This message provides some new updates, but we have also shared some of the most pertinent information again. Of particular note is the section on Daily Health Screening below. It is critical that you read this section carefully and understand the procedure. The TDSB, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, has introduced a screening system that puts the responsibility on parents to screen and record their child’s screening results on a daily basis, before coming to school.
Based on the Returning to School Guidelines https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Return-to-School that set out by the TDSB, we have established a number of guidelines and practices that will be put in place at Bowmore. Please read through the information to help you understand what school will look like for your child. Please also understand there may be changes that need to be made in response to new and different expectations. We thank you in advance for your support and understanding.
Three Schools in One
Because Bowmore is such a large school, we have divided it into three different groupings to reduce crowding during recesses and outdoor time at lunch. Lunches and recesses will be staggered throughout the day for each ‘school’. Speciality teachers have been assigned to one of the three ‘schools’, and, for the most part teach within these classes exclusively. The breakdown of classes in each school is as follows.
JK to Grade 2 - and FI 3(A) and FI 3(B)
Grades 4-6 - and Grades 3(A) and 3(B)
Grade 7 and 8 - and Gifted 6/7
Bowmore’s Daily Timetable for 2020-2021
You can also look at the Bowmore Daily Timetable here.
Bowmore has a wonderful school yard and grounds, and we have made plans to use it extensively. The school yard, surrounding outdoor areas in Fairmount Park, as well as areas of the front of the school, have been delineated into ‘Outdoor Zones’. Some of these zones are for outdoor classrooms, some are reserved for Physical Education classes, some for Kindergarten, and others for recess and outside time at lunch. We will need all the space we can get with 4 classes!
First Day Procedures
Your child’s teacher will send out more detailed information, later today, about which day your child starts and where to meet on the field. However, there are some common procedures that all students and parents are expected to follow. On the first day of school, just before 9:15, teachers will be in the school yard to greet your child(ren). Please remember that there are staggered start dates for different grades as follows:
Tuesday, September 15th - Senior Kindergarten, Grade 4, Grade 8, and LD classes
Wednesday, September 16th - JK, Grade 1, and Grade 7 classes
Thursday, September 17th - Grades 2, 3, 5 , and 6 classes
Parents are encouraged to drop their child at the pathways to the back of the school yard, depending on the age. If you do enter the school yard, please wear a mask as it might be crowded, and stay on the field away from the designated class line-ups. Make your stay brief. We ask that you do not bring your child to school too early to avoid socializing and to maintain distancing as much as possible.
At the end of the day, parents are requested to stay on the field away from the pavement to allow the teachers to escort Gr. 1-3 children back to their lines for hand off to parents and caregivers. Students in Gr. 4-8 will be escorted out to their lines on the pavement or field to be dismissed independently where they go home or pick up siblings. Parents are not to be in the halls, and around doors. We will need everyone’s cooperation to make this happen!
Daily Health Screening
Before coming to school, all students are expected to conduct a daily self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. Please find the tool here - Health Pass. This self-assessment screening questionnaire will be provided to students, staff and visitors. Based on directions that we have just received by Toronto Public Health there is an expectation that for the first two to four weeks of the 2020-21 school year, a verification of a self-assessment for each student, staff member and visitor is to be completed at the school. This self-assessment for students can be verified two ways:
- A parent or guardian signing the TDSB Student Health Pass daily and the student showing it to staff at the entry line/door.
- A parent or guardian completing the assessment on the TDSB Health Screening App, which generates a QR code that a student can scan at the entry door (if they have a mobile device), or the student can present their name to a screener who can verify their entry status. More information on the Health Screening App can be found here or through the link below.
If a student does not have a verification to show a self-assessment was completed by parent/guardian, they will be asked if they are feeling well. If the answer is yes, they will be allowed to go into the classroom with a mask/face covering and maintaining physical distancing, but a parent/guardian will be contacted to conduct the full assessment by phone. This is why it is critical that all parents and guardians complete the checklist and sign daily to avoid unnecessary calls. If a student says they feel unwell they will need to go to our Health Room and the parent or guardian will be contacted to come and pick up the child. You can read more about the TDSB’s Daily Health Screening here.
Entry into Classroom and Attendance
All students will wash or sanitize their hands as they enter the classroom. Entrances, classrooms, and offices are equipped with hand sanitizer. Students will sit at their assigned seat and hang up their coat and backpack on their chair. There will be no lockers for students. Teachers will take attendance in the school yard as the students enter the building with their class. Students who are late will be buzzed in from outside the front entrance, one at a time, by the office staff to get a late slip and be screened. If late, parents will need to wait with their children so please be on-time. Please understand there will be minimal movement of students through the building except for outdoor breaks for fresh air and outdoor learning time.
For all of our safety, please remember that parents and caregivers are not to be in the building (e.g. walking to class, standing inside doors, foyer etc.,.). If a meeting is required, are encouraging these to be held over the phone or via online video conferencing if appropriate. If a visit to the school is necessary, all visitors are asked to contact the school for an appointment. Visitors will need to sign in, and provide detailed contact information for contact tracing should it be required. All school visitors are expected to participate in a COVID screening, use hand sanitizer and be masked prior to entering the building and our main office.
Friend Request for Students
We have received a large volume of requests from families asking for their child(ren) to be placed in classrooms with specific friends. While we understand the reasons and concerns raised within these requests, we are unable to consider them for the following reasons.
In June, Bowmore teachers created class lists for this school year based on a normal back-to-school scenario. Teachers did a tremendous job of balancing the needs of all students by examining individual strengths and needs, paying particular attention to academic and behavioural concerns. Staff spent a great deal of time creating what they feel would be the best possible learning conditions for Bowmore students. This process took several weeks to complete.
The option of online learning for some of our students this school year has meant that we have had to reorganize some of our classes and make changes to these classes. Of our 1061 students, almost 900 are coming back for in school learning. This relatively high percentage of returning students, combined with the lower overall class sizes, means that some classes will stay the same, while others will see some changes. Given these complexities, and the tight timelines given to use for this reorganization, we will not be able to consider individual requests for placements.
You can read all of our previous messages to Bowmore Families here, or on the Bowmore School Website. Thank you for our continued support and understanding as we work to prepare for a safe reopening of school for Bowmore students.
Heather Groves, Principal
Stephen Parsons, Vice-Principal
Joel Krentz, Vice-Principal