Head of School’s Weekly Message
September 4, 2020
Hello UA Parents,
What a week we have had at Urban Academy. It was wonderful to welcome all of our teachers back to campus on Monday. We have had a very productive week as a staff team: we spent time training on the new health and safety protocols for the return to school plan as well as planning and collaborating for the year ahead, we welcomed our newest and youngest students (JK, K, Gr 1) to campus for short visits to meet their teachers and see their classrooms, and we launched our Virtual Back to School Celebration that everyone will have seen yesterday.
The energy and excitement of the teachers are palpable, it is evident that they are ready to welcome students back on Tuesday for face-to-face learning. I hope you were all able to get a sense of the work and preparation the staff and teachers have put in through the cohort welcome videos and the individual teacher videos that welcomed students to their homerooms.
We also received confirmation from the Ministry of Education this week that our return to school plan was approved. So you will be able to find the most up-to-date plan on our website. We will highlight any changes to the restart protocols when they are made. We do have one notable change to the restart plan as was suggested by the Provincial Health Officer this week in the Province’s updated operation guidelines. Our students in Grades 5 through 12 are required to wear non-medical masks in high-traffic areas such as buses when arriving and leaving the campus, and in common areas such as hallways, or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained. However, there has been a change in direction for our students in JK to Grade 4. The following is the guideline from the Ministry of Education and the PHO:
“Non-medical masks are not recommended for elementary school students due to the increased likelihood they will touch their face and eyes, as well as require assistance to properly put on and take off their mask (requiring increased close personal contact from school staff).”
Wearing a non-medical mask, face-covering, or face shield in schools outside of the circumstances outlined above is a personal choice for students and adults. It is important to treat people wearing masks with respect. Those who choose to wear non-medical masks, face coverings, or face shields must still seek to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group. There must be no crowding, gathering, or congregating of people from different learning groups, even if non-medical masks are worn.
I am very excited to be welcoming our students back to campus next Tuesday. I am really looking forward to meeting all of them for the first time in most cases. While the school routines may be a little different this year, the same level of care and compassion you have come to expect from our UA teachers and staff will be afforded to your children. Our education program will be running in full with small adjustments to keep everyone safe. I am confident that this is going to be another wonderful year at UA.
Enjoy the last long weekend of the summer.
Head of School