August 24 – More Details on School Start-up

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Dear Parents/Guardians.

We are excited to welcome students back in September for in-class instruction. Our safety plans are in place so that students receive their education in a safe and healthy setting. We are beginning school with a staggered entry with small student groups to learn and practice health and safety routines. Hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene will be emphasized.

  • Thursday September 10th – We are only inviting students whose last name begins with the letters A to L to come to school.

  • Friday, September 11th – We are only inviting students whose last name begins with the letters M to Z to come to school.

  • Monday, September 14th – All students attend school

Students will mainly be in their classrooms as they were before the pandemic. At the elementary schools, the only time that students will join with another assigned class, called a cohort, will be outside at recess and lunch play times or in areas assigned in the school for In Day play times.

There may be times that your child receives extra support in reading, math or in other areas of school. At times, they may be in a small group, working with the Student Services Resource Teacher or an Educational Assistant. The Student Services Resource Teacher and Educational Assistant will be wearing a mask or be behind a plexiglass barrier. In addition, you can also request that your child wears a mask when working in a small group or at any time.

At the Secondary School, the timetable has been adjusted so that high school students are in three learning groups: Grade 8/9, Grade 10, and Grade 11/12. These three Learning Groups have been assigned entrances and areas of the school to assist with physical distancing and hallway traffic. Academic courses have been arranged so that students will mainly not have to move from their assigned classrooms, instead the teacher will move between classrooms. There will be some movement and mixing of Learning Groups for electives. We have ensured that students have physical distancing in all of these classrooms and any teacher or Educational Assistant working with more than one Learning Group will wear a mask.

Mid-day cleaning has been added at all in-town schools so that high touch surfaces will be cleaned twice per day. Furnace filters are changed on a regular schedule and will be changed before school start up. As well, all in-town schools have heating monitored and adjusted remotely by the Director of Facilities for as much fresh air exchange as possible, depending on weather conditions.

If your children are taking the bus, we are asking that students in Grades 5 to 12 wear masks on the bus. Two re-useable masks will be provided. Students will receive safety training on wearing, cleaning, and storing the masks. The question that has been received most frequently from parents has been, “What will happen if my child is sick?” The significant change is that we are asking that parents assess their child’s health before sending them to school. A Health Check Form will be sent home for you to use. If your child is sick, they must stay home, not come to school, or ride the bus. If they are sick at school, they will wait in the school’s medical/sick room, and you will be called to pick them up. We are going to be entering the usual cold and flu
season and children and adults will get sick. We are asking that if your child is sick that they stay home until they are well and not showing any symptoms. Your doctor can advise you how long you should keep them at home, or you can phone 8-1-1 for advice. For any COVID-19 cases, Public Health are in charge and would advise you on how long you would need to isolate at home. They would advise the school on next steps in regard to cleaning and contact tracing.

If you have School Start Up questions, please send them to or contact your child’s school. More information from schools will be coming out soon to keep you informed.

It is important to know who will be attending their school in September so please fill in the Back to School survey on our Facebook or District Webpage. This survey can be completed here:

We are looking forward to having a great school year.

Yours truly,
Diana Samchuck
SD 81 Nelson