The health, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff is our top priority as MacLachlan College reopens for the 2020-21 school year.
The health, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff is our top priority as MacLachlan College plans to reopen for the 2020-21 school year.
MacLachlan is planning for students to be in class beginning the first day of school on Wednesday, September 9th for daily attendance, with class sizes that meet or exceed current regulations, and modified social interaction and extracurricular activities. As we continue to develop our plans it is critical to balance the risk of direct infection and transmission of COVID-19 in children with the impact of school closures on their physical and mental health. Current evidence and advice from leading professionals support the concept that children can return to school in a carefully structured manner that protects children’s health and minimizes risks from a public health perspective.
The relationships between MacLachlan College and the local public health unit will be crucial to navigate the complex and evolving COVID-19 environment on our reopening plans, and addressing other child health issues that emerge. MacLachlan is welcoming to our team an experienced pediatric emergency and intensive care nurse from the Hospital for Sick Children who will be our School Healthcare Coordinator and who will also assist us with our infectious disease management.
There are two plans in place for the return to MacLachlan College in September. We are offering full-time, on-campus instruction for students in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our alternative MacRL2 model is also available for students in Pre-K to Grade 6 which is a modified remote learning program. This program will cover core subject content that will prepare students for entry into the next school year. For families that are choosing on-campus learning it will be in place as long as public health circumstances allow schools to remain open. If the Ministry or other governing body issues a school closure, students in the on-campus program will continue with their full subject course content in an online environment until the school is allowed to reopen.
EduSafe App – DAILY HEALTH CHECK REQUIREMENTS
MacLachlan is implementing a daily health screening policy for all staff and students. We have researched a variety of options and have decided to deploy the EduSafe app to our school community. The app is compatible with all iOS and Android devices. Parents will be required to complete a short questionnaire each morning for each of their children attending MacLachlan. This will take no more than one minute per student. The health screening must be completed daily before arriving on campus, and ideally prior to 8am each morning. A report will be provided to the school and will be monitored by assigned staff. Students who do not have their daily check completed will not be permitted to join their class. This a new routine for staff and families but one of our layered strategies to help keep our school community healthy. More information and instructions will be provided to families prior to the start of the new school year. Please see the link below with further information for Parents/Guardians about EduSafe.
As always, please keep your child home if they are ill.
Health and safety
To support the reopening of school, MacLachlan College is implementing protocols to provide for the health and safety of students, staff and families. Guidance is provided based on the advice of public health and the Ministries of Health and Labour Training and Skills Development.
To maximize safety, MacLachlan College is using a “layered” approach with multiple measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, including decreasing the number of interactions with others and increasing the safety of interactions. Layering of multiple mitigation measures strengthens the risk mitigation potential overall. Our protocols consider measures related to:
- Modifying behaviours that reduce the spread, including hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, as well as use of personal protective equipment (PPE) where recommended. Hand sanitizers are installed in every classroom and every school entrance, and also in common areas throughout the school. Students are also welcome to bring their own personal hand sanitizer to keep with their belongings at their desk.
- Maintaining healthy environments, including environmental cleaning, cohorting, physical distancing, and use of plexiglass shields/guards where necessary.
- Maintaining healthy operations, including mitigating risks for students at higher risk of infection, protecting staff and at risk persons or families, screening and management of individuals with suspected COVID-19, cases and outbreaks.
Non-Medical Masks, Cloth Masks and Face Coverings
- Students in Grades PK-Gr.12 are required to wear a non-medical or cloth mask indoors in school at all times and also outdoors when physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
- MacLachlan has provided all students with one cloth mask along with a personal storage case. Additional masks will be available for purchase.
- Ongoing instruction on proper mask use is communicated and reinforced regularly.
- Teachers will provide instruction to students on how to put on, remove and store their masks safely.
- Students will not be expected to wear their masks within their cohorts at scheduled recess times.
- Teachers and school staff have been provided with face shields and masks.
Mental health and wellbeing
Student mental health and wellbeing is a core element of the re-entry to school plan. It is foundational in ensuring a return to a welcoming environment that supports learning.
Supports for student mental health and wellbeing include the following components:
- Professional learning for administration and educators to support the approach to school re-entry, as well as throughout the school year;
- Our Student Services department and Health Care Coordinator will be available for students, parents and staff;
- A tiered approach for mental health supports that will capture all students and target intensive help to those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak; and
- Collaboration with child and youth mental health agencies to support stronger connections and make the best use of mental health resources and supports across the integrated system of care.
Additional cleaning protocols are being implemented. These include:
- Heightened cleaning and disinfecting routines for frequently touched surfaces and shared resources such as doorknobs, light switches, toilet and faucet handles, electronic devices, students’ chairs and desks/tabletops;
- Drinking fountains will be disabled;
- No-touch faucets and water filling stations have been installed;
- Weekly fogging disinfectant procedures will take place;
- Following public health advice regarding the type of cleaning and disinfectant products to use; and
- Following the manufacturer’s instructions including with respect to use of PPE.
Daily COVID-19 self-assessment for Students, Staff and Families
In addition to full compliance expectations of our daily EduSafe App submissions for staff and students arriving at school, in order to keep our school community healthy, ongoing self-assessment is also expected by all family members. Some parents may begin to return to their workplaces or families may have additional children who attend other schools. We expect that families monitor the health of all household family members. If members of the same family develop possible symptoms of COVID-19 the following procedures should be followed:
- students must remain at home
- report the absence to the school indicating possible COVID related reasons
- Seek a COVID-19 test and/or follow directives from Public Health
- Wait for the results of the COVID-19 test for the ill family member and follow orders by Public Health
- In the absence of a COVID-19 test for the ill family member, students will be expected to isolate for 14 days even if symptom-free
- Parents/Guardians can also provide documentation from a primary care provider confirming that the illness is not COVID-19 and the student may return to class.
For more information visit Ontario Government COVID-19 Self-Assessment
Testing and contact tracing
MacLachlan College is prepared for the possibility of a student or staff member having a positive test for COVID-19. We have a protocol based on local public health advice that includes:
- A clear notification protocol to public health in the event of a suspected case and positive test result — public health and/or family will know positive results and communicate them to the school;
- Readiness to provide contact information for other students, siblings or staff who would be considered close contacts – we will be able to quickly provide contact information to public health for class cohorts of a student or staff member who receives a positive test result. MacLachlan College will pay enhanced attention to collecting contact information for students and have adapted student and staff information systems, so that contact information is readily available; and
- A close relationship with our local public health unit so that the testing centre that contacts would be directed to is easily identifiable.
Public health will provide guidance on the range of contacts who should be advised to seek testing after a positive test result from student/staff is received or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and will determine any additional steps required, including but not limited to the declaration of an outbreak and closure of classes and/or schools.
The current public health circumstances related to COVID-19 requires schools to prepare for a range of delivery circumstances for the 2020-21 school year. MacLachlan is implementing the following measures in accordance with suggested guidelines and best practices by the Ministry of Education:
- modified school day routines based on smaller class sizes and cohorting to ensure that there is safe and minimal contact with other students
- at home learning option (MacRL2 for PK-Gr.6)
- preparedness to transition to ongoing MacRL1 program (full timetable remote delivery) for all students if required at some point during the school year.
To the greatest extent possible, MacLachlan College is assigning students, teachers and educational assistants to class groupings (cohorts) as they would in a conventional school year, so that class groupings can be maintained despite the form of delivery that is in place at any one time.
There are several timetable and bell schedules developed for groups of cohorts that will allow staggered classes, recess and lunch breaks.
MacLachlan College is opening under adapted conditions that prioritize student and staff health and safety. In this respect, there are two key aspects of health advice: “distancing” and “cohorting”.
“Distancing” refers to the advice that individuals should avoid close personal contact and maintain two (2) metres of separation for any prolonged encounters.
“Cohorting” refers to minimizing the number of students and teachers any individual comes in contact with, and to maintaining consistency in those contacts as much as possible. The purpose of cohorting is to limit the mixing of students and staff so that if a child or employee develops infection, the number of exposures would be reduced. This supports contact tracing, and helps prevent wide-spread shutdowns in the event of an outbreak.
Together, these approaches lead to the adapted delivery model that MacLachlan College:
- maintain small class sizes in a typical cohort; and
- timetabling that allows, to the greatest extent practical, for students to remain in contact with only their cohort and assigned teachers/staff for as much of the school day as possible.
This approach has a number of implications:
- Teachers are preparing lesson plans that can be delivered through live and alternate means using technology. Teachers are also prepared to carry on with their programs through remote learning if there is a further school closure.
- A range of timetabling models has been developed to support cohorting and social distancing.
- Rotary teachers will practice social distancing in the delivery of their programs and make use of outdoor spaces or large space rooms that will be cleaned between use of cohorts.
- Students and teachers will remain in their homeroom and move as a cohort to entrances, exits, or other spaces within the school.
- Where a large class size is receiving course instruction in a specific subject, students will be placed in smaller cohorts and the teacher will use technology to deliver a synchronous program to the entire class. The teacher will share their time between each of the cohorts.
- To enhance physical distancing measures, all shared tables will be equipped with plexiglass shield/guards.
Where classes involve close physical contact between teachers, TA’s and students, guidance is provided in the appended Health and Safety protocol for appropriate use of PPE.
Labs, technical education,
MacLachlan College provides a wide range of educational experiences, and many classes and programs are offered in specialized classrooms. MacLachlan College will make use of large space rooms, or conduct outdoor classes, that will allow these programs to continue to occur while respecting distancing and cohorting approaches. In all cases, cleaning protocols will be aligned with the use of specialized classrooms and equipment.
Where students are engaged in experiential education, MacLachlan College will take into consideration the work environment that the student will be in and could make use of virtual and online options for these programs. Where needed, public health guidance will be sought.
the school environment
Other preparations that MacLachlan College is undertaking include:
- Developing procedures that support general physical distancing, such as spreading students into different areas of the campus; using visual cues on the floor, corridors, bathrooms and outside areas; scheduling recess in cohorts and holding physical education or other classes outdoors.
- Grade 11 and 12 students will be attending school full time at an alternative location close to our main campus to prioritize physical distancing and health and safety requirements for all.
- The school will be closed to visitors inside the school. Meetings with parents and other school staff will occur over the phone or through video conference.
- All school volunteer programs are suspended until further notice.
- Using signage/markings to direct students through the steps for entry and exit of the school building. As well as class appropriate training within each cohort.
- Minimizing the number of personal belongings each student brings to school (e.g., backpack, clothing, sunscreen, etc.) Any items brought to school must be labeled and kept in the child’s designated area.
- Developing cohort guidance for lunch periods, as well as guidance on using shared areas of schools, such as large space rooms and outdoor areas.
- Our optional Lunch Box program will continue but Parents’ Association run Pizza Days and Cupcake Days are not currently planned for the 2020-21 school year.
Child care and
before and after school
- At this time, these programs have been suspended.
- Once these programs resume there will be a clear approach to how students and staff will use shared spaces, including cleaning protocols.
with remote delivery
MacLachlan College is prepared to offer our on-campus students a full remote learning education if there is a campus closure (MacRL1 program). Students registered in MacRL2 will have a specialized timetable for their program and will continue with that schedule. On-campus students that need to move to remote learning due to a campus closure will follow their regular timetables. Some grade and age level modifications will be established during periods of remote learning, however expectations for students to have direct synchronous contact with their teacher on a regular basis will be established. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.
MacLachlan College will make use of grade and age appropriate Learning Management Systems (LMS) through the school year and provide training to all staff and students, to ensure their familiarity and fluency with the LMS, and with school policies on appropriate use, from the start of the school year, so these tools can be used during on-campus lessons and in a time of remote learning. The primary focus of instruction during periods of remote learning will be on the achievement of overall expectations across subjects and grades.
To the greatest extent possible, assessment, evaluation and reporting activities during periods of remote learning will proceed as usual, with a focus on the achievement of overall expectations and the primary purpose of assessment and evaluation being to improve student learning. Where assessment approaches have relied on exams, culminating activities, such as performance tasks, demonstrations, projects, and essays can be used instead to determine students’ grades or marks.
While the 2020-21 school year may look and feel different in many ways, MacLachlan College will continue doing everything we can to support students’ learning, growth and development.
To that end, we will review what students have learned from their experience during the school closure period and to ensure students are well supported for their ongoing learning in the next year or course. We will achieve this by providing content review for students integrated throughout the school year at key instructional times to ensure students have fundamental building blocks before each new unit.
To the greatest extent possible, assessment, evaluation and reporting activities will proceed as usual, with a focus on the achievement of overall expectations and the primary purpose of assessment and evaluation being to improve student learning. Where assessment approaches need to be modified to suit a particular type of learning environment, the teachers will design tasks appropriate to the age and grade level of the students and the use of available technology and resources.
Report cards will continue to be provided for all students, regardless of the method of program delivery, including for those who plan to participate through the MacRL2 remote learning program.
MacLachlan College will ensure that course options for Grade 12 students will allow them to earn compulsory credits required for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), as well as providing access to types of elective courses that support all postsecondary pathway destinations. To that end, the Ministry of Education has confirmed the following (which are subject to change if the Ministry is directed otherwise based on advice by public health authorities):
- Students will be required to earn 40 hours of community involvement hours to graduate in 2020-21. Students should continue to seek out and accumulate community involvement hours as per PPM 124 and MacLachlan College Community Service policy, keeping in mind local public health unit recommendations and the possibility of virtual community involvement.
- Secondary students will be required to complete the literacy graduation requirement to graduate in the 2020-21 school year.
Celebrations, sports and extracurriculars
COVID19 has resulted in the cancellation or delay of milestone events to recognize student achievement, such as proms and graduation ceremonies, and will impact the kinds of sports and extracurricular activities that can safely be offered. Recognizing that these events and activities are an integral part of the school experience for many students, MacLachlan College will attempt to reschedule or restage these events when possible (either in-person or through online options), and resume sports and extracurricular activities that can safely continue based on input from our member organizations and local medical officers of health.
Sport activities may be carefully resumed in a phased approach, depending on the nature and risk level of the sport. The safety and health of students, coaches, officials, and families will be at the forefront of all return to sport decisions. All return to sport guidelines are subject to the guidance of the Ontario Ministries of Education and Health, and local public health authorities. They may change on short notice.
Modifications to games and season schedules will likely be necessary; accordingly, we will be flexible in order to safely engage in athletic activities. For instance:
- Schedules may not be traditional in nature.
- Sports may be played “out of season”.
- Common play dates may be required by sport, age group and/or gender.
- Individual sports will likely return before team sports.
- Age groups may return to play at different times.
- Modifications to game play and rules may be necessary and required.
- Spectators may be limited or not permitted at all.
- Transportation considerations will impact decisions to participate.
- Online coaches meetings will be introduced before sports start in order to review new protocols and expectations.
- MacLachlan College will implement screening procedures for athletes and coaches prior to practices and games.
- Students and coaches will be trained on new protocols.
- MacLachlan College will have thorough procedures in place for management of players or coaches with COVID-19 symptoms, or positive test results.
Additionally, MacLachlan College may consider implementing waivers for participants to execute prior to participating in sport activity.
The phases are conditional on legislation and directives from the Ontario Ministries of Education and Health, and local public health authorities. Phases and activities may be adjusted as necessary. Activities listed at the bottom, under Phase One, will be the first to be re-introduced, while sports under Phase Three will be last.
Online capacity and technology readiness
To meet the needs of students during this time, MacLachlan College is prepared to fluidly transition between online and on-campus modes of learning.
To increase our preparedness for remote learning, we have:
- Provided additional technology and professional development for our staff;
- Ensured platforms are accessible for persons with disabilities;
- Standardized the choice a grade and age appropriate Learning Management Systems (LMS) and providing training to all students and educators, to ensure their familiarity and fluency with the LMS, and with school policies on appropriate use, including issues related to cyber security and privacy;
- Ensured teachers in Upper and Lower Schools are prepared with subject/course specific content, lessons, activities and assignments in the LMS should there be a need to transition at any time from on-campus instruction to remote learning; and
- Ensured that teachers and other educators are prepared to offer age and grade appropriate synchronous learning opportunities to students as a consistent and regular part of their remote learning plan.
Communications to parents
The success of MacLachlan College’s reopening plan will depend in part on parents being informed about new protocols and confident that the approach will keep their children safe. To that end, we will clearly communicate expectations and provide guidelines to parents and students well before inclass instruction resumes, and ongoing throughout the year. Communication strategies could include:
- Prioritizing digital communications, such as fact sheets explaining new protocols and links to helpful information, as well as detailed instructions regarding screening and pickup/dropoff procedures and protocols if a child or staff person becomes ill;
- Considering alternative delivery models for activities such as parent-teacher conferences and school assemblies;
- Providing clear guidelines and procedures for dropoff and pickup to support physical distancing; and
- Providing information for students related to school hours, physical distancing, hand hygiene, remote learning, and resources to support learning and wellbeing at home.
As a result of physical distancing expectations, MacLachlan College’s bus transportation program has been suspended at this time. MacLachlan families are encouraged to consider personal drop-off, car-pooling with other family members or use of alternative transportation companies or Oakville Public Transit. Students car-pooling or using public transportation should consider the use of non-medical face coverings or masks and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer after leaving a vehicle.