You asked! We got answers!
Questions and answers from the Heritage Heights Parent Association Back to School Survey, as answered by Glenn Gibson, Principal.
Heritage Heights Parent Association
School Relaunch Survey
Questions & Answers
Please note that these responses are as accurate as can provided as they have been answered prior to fully discussing all aspects of our relaunch plan with all staff. While these are as accurate as of August 12th, 2020 they may be tweaked over the coming days.
Q - Will classroom sizes be limited in any way?
A - There will be no limit to the class size as there is limited funding to support this. However, staff have been working to reduce clutter and non-essential furniture in classrooms to maintain or increase physical space for students.
Q - Will there be staggered start times for classes in the morning and dismissal times? What will outside break time look like?
A - Yes, we will need to stagger our break time. More details will be ironed out when staff is available after the holidays. Plans may include limiting the number of classrooms outside and asking grades to play in certain areas of the field.
Q - How many of our classrooms are unable to maintain a 2m distance between desks?
A - This depends heavily on the number of students choosing to attend classes, however with 25 students, spacing is possible in many of our classrooms. While not perfect, we will utilize other spaces where possible or outside to promote distancing as well as physical barriers. Proper hand-washing protocols do seem to have the greatest impact on reducing the spread.
Hand Hygiene, Cleaning & Disinfecting
Q - Is there going to be the option of purchasing extra hand sanitizer or cleaning products (i.e. Lysol wipes) through the school? Have they been able to source the supplies on a large scale?
A - Unfortunately, we cannot supply additional hand sanitizer and wipes for home use. Our head of facilities has secured enough for school use with the advanced hygiene requirements.
Q - How are the teachers are going to work with the kids in school to support the change in habits and infection prevention practices in a supportive, kind environment. How will exposures at school be communicated?
A - As with any new initiative or safety protocol, our staff will pull upon their understanding of trauma informed practices to ensure students understand the requirements for advanced hygiene practices at a developmentally appropriate level. Alberta Health will be involved if there are any known cases in our schools and will take the lead on contact tracing and classroom or school closures if required.
Q - My kids have noted repeatedly that the washrooms are "not clean" during the day. What will the washroom cleaning protocol be going forward? Also, in many stores and fast food restaurants, only one person can enter the washroom at a time. Will this be the case at school?
A - All surfaces will be disinfected thoroughly at the end of each school day. During the school day, high touch surfaces will be wiped down regularly both by teaching staff and custodial staff. FSD is requiring a full daytime custodian in all buildings, the details are still being finalized. At this time, we are not limiting student access to washrooms, but students will be reminded to maintain distancing and a mask will be required.
Q - It seems like it would be very difficult to have kids washing hands as often as is required in the guideline. Has the school looked into portable hand washing stations to avoid sending 500 kids to the washrooms to wash their hands several times throughout the day?
A - Hand washing is best; however, we do have limited access to sinks. Currently the school division is examining the purchase and use of portable hand-washing stations but has not made a decision yet. Bathroom schedules for hand washing and use of hallway sinks will support proper hand-washing, in between, hand sanitizer will be available to all students at multiple points around the building.
Q - Please give examples of "high touch points" that will be cleaned throughout the day. Who will do this cleaning and how will it be verified that it's completed?
A - Cleanliness is a high priority to all members of our teaching and custodial staff. We all take pride in ensuring cleanliness. High-touch surfaces include, door handles, taps, etc. If they are in communal areas, our daytime custodian will wipe down frequently as per required cleaning checklists. All surfaces and high touch points will be given a deep clean after students have left the building. FSD is requiring a full daytime custodian in all buildings, the details are still being finalized.
Q - What will return to school look like specifically for our school, what are the plans for class sizes, Ed assistants, changes due to COVID (i.e. options, band, gym, library, recess, hot lunches, field trips, class seating - desks/tables, etc.)
A - This plan is still in the works, however, please note that school will look very similar to the way it was in the past with advanced cleaning and hygiene practices. Desks will be apart, sneeze guards provided for tables where more than one student may be seated. Educational assistants will be deployed as they have been in the past with appropriate hygiene and PPE requirements in place. At this time all field trips remain cancelled. Band may still continue for those who are interested using non-mouth-blown instruments. We will re-evaluate the option schedule in late August with our staff and provide changes or switches should option classes be unavailable when students return.
Q - Will School Sports happen this year?
A - At this time all inter-school indoor sports have been cancelled. At this time, it does not mean that outdoor or reduced contact sports cannot continue within the regular school hours and breaks.
Q - Will Junior High kids be staying in one classroom with different teachers coming to them or will they be moving classrooms?
A - At this time, we will be looking at moving teachers vs. moving students, however there will be the need for some movement throughout the day, both for student sanity and to gain access to required materials that may only be in one space (for example science class). Should students be required to move throughout the day, hand-washing and sanitation solutions will be employed on high touch surfaces (such as desks and chairs) between classes.
Q - Will my child be able to play with friends in other classrooms at recess or will they only be able to interact with their own classroom (cohort) each day?
A - Staggering recesses and zoning our playground will support greater physical distancing during break times, at however, there still could be intermingling between cohorts. We will remind and discuss with students at the start of the year how best to play with others yet, maintain high standards of personal hand hygiene.
Q - How will kids use common items in the classroom? Example: art supplies, computers, library books, etc.
A - Shared items will be partitioned into individual packages wherever possible for both setting aside and/or sanitization of materials between users. At this time, should technology be a requirement for learning, surfaces must be sanitized by an adult between uses. We highly recommend and support student in bringing their own devices to school to support their learning whenever possible to reduce cleaning requirements.
Q - The return to school guidelines state that doors and windows should be open - do all classrooms at HH have the ability to open windows?
A - All classrooms including, portables, have windows that open. Portable classrooms have separate ventilation systems and our shared spaces are ventilated using larger air exchange units. Our maintenance staff, as always, works to keep these units functioning at high levels of performance and filtration and cleaning and maintenance was completed over the summer on all units.
Q - Wondering if hot lunch will be a possibility still or what this might look like?
A - Hot lunch is still a go as long as our food is prepared and served according to Alberta Health guidelines. All hot lunch served is pre-packaged for students, therefore advanced hygiene, masks and gloves for delivery are the only requirements that will need to be maintained.
Q - Will the kids still be enrolled in at Heritage Heights class and have access to those teachers? Will the kids be able to return for the second half of the year if we feel it is safer at that time? Will the kids be getting the same education and be at the same place in their learning as their in-school classmates?
A - The HUB teachers will be responsible for all aspects of your child's learning until they choose to return to Heritage Heights in February. The program offered at the HUB is a fully accredited educational experience including all subjects and a full topic load. We will continue to communicate to all students, HUB or at school through regular communication channels.
Q - Why is Hub@Home not offered for Kindergarten students?
A - In Alberta Kindergarten is crucial to the development of school readiness, literacy and numeracy skills, however it is not a requirement of for all student to attend. Students are required to attend school beginning in grade 1 at age 6. FSD is only offering an in-school option for Kindergarten at this time.
Q - Will school assemblies be made virtual so that kids in Hub@Home program can attend?
A - All school assemblies will be broadcast for classrooms. Recordings will be made available for those unable to attend.
Q - Are there opportunities for kids to come join their classmates outside during recess, outdoor PE, etc.?
A - The school fields will be available to students currently attending school during school hours. Should your son or daughter meet up with other student(s) outside of school, please follow appropriate Alberta Health Guidelines for family cohort groupings.
Q - If my child attends the Hub@Home program, can they participate in the after school sports?
A - No after school sports at this time.
Q - Will my child be connected to a specific teacher at HH? I.e. if they're assigned an online teacher for Grade 3, will they also still be given a HH teacher at the beginning of the year? Will they be included in classroom communication from that teacher? If they return in February, will this teacher then be assigned to them?
A - We will keep students connected to their home room teacher assigned at the beginning of the school year. I will ask that all teachers include parents both at Hub@home and at Heritage Heights be included in regular communication.
Resources & Update Sources
Hub@Home Information: https://www.fsd38.ab.ca//HubHome.php
Foothills School Division School Relaunch Handbook: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O1mLF00vTFxbQx_NQKmcE-hmHLN-jzQ0jbsDwSa0hcI/edit
Foothillls School Division School Relaunch Updates: https://www.fsd38.ab.ca//view.php?action=object&id=11503&stream=News
Heritage Heights School Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Heights-School-271214256241340
Heritage Heights School Website: http://heritageheights.fsd38.ab.ca
Heritage Heights Parent Association Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HHParentAssociation
Heritage Heights Parent Association Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HHparentassociation