COVID Specific Questions
What is the protocol if someone in the school gets infected? Who gets informed and how? Who follows the protocol — the class, the whole cohort, or the whole school?
Guidance is passed down from Vancouver Coastal Health (“VCH”) to the Vancouver School Board (“VSB”) to Van Horne. VCH works in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, BCCDC (Dr. Henry), among others. In general, VCH tracks positive cases and will share pertinent information with the VSB as needed. If a Van Horne child tests positive, for example, the VCH will share the information with the VSB. Then, Mr. Leung will get a call requesting the names and phone numbers of those in close contact with the infected child. The VCH is responsible for contact tracing.
If the VCH determines that there was no exposure at school, Mr. Leung will receive no further directives and no letter will be sent home. If VCH determines there was some exposure, phone calls will be made to relevant families. If there was greater or unknown exposure, a letter will go out. In the case of wide exposure, the information will be published on the VCH website. If exposure was minimal, the general public won’t be informed. Each situation will be managed on a case-by-case basis.
The school board has an obligation to protect the privacy of students and their families; sharing too many details about a COVID case could cause unnecessary shaming or negative stigma for the infected child or family.
See http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/school-exposures for more information.
The self-assessment checklist has changed. If a child has one symptom on the list (not fever), then the child needs to remain home for 24 hours from the onset of the symptom; after 24 hours, the child can go back to school if the symptom has improved. If the child has two or more symptoms on the list — or has a fever — the child should stay home and seek advice from a healthcare provider or call 8-1-1. If the child is advised to take a COVID test, the child must stay home until a negative result has been confirmed.
There is no guidance on what people do outside of school. There are many kids who participate in sports and extracurricular activities, and the VSB or BCCDC has no say in the matter.
Call 8-1-1 or speak to a personal healthcare provider for guidance. There are instances in which a family member with COVID is successfully isolated at home and a child from the same household who isn’t sick can come to school.
Learning Groups / Cohorts
“Learning cohorts” are determined by the teachers. For example, a Grade 7 class could decide to become a cohort with another Grade 7 class or with a kindergarten “buddy” class. Each cohort has a maximum of 60 people, including teachers. Once established, the cohort can’t be changed, with some exceptions (e.g. a child moves to a new school).
All classes have been divided into two groups. Currently there are approximately 165 students in each group. If all students attend, there will be about 195 students in each group.
Probably not. The determination of which classes ended up on the same recess/lunch schedule was mostly a function of other scheduling needs, such as music and PE schedules, so changing the schedule will be too difficult. After winter break, the groups will flip schedules: Schedule A goes to Schedule B and vice versa. The staff will discuss at this time if some mixing of schedules can occur.
Drop-off / Pick-up Questions
If you are with the child, go to the front entrance gate and give the office a call. Send your child to the front door where an office staff member will meet them and take them to their classroom.
What happens if a child/children/siblings walk to school together without a parent and they are late? There’s no one to call the office, so what’s the protocol?
A student can come in with any other class or any adult staff member who will make sure the student’s hands are sanitized. If the child arrives after 9:00 am, when all the classes have already gone inside, but before 9:10 am, the child should wait at the front door. Mr. Leung will check the front door for latecomers at 9:10 am. If the child arrives later than 9:10am, the student should come into the building and immediately sanitize their hands at the automatic sanitizer station, located just inside the main doors, before heading into the main office.
Can we make a plan with teachers to release kids on the opposite side of the school to accommodate sibling pick ups?
Yes, of course! However, the easiest approach would be to train one of your children to walk to meet you at the location where you are waiting to pick up the other child.
Classroom teachers are expected to go inside at 9:00 am. Sometimes the school bell doesn’t match our clocks/watches and it seems as though the teacher has gone in too early. If you have this experience, it’s best to reach out to the teacher directly by email to clarify the situation. Note: If the entire class arrives before 9:00 am, the teacher will bring the class in early to help alleviate traffic congestion.
Is there a possibility of closing 43rd Avenue (the side street with the ramp) for school drop off and pick up?
We are open to investigating that possibility with the City of Vancouver should we need to. In the meantime, please don’t allow children to cross the road except at appropriate crosswalks. Parents may stand across the street, but once the child is released, agree in advance with the child that you will walk and meet at the appropriate crosswalk location.
What is the procedure if you have to pick up your child during the day and return the child later for an appointment?
Parents aren’t allowed to enter the building to pick up the child. Instead, the parent should inform the child's teacher in advance by note or email. At the appropriate time, the child will be sent to the office. A staff member will bring the child out to meet the parent at the school’s front entrance gate on Ontario Street.
When you return the child, bring the child to the front gate, let them walk to the front door alone, and call the office. A staff member will come and pick up the child and ensure they have correctly sanitized their hands before going to their classroom.
A daily delivery of lunches isn’t allowed, but in the off-chance that a lunch is forgotten, the child won’t go hungry. The school has a small supply of canned foods for this purpose. Incidentally, we will happily accept donations of canned food to keep the stocks replenished.
Alternatively, parents can drop off the lunch by bringing it to the front entrance gate and then calling the office. A staff member will come to the gate to receive the food and deliver it to the child.
Staff must wash their hands between helping each student, which takes a lot of time. It’s best if parents use containers that children can easily open on their own, but if a child needs help, they will get it.
How much time do the kids have to eat their morning snack and lunch? What if kids need more time to eat?
If there are children who need more time to eat, they have the opportunity to finish eating in front of the office (for supervision purposes). This is the exact protocol we have followed in the past; we recognize that people eat at different speeds, and we make accommodations.
While we don’t encourage students to eat outside because of choking hazards and littering concerns, we are fine with students eating outside when absolutely necessary.
No. These periods of time are when sanitation takes place. Unless there is severe weather, students need to be outside to allow the custodial staff to clean.
Children should bring an extra change of clothes (shirt, pants, underwear, jacket, socks, and shoes) and keep it at the school for the year. Items should be replaced as they are used.
No. Van Horne is a nut-free school.
No. Students in kindergarten must play out front. This keeps kindergartners safe from larger/older kids, who may kick around balls, play roughly, or run fast in groups.
Classroom / School Questions
The school board has provided all custodians and building engineers with a “must-do” checklist that is to be followed. The district has also provided appropriate additional materials to be used in cleaning/sanitizing.
There are three cones for each washroom downstairs and one cone for each washroom upstairs (boys and girls). When a child goes in, they kick one of the cones into the entrance of the washroom. When a child leaves the washroom, they kick a cone back out. If all three cones are in the washroom, then the washroom is full; the next child to arrive has to wait for a turn to go in.
With windows and doors open to promote air flow, will the school be turning on the heat as the weather gets colder/wetter?
The VSB policy for this year is to encourage open windows at all times, with the HVAC system operating 24 hours a day. Kids and staff are expected to dress accordingly.
Some kids who have brought extra clothes/shoes to school have been bringing them home every day because there doesn’t seem to be a place to put them in the classroom.
Students should be able to put their items in the cloak area or a locker, if they have one. The only reason to bring the extra clothes home is if they get used/soiled. If kids get very wet and they don’t have a change of clothes at school, the office staff will likely call the parents to request a change of clothes.
The earthquake bin should contain all items on the standard list of supplies; the district is responsible for the upkeep on basic food/water and other necessary supplies.
Meet-the-Teacher night will be arranged according to each teacher’s preference.
Yes, they will be held virtually. Additionally, each teacher will have the option to spread the meetings over several weeks due to the lengthier nature of online meetings.
What is the school’s plan for Halloween? Are kids encouraged to dress up? Can Halloween treat bags be handed out?
We haven’t discussed this yet.
Sadly, Workshop Wednesdays have been postponed in order to abide cohort expectations.
Bring the matter directly to your child’s teacher first. If the matter remains unresolved, you can reach out to the principal. For assistance with advocating, you can reach out to any PAC executive.
Option 4 / Transitional Student Questions
No. The VSB doesn't want any movement from Option 4 to 1, or vice versa. However, the principal will examine each student on a case-by-case basis; email Mr. Leung directly.
Option 4 didn’t start until the third week of school. Each teacher is free to determine what kind of assignments to give and the method. The VSB has directed teachers to use MS Teams when possible and to prioritize language arts and math. Please note that Option 4 isn’t a program; it is only intended as transition support. It looks nothing like June’s hybrid model.
Parents were instructed to use Option 4 if they were comfortable being responsible for their child’s education. If a parent has any concerns, it’s best to contact the child’s teacher directly.
If Option 4 doesn’t appear robust, it is because the Minister of Education has determined that schools are safe and the expectation is that all students will attend in person. Option 4 was a plan developed by our school district to provide more options for parents.
It is up to each family to make a decision that is best for them.
If the child falls behind due to a lack of materials, does it mean more "work" for teachers and the school system on their return to the in-person classroom?
Of course, it always takes hard work to help a student advance their learning. If a parent has concerns, it’s best to raise them directly with the individual teacher as each teacher has a unique program and their own way of instructing.
This fee, $35 per student and payable through the school’s online payment system, is used to purchase basic school supplies (paper, writing tools, erasers, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, exercise books, etc.) for all students. The school board waives the fee if there is a need due to financial hardship. Please contact Mr. Leung to request a waiver.
Every family is assigned a colour — Yellow, Green, Red, Purple — when they start at Van Horne. Membership to this “house” is valid for the duration of the student’s time at Van Horne. House colours are used to promote “school spirit” and participation in community initiatives, such as the recent Bike-to-School event.
The intention of this form, found on our website, is for parents to record incidents involving their children as soon as possible after they happen. It is an effective reporting method because it captures details and helps staff act quickly. However, students are still encouraged to report incidents at school to an adult as soon as they happen rather than waiting until they get home.
If the incident occurs during recess or lunch, urge the child to inform the supervision aid. If it is happening in the classroom, tell the child to inform the teacher. Parents can also discuss the situation with the child’s teacher or the principal.
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