to permit simultaneous distance learning in order to provide students with the most authentic classroom experience possible. Whether in building, fully online, or in a hybrid scenario, there will be consistent daily and weekly schedules for the students.

This was an important piece of feedback we received, and we are committed to clear, consistent, substantive, and engaging schedules.

The ECA program is an important part of the WIC experience. We will continue to offer a variety of activities that appeal to students with different interests. A modified ECA program to be run in line with government directives. WIC anticipates a phased start to ECAs in September. 

Creative ways to learn and perform all art forms are being explored in line with the government directives.  Currently, the plan is that off-campus guests will be able to view music concerts and theater performances exclusively via streaming services. 

 

The art and music rooms will be cleaned between each use and we will limit the sharing of equipment, tools or supplies.

PE classes will avoid all sports and activities that will require any need for contact. Instead, we will make full use of the sports field, and also increase the number of activities or sports that can be done on a more individual basis that does not require much physical interaction from peers.

Continuing to nurture the community of the school will require careful attention given the scenarios we are likely to encounter. Online, of course, will require a deliberate effort to maintain connections between students, between students and teachers, as grade levels and by division, and with parents and alumni. If we are in a hybrid environment in which we have to account for a reduced density, we will need to make a concerted effort to connect those who are in the building and those who are online, avoiding the creation of “two schools”. Even if we are in the building, assemblies and larger gatherings will likely not be allowed. How we replicate the essence and the importance of those moments is a priority in our planning for the fall.

 

Our Learning Specialist and guidance counselor will provide valuable resources, workshops and 1:1 check-ins to ensure that students have the academic and social/emotional support they need. In addition, the level directors will help to ensure the overall well-being through classroom observations and student meetings.

Carpooling

 

Parents who are able to transport their own kids to school are strongly encouraged to do so. If parents decide to organize carpools with other families, it is strongly recommended that stable carpool ‘bubbles’ are created to limit contact between students. In line with government directives for public transport and indoor spaces, WIC strongly recommends that all passengers wear a mask during the ride.

 

 

Laval/St. Laurent bus service:

 

As we know from last school year, the government directives will evolve as we move through the various stages of the pandemic, and WIC will adapt its practices accordingly. Next year’s variable on-campus schedule, coupled with the likelihood that the school will shut down at various times throughout the year, make it difficult for us to commit to a bus service contract for next year.  As was previously communicated to the Laval/St Laurent families, WIC has suspended the bus service for the  2020-21 school year.

Lunch will take place during a two-hour mid-day block to ensure a safe and sanitary lunch distribution. At the beginning of the month, students will order their lunches for the month in advance, choosing from a rotating menu of daily hot and cold lunch options (including vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free). The lunches will be prepared ahead of time and delivered to one of two separate locations in the school.

 

The groups in both  the junior and senior lunch periods will be staggered in order to respect the maximum group size of 50 in the dining areas and allowing for appropriate physical distancing. Only single-use compostable and recyclable containers and utensils will be used. As conditions allow and in line with government directives, this plan will be revisited throughout the year.

On campus: Students will wear their summer uniform (polo shirt and skirt or pants) since these items are all washable. No blazer or tie will be required. Students may wear the WIC sweater over their polos if they are cold.    All-black dress shoes, polishable.

 

Physical Education (PE): If the student has a  PE course, they are asked to arrive in their phys ed uniform (t-shirt with sweatpants or shorts). They are permitted to remain in their PE uniform for the remainder of the day to minimize the number of students in the locker rooms.

 

At home: Students are expected to be dressed appropriately for their online classes:and wear their WIC polo shirt.

Our goal is to provide our students with the best educational experience possible, regardless of the circumstances. We have developed several possible scenarios for educational and extra-curricular offerings, subject to the changes in government guidelines. All of these scenarios, without exception, carry increased costs for the school whether we are in the building, fully online or somewhere in between.

We will continue to provide an educational program that exceeds the minimum government requirements. To the extent possible, we will maintain the WIC Difference by substituting our regular class trips and ECA’s with other activities that meet the health and safety guidelines. If the school is forced to shut down for an extended period of time, we will carefully review the school’s operations to identify the supplemental services that have not been rendered and will establish, to the extent possible, a pro-rated credit policy commensurate with the situation.