As we welcome our students back to The Bishop Strachan School, our priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty.
The Program and Health and Safety Plans below outline the guidelines, structures and expectations we have put in place to help minimize the potential exposure of our students and staff to COVID-19. These plans also allow us to quickly transition to other learning models according to government regulations, changing health parameters, and our evolving understanding of teaching and learning practices. We will continue to work with our health partners to develop and evolve our planning during this pandemic. We are confident that we will be able to care, as we always have, for our students.
BSS will remain closed until February 10, and continue to provide remote learning for our JK - Grade 12 students during this time. Current families may access further information through myBSS. We will provide additional updates as the situation evolves.
All healthy students and employees who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 can come to school. Staff who are not required to be in the building will continue to work from home. Visitors, including parents/guardians, are strictly limited and only permitted by prior appointment. Non-essential visitors are not allowed to enter the school.
No person should attend school if unwell or any members of their household are unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Junior School students are back at school full-time in small classes of 10 - 13 students. Classroom spaces allow for 2-metre distancing within the rooms. Students’ daily activities take place in their homeroom classroom or outdoors.
Middle School students are back to school full-time and are assigned to cohort groups of 14 or 15 children. Students learn in a designated classroom the entire day, with the possible exception of some PE instruction or recreation. Opportunities for students to interact between cohorts via Google Meet (e.g. assemblies, Chapel) or between a teacher and a student (e.g. Study Hall) occurs virtually.
Senior School students are back in school four days per week for face-to-face instruction and are assigned to small classes of approximately 15 students. Off-campus virtual learning and larger interactions such as assemblies and Chapel take place every Wednesday.
BSS is implementing a semester-style timetable for the 2020-21 academic year with a balanced focus on three to five (four?) courses per semester instead of eight. Most classes will take place every day and incorporate a blended learning model. Some courses run every other day for the full year, including online music courses, Grade 9 and 10 face-to-face math, and face-to-face physical education.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered in Semester One with opportunities in Semester Two to engage in learning and feedback. Some AP courses are offered online with synchronous Wednesday classes.
Short term remote learning is available. Remote learners will connect with their teachers and cohort through a combination of live Google Meets and independent online work. This option is available for the fall term.
Junior School Students can access support at school from their teachers, including Learning Resource teachers. Students can also each out online to their teachers during designated office hours. Daily homeroom time allows students to connect with their peers and teachers. The Advisory program also continues for Grades 4 - 6.
Middle School Supports for Middle School students include the Blastoff program, Homeroom, the Middle School Counsellor, wrap-around monitoring, technology training and skills development, and extra academic help.
Senior School We continue to support student social and emotional wellness through the collaboration of counsellors, teachers, the School Psychologist and Learning Resource Centre teachers. Students can meet virtually with counsellors and the psychologist. To help our students succeed in a blended learning environment, we provide academic support including the creation of a Learner Profile for each student, extra help and community learning, and technical support and training.
Students would move to a distance learning model if conditions and regulations require a closure of the BSS campus. Our Academic Program Plans allow us to quickly transition to other learning models, according to government regulations, changing health parameters and our evolving understanding of teaching and learning practices.
Until a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed, we are implementing preventative measures into the daily school routine.
Small Classes In the Junior and Middle Schools, classes are divided into cohorts so that students will stay with the same class group to limit mixing between classes and years. This recognizes that for younger students, close interaction, such as playing and socializing, is central to child development. While close contact may be unavoidable between members of a cohort, general infection prevention and control practices (and, for older students, physical distancing) is maintained where possible.
In the Senior School, classes will be kept small and to a limit of approximately 15 students.
Physical distancing of at least 2 metres between students, cohorts and staff is enforced as much as possible.
Enhanced cleaning protocols
BSS is implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, including increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of all indoor surfaces, especially high-touch surfaces.
Health & Safety training for staff
All BSS staff and faculty have been trained on:
BSS health and safety procedures;
what to do if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 at BSS;
use of PPE;
appropriate cleaning and/or disinfection of items;
the risks associated with infectious diseases; and
the importance of appropriate immunizations.
Staff who can work from home continue to do so, and visitors (including parents/guardians) are strictly limited and may enter the school by appointment only.
Employees, students, parents, contractors and visitors are required to wear a mask within the school at all times. Students in JK to Grade 3 are encouraged to wear a mask inside the classroom and must wear their mask in common areas or when in close contact with others.
Staff can use a face shield in addition to their mask. Gloves can be worn if hands will be exposed to a risky situation.
Wellness Centre staff are expected to wear a medical-grade mask and gloves. When dealing with more serious situations, face shields, eye protection, gowns and other applicable PPE are required.
The Wellness Nurse, Boarding Counsellor and Boarding staff are available to discuss any issue with Boarders. Additionally, programming and resources will be provided on mindfulness and managing anxiety to minimize potential mental health impacts of the pandemic. Boarders will continue to have access to fitness areas within the school. All Boarders must have emergency medical insurance.
If the student or staff member is not at school, BSS will follow Toronto Public Health guidelines for contact tracing and will inform the BSS community.
If the student or staff member is at school, the Wellness Nurse/school administrator will immediately inform those in the same room. The infected person will vacate the room, apply hand sanitizer and don PPE. All students and parents will be informed immediately and given further direction if isolation or monitoring is needed.
Each Boarder is assigned a cohort group to minimize the number of Boarders and Boarding staff that an individual comes into contact with, and to maintain consistency in those contacts as much as possible.
Boarding has undergone enhanced cleaning procedures for the fall. Washrooms, common areas, and high-touch surfaces will continue to be cleaned twice daily, seven days a week, and additionally as needed. Hand-wash stations and hand sanitizer are available in all hallways, common spaces and entrances.
Our food services follow the regulations of the local health authority to ensure the implementation of best protocols for the preparation and serving of food in the dining areas.
BSS will strictly follow Toronto Public Health and Public Health Ontario guidelines. Boarding has dedicated isolation rooms on-site in the event that cases of the virus should appear despite our prevention measures.
Non-essential visitors are not allowed to visit the school at this time. BSS will host a number of online events where prospective families can learn more about the school. Click here to learn more or check out this online tour of our campus.