January 7, 2022
Friday, January 7th Parent Letter
Dear New Westminster Secondary School Parents/Guardians and Students,
As you know, the return to school for students has been delayed to Monday, January 10 to enable local and provincial authorities and school districts to adapt to the impact of the Omicron variant. This week, administrators and staff returned to New Westminster Secondary to implement the enhanced health and safety measures announced last week, to develop contingency plans, and to continue to: support learning in the event of a functional closure (for example, if there are insufficient staff to open the school) and to support the limited number of students (students with diverse needs and children of essential service workers) that need to attend school this week.
Yesterday, Superintendent Karim Hachlaf sent a letter to all families highlighting some important information and updates for our school district in preparation for our Monday, January 10th restart. You may click here to read the letter. We also anticipate receiving further information and guidance in the coming weeks from the Ministry of Education and the PHO and will share any new information with you as soon as we can. For our January 10th restart, we ask that you review the following important health and safety information:
Conduct Daily Health Check
The best way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading is to stay home when ill. It is mandatory and the responsibility of parents/guardians to do a daily health check for your child, prior to them attending school. That check needs to include a full review of all symptoms and questions listed on the Daily Health Check form. Please click here. The K to 12 Health Check website and app is an easy way to decide if your child should attend school based on their symptoms. It includes current health guidelines and offers an age-appropriate user experience for K to 12 students. Alternatively, Daily Health Check posters are available in 13 languages here on the BC Government website.
Masks are an integral part of the safety protocol for COVID-19. Under the current public health order, everyone who can must wear a mask. When layered with other recommended public health measures, a well-constructed, well-fitting and properly worn mask can help prevent your child and others from being exposed to COVID- 19. No matter which type of mask your child is wearing, proper fit is a key factor in its effectiveness:
- Make sure the mask completely covers your child’s nose, mouth and chin.
- Check for gaps between your child’s face and the mask. Check the top, sides and bottom of the mask as well.
- Check the edges of the mask for air leaks and adjust if necessary.
- Improve mask fit so it’s snug and has no gaps.
- Adjust the ties, bands or ear loops.
- Adjust the nosepiece.
For helpful information on how to make masks fit properly, click here.
** Students should come to school with two to three clean, well-fitting masks each day to ensure they have back-ups available at school. Also, please remind your child to maximize the distance between themselves and others even while wearing their mask, both inside and outdoors.
Movement Around the School
We are asking students to:
- Make their way to their first period classes as soon as they arrive in the morning and leave the building immediately at the end of the day, unless they are participating in a staff-supervised activity (e.g. sports practice, homework help).
- Avoid loitering and congregating during transition times (before school, between classes, at lunch, and after school) and at school entrances.
- Avoid loitering and congregating in our washrooms and respect capacity limits
- Respect the personal space of others by maintaining appropriate physical distance.
- Follow the directional arrows in the hallways and stairwells to avoid involuntary physical contact with others.
- Lockers: We often find that lockers can be congregating areas so we will be asking students to use them sparingly and to not use them between classes.
- Food Services: The Servery and Grand Commons capacity is always a challenge. We will ask students who aren’t able to sit in the cafeteria to find another place in the school to have lunch. We have made seating changes to our Grand Commons space to help distance students while eating their lunch. We will be opening our gym for students to eat lunch to help spread students out. Additionally, students will often walk the hallways eating/drinking without a mask. We will require that all students that are eating/drinking do so in seated area.
- Classrooms have been configured to maximize space and to avoid student face-to-face contact where possible.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own stationary items and to avoid sharing.
Student Absence and Learning Expectations
- If a student is going to be away from school due to illness it is important to inform the school and make direct contact with classroom teachers
- Staff have been working this week to set up all classes in the MS Teams platform to help communicate assignment and homework
- Please note that teachers will not be doing online lessons for students who are absent due to illness
- Staff will communicate directly with students who are ill to adjust assignments and deadlines as necessary
- Students who are absent from school to non-COVID or other reasons of illness, will be expected to meet all assignments and deadlines as outlined by the teacher
Gatherings and Events
- School events involving large gatherings will be postponed or held virtually.
- Sports tournaments are paused; practices and single contests, with a maximum of two teams, are permitted to continue. Strict adherence to all health and safety protocols must be followed.
- Spectators are not permitted.
- Visitors to the school will be further limited to those directly involved in carrying out necessary school responsibilities.
- Parents picking up and dropping off students are being asked to not enter the school; instead, pre-arrange a meeting time and location outside with your child and avoid congested areas such as school entrances.
As always, we strive to communicate with parents and students efficiently. We will continue to use our website, Twitter, Instagram, parent bulletin and Parent messenger. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you for your continued patience and support as we once again navigate what seems to be an ever-changing educational landscape due to Covid. We remain as committed as ever to providing the best educational experience for all of our students despite the many challenging circumstances we have faced. By supporting one another, we will get through this together.
Stay healthy and safe.