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HRM Important Information for School Start Up

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”  Psalm 55:22

Good Morning HRM Parents and Guardians,

We hope that you enjoyed the last week of Summer and are ready to return to school whether in-person or virtually. This school year may seem or look different than previous years, but together we can certainly conquer it and make it a memorable and successful one for students, families, and staff. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our HRM Return to School Committee for meeting and discussing the HRM Return to School plan. The dialogue was very collaborative and meaningful. We feel confident to begin the new school year with the necessary perimeters to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all. Below you will find all pertinent and helpful information to assist when planning for our new school year.

Physical Distancing & Wearing Masks:We have worked hard to ensure that as much physical distancing as possible will be implemented at HRM, this includes training of staff, removal of unnecessary furniture, staggered recesses, and zones within recesses while outside.

Students in grades K-12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in schools including in hallways and during classes. While outside for recess, students are not required to wear masks; however, are to have masks on them to wear them when returning inside the school.  

Please continue to practice with your child wearing the masks and review the expectations of wearing them at school. Staff will review this with students next week. It is integral that students receive the same message form home and school.

Daily Self-Assessment of COVID-19 Symptoms:Staff are to monitor self and students for signs/symptoms of COVID-19.  All Staff and students who are experiencing new or worsening symptoms consistent with COVID- 19 must go home/stay at home and seek appropriate medical attention as required, including getting tested for COVID-19. Take the self-assessmentand follow the recommendations shared previously.  

Essential Visitor Protocol: At this time, we are limiting visitors to the school to essential visitors only (emergency services such as a plumber or student services providers, HCDSB staff and third-party providers, who cannot otherwise provide virtual service).  Any individuals, aside from employees and students should call ahead for approval to enter the school.  Consideration should be made to the use of electronic alternatives and other non-physical means as alternative to on-site visit in order to prevent potential contact within the school. Access will only be granted by either Ms. Murad or Mrs. MacLeod in advance. Preference will be given to phone calls and/ or electronic alternatives. Parents/guardians will not be allowed to drop off items during the day unless it is an emergency, as access to the school will not be permitted. Students should be dismissed at school exits, parents/guardians should not come into the school.  Lunch Drop off is suspended until further notice- Please ensure that your children have their lunch and water bottle in the morning, prior to the start of the school day. The HRM School Volunteer Program is suspended until further notice as well.

Changerooms/ Lockers/Cubbies: All changerooms are closed and access restricted until further notice.  Personal belongings brought to school should be minimized. Limit student personal belongings brought to school to include essential items only (e.g., backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food). Students lockers are not to be used by students- All bags, shoes, coats will be located in the classroom in the student’s personal space (desk area). Use of cubbies for storage of items is ONLY permitted in Kindergarten classes, provided that physical distancing measures are practiced.

Arrival & Departure: At 8:50am ALL students will report directly to their classes once they have arrived at school. This will ensure that all students remain within their cohorts, this includes all walkers, bus students, and students who are dropped off. At dismissal, the school will start dismissal procedures 10minutes before the end of the day (3:25pm) supervising staff will have students ready to be dismissed at that time. Walkers and students who are to be picked up by a parent/guardian will be accompanied to the backyard to exit using the assigned school gate. Students must be wearing their masks until they are outside and must remain within their cohorts. Bus and YMCA students are to remain in their classrooms waiting for their buses to be called. At 3:35, supervising staff will supervise all classes similar to morning procedures

Please remember the following:

  • Only one designated parent/guardian drop-off/pick-up
    • All entrances will be used and assigned to classes based on location
    • Outdoor drop-off/pick-up
    • Staggering entry for recesses 
    • Physical distancing ground markings
    • Limit student personal belongings brought to school to include essential items only (e.g., backpack, clothing, sun protection, water bottles, food).
    • Kindergarten students will remain in their cohorts and using both gates, students will be dismissed to parents/guardians, buss students are to follow the same expectations are those who are in Gardes1-8.

Drop Off/Pick Up by Parents: If families choose to drop off and pick up students, parents are to remain in their cars. For primary students, one designated parent will drop off at the gate. NO Parents/guardians are allowed on school property (including the backyard) while dropping off and/or picking up. Parents are not to come on school property and are to wait for their children by the specific gate. Kindergarten students will be dismissed using the front and back gates and based on their cohorts. Kindergarten educator teams will share with their families which gate their classes will dismiss and enter from.

Students Leaving Early or Throughout the Day: Parents/guardians are to provide an emergency contact that can pick up the student whenever needed. Emergency contact needs to be aware of all COVID-19 safety measures and requirements. 

  • Caregiver to wait outside the doors.  
  • Classroom teacher can call office to let them know they are sending student to the Office and the student should not need an escort

Recess/Breaks:The School is divided into 2 groups for staggered recesses and lunch blocks. At lunch – a group will be outside for 30 minutes while the other group eats for 30 minutes indoors. Both groups will rotate after 30-minute period, this includes the 5minutes transition period. Although masks are not required for outdoor play with cohort, students must have a mask on their person at all times (in the event they must re-renter the building -e.g. for First Aid). Entry/Exit doors will be established to ensure students are not congregating in transition. The School Yard will be divided each day into Zone A/B/C for every recess. Lines have been painted on yard indicating parameters of each zone. Pilons and connectors will be arranged each day to section yard into zones. Class cohorts will consistently use assigned zone/section each recess. Supervision will ensure students remain in their zone and play with peers in their class cohort. No equipment to be used during recesses. Students are not to re-enter building during recess for washroom/water breaks, unless it is necessary. Hand washing before/after recess will be enforced.

Lunch & Lunch Supervision: The school will continue to operate as two groups since this will help in staggered entry and re-entry to the school. Students will be eating lunch within their assigned times. All staff and students perform proper hand hygiene before and after eating.  We will stagger student/staff to accommodate for hand hygiene use at communal stations (e.g., washrooms). Staff will clean and disinfect shared eating areas between use. Please remember:

  • Students/staff use refillable water bottles at refill stations rather than drinking directly from water fountains- please ensure that your children have a water bottle.
  • Students are to have their own individual meal or snack. “No sharing” policies and procedures are reinforced. This includes food, water bottles or personal items.  
  • Personal items should be clearly labelled with each student’s name.
  • Staff will be supervising students while eating, walking the hallway to exit the school, and outside.
  • Students are to remain sitting at their own desks and eating as per usual.
  • Students are to wash hands before and after eating
  • Staff on duty must wear a mask
  • Staff on duty escorts classes outside
  • Garbage will be collected and disposed of. Students will bring home recycling items.

Assemblies/Large Gatherings: School assemblies or other large gatherings (e.g., concerts or dances) are cancelled until further notice. Virtual options will be in place.

Use of Agenda: We will continue to use agendas at HRM; however, ONLY students are to write in them as staff may only stamp if necessary.

Student Washrooms: Signage will be posted that indicates maximum number of people using the bathroom at once. “Vacant” sliding door signs will also be used to indicate number of people in the washroom at a time in addition to floor markers outside washroom will be placed to maintain distancing while waiting for access. All washroom use will be monitored and logged, as students/staff will record time/locations of student access to washrooms. Only Students in Gr. 1 will be permitted to go to the washroom with a partner from their class cohort, the partner will wait in the hallway.

Water Fountains & Bottle Fillers: Each student will be required to bring their own drink bottle that is labeled, kept with them during the day and not shared, as water fountains will not be used. Water bottle filling station will remain operable. Students will be taught not to touch filling station apparatus. Appropriate use of bottle filling station will be monitored.  

Extracurricular Activities & Field Trips: At HRM, we plan to use virtual clubs and programs whenever possible. Face-to-face clubs that require students to share materials (e.g. Student Council, Chess, Games Clubs, etc.) and would mix students from different cohorts are not permitted. At this point there are NO planned school trips.

Halton Food for Thought Program: The HFFT Program will operate differently this year and only as a “Grab and Go” format. Bins will be delivered to classroom (to be kept near the sanitation station at the entrance of the classroom)

Supporting Students: At HRM, we will continue to find creative ways to maintain the daily rituals for students to ensure that students can find new ways to connect for activities such as Christian Meditation and DPA. Staff will find creative ways to provide extracurricular activities where possible in ways that respect social distancing protocols and allow students at home to participate

Promoting Catholic Identity: At HRM, we will continue to ensure that our learners experience a Catholic learning environment rooted in Gospel Values and the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations in the new environment that our students return to school in.  We continue to value the connections between us, home and parish and will use a variety of resources and tools to ensure that those connections remain strong.

Our focus will continue to be on faith formation for our staff and students, connecting our Pastors to our schools in ways that respect health and safety protocols but still allow for presence.  As well we will look to find new ways of focusing on service and social justice opportunities for our students. Classes and families will be invited to join virtual liturgies.

Thank you for your continued support. Wishing you and your amazing families a wonderful long weekend.

God bless,

Ms. Murad & Mrs. MacLeod

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Elementary PrincipalHRM Important Information for School Start Up