August 26, 2020

School Restart Plan – Introduction & Overview

Dear VCS Parents,

I am excited to present our September Stage-2 Back-to-school Plan.  We appreciate your patience, knowing that you have been anxiously awaiting details about what school restart will look like.  This memo is intended to introduce and provide a brief overview of the VCS September Restart Plan.  Please review the links below and visit our website for complete information.  Additional, general back-to-school info such as class placements and calendar updates, etc. will be posted on our website Friday, August 28, including an email from your child’s classroom teacher for grades K-6.

Stage-2 Back-to-School & Our Mission 

Equipping students for a life of discipleship by providing excellent education in a Christ-centered community

Our implementation of BC’s Education Restart Plan continues to be built on our calling as a school to partner with parents in equipping their children with skills and knowledge to follow and serve Christ.  At this time in our community and around the world, children are facing unique challenges to their wellbeing and their learning.  The pandemic has produced health-risk, isolation, and disruption in many of our students’ families; there is also political and social unrest that adds to a context of tension around them.  Our children need to know – now more than ever! – that God loves them passionately, that this world is His and He rules as a gracious and powerful King.  He has a specific place and purpose for each child that is beyond their wildest imagination, and He offers forgiveness and wholeness, inviting each child to walk side-by-side with Him and His people in renewing the earth.  This is what a VCS education is built on, and we are thrilled to be able to continue this journey with you as a Christ-centered community in 2020-21.

It is safe and critical for students to return to school

  • Students are returning to school because it has been deemed safe to do so by the Ministry of Education and Public Health Authority (PHO):
  • The PHO has confirmed stable COVID-19 infection rates, prompting “Stage-2” of the Provinces 5-Stage Education Plan.
  • Compared to some other community settings, schools are considered ‘controlled environments’ in that they have a comprehensive set of safety measures in place, a consistent and limited group of people accessing the building, and the majority of those people are children who are at lower risk for transmitting COVID-19. The combination of these features reduces the risk of bringing more children and youth together in schools” (p.6, COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines).
  • Having students in the classroom helps to minimize learning gaps and provide the academic, social and emotional supports essential for learning” (5-Stage Framework for K-12 Education).  Recognizing that 2/3 of BC students have been out of school for 175 days, the Ministry of Education’s target is for full-time instruction for all students for the maximum instructional time possible within cohort limits.

Key Principles of VCS’s back-to-school Health and Safety Plan

  • Our school restart plan is built on the following pillars of the Ministry of Education’s guidelines:
    • Organization of all students and staff in learning groups or “cohorts”
    • Physical distancing protocols, including staggered drop-off/pick-up and break schedules, and designated entrances/exits for each cohort
    • Rigorous health & safety protocols including required use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at certain times and places for staff, secondary students and visitors, and strict health assessment procedures
    • Enhanced hygiene & cleaning protocols 

Remote or “home-based” learning for vulnerable learners

  • Under Stage-2 of the provincial guidelines, “students who are enrolled in brick-and-mortar schools are expected to attend school in-person unless they are sick(Attendance Requirements). 
  • However, schools have some flexibility in providing alternatives for vulnerable learners based on medical or specific learning needs:
  • Health-related risk of a student – parents of students who are immune-compromised or have underlying medical conditions should consult with their health care provider to determine their level of risk regarding return to school.  If a medical professional determines that a student cannot attend school due to health risks, contact school administration to review alternative learning options for your child.
  • Health-related risk within immediate family –  if a student’s school attendance presents a significant health-related risk within the immediate family, supported by recommendations by a health care professional, parents should contact school administration to review alternate learning options (e.g. parent or sibling in the home undergoing cancer treatment).
  • Unique learning support needs –  If a special education or learning assistance program student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) requires home-based learning, parents should contact the Educational Support Services Coordinator to review learning options (dallen@vcs.ca)

Note: If you require a remote learning program, please contact one of the following administrators for further information:

Curriculum and Instruction

  • VCS’s curriculum continues to use “Teaching-for-Transformation” as a distinctly Christian worldview approach to the BCEdPlan K-12.
  • Teaching practice and professional development will continue to be responsive to the unique current context for learning:
  • Building capacity & comfort for movement between stages 1-5
  • Pursuing consistency and accessibility through digital platforms such as Google Classroom & Zoom for all students who are self-isolating or on a home-based learning program 
  • Prioritizing K-12 “Connective practices” to build healthy, supportive student and staff relationships and community
  • Increasing focus on social & emotional learning needs
  • Most specialty curriculum areas can continue to be offered: (e.g. Fds, Technology Education, PE, Music)
  • Special Education
  • Students with disabilities or diverse needs will continue to have access to and receive the same supports and services they had prior to the pandemic.

Financial challenges & Tuition Assistance 

  • VCS has created a robust tuition assistance budget for 2020-21 to ensure that families can remain a part of our community even as they are experiencing financial limitations.  If you have been significantly impacted in your capacity to pay tuition, please contact Rosemary Kumlin, Business Administrator (rkumlin@vcs.ca)

Deep Hope

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

    How unsearchable his judgments,

    and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

    Or who has been his counselor?”

“Who has ever given to God,

    that God should repay them?”

For from him and through him and for him are all things.

    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

(Romans 11: 33-36 NIV)

With all that is unfolding in the world around us, I pray that as a community we can find peace and joy in knowing that God’s wisdom is unsearchable and so far beyond us – and yet, we can be confident that He is good and that all things are from Him, through Him and for Him, working for the good of those who love him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Note: The VCS Back-to-School Restart Plan is pending final Ministry of Education approval. Revisions or updates will be posted as soon as possible as required.

Blessings,

Matt Driediger

Principal

Additional Resources: (links)

Elementary Campus

    • Morning Start
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday  8:25
      • Tuesday/Thursday  8:55
    • Lunch
      • K – Grade 2 → Out 12:00 – 12:30 Eat 12:30 – 12:45
      • Grade 3 – 6 → Eat 12:15 – 12:30  Out 12:30 – 1:00
    • Dismissal 
      • K – Grade 2 → 2:45 
      • Grade 3 – 6 → 2:50

* Designated outdoor spaces have been created for cohorts

Secondary Campus

    • Morning Start
      • Monday – Wednesday – Friday  8:35
      • Tuesday – Thursday  9:05
    • Lunch
        • Grade 7 – 9 →  11:40 – 12:10
        • Grade 10 – 12 → 12:15 – 12:45
    • Dismissal  3:00

                            Wednesdays

      • Chapel → 9:55 – 10:35
      • MS Lunch → 11:55 – 12:25
      • HS Lunch 12:30 – 1:00

*MS and HS Timetables will be available on MySchool September 8th


Traffic Flow and Parking

VCS Parking Lot

  • Lane 1: designated lane to the Preschool and K-2/Appointment Parking Spots
  • Lane 2: for merging in/out of the drop-off/pick-up lane
  • Lane 3: drop-off/pick-up only lane
Please review the following information regarding our parking/pick-up/drop-off procedures:
  • For drop-off/pick-up, please drive as far ahead as possible (towards the playground) to allow cars behind to pull up 
  • Children should be ready (shoes on, pack ready, etc.) when entering Lane 3
  • Please have children exit/enter the vehicle on the passenger side whenever possible
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended in any of the Lanes
  • Do not stop on crosswalks at any time
  • The Upper Parking Lot is for our Preschool and K-2 Parents who are picking up their child from the building or for parents/guests with an appointment
  • When exiting the parking lot, please turn right between 8:00AM-3:30PM
  • Cell phones should never be used while driving
  • Traffic attendants will help direct vehicles & pedestrians during drop-off and pick-up
  • Reserved parking spots will be removed for the time being

*This is a trial. Thank you for your patience as we work for an effective and efficient start and end to the school day.

Student Drop-off & Pick-up Schedule

Drop-off (M/W/F)
  • Elementary Campus  8:10 – 8:20 am drop-off 
  • Secondary Campus  8:20 – 8:30 am drop-off 
Drop-off (Tu/Th)
  • Elementary Campus  8:40 – 8:50 am drop-off 
  • Secondary Campus  8:50 – 9:00 am drop-off
Pick-up 
  • Elementary Campus Students Only  2:45 – 3:00 pm pick-up
  • Secondary Campus Only  3:10 – 3:25 pm pick-up

 

*If you have children at both campuses:
  • Drop-off: arrive at the Elementary Campus  drop-off time
  • Pick-up: arrive at the Secondary Campus pick-up time

 

8:00 – 8:25 am – Outdoor supervision begins at EC Playground for K-Grade 2 students and Outdoor Play Areas for Grade 3-6 students.
Note: Secondary students are required to wear their masks at drop-off before they enter the school and at the end of the day while waiting for parent pick-up.
Thank you for your patience! We will continue to work for an effective and efficient start and end to the school day.

Student Entrances & Exits

 

    • Elementary Campus  External door to each classroom
    • Grade 7 – 9  South entrance & portables
    • Grade 10  Main entrance
    • Grade 11 – 12  North entrance

*All exterior doors will be locked 10 min. after school start.

  • EC students: Report to classroom door if late with parent and sign-in at classroom
  • SC Students: Contact front office for access and sign-in

 

Day-End Staggered Dismissal

Elementary Campus

    • 2:45 pm: Preschool & Kindergarten – Parents pick-up students at exterior door (physical distancing is encouraged)
    • 2:45 pm: Grade 1 – 2 – Students report to parent in parking lot or parent may pick-up students in playground
    • 2:50 pm: Grade 3 – 6 – Students report to parent in parking lot
2:45 – 3:15 pm – Outdoor supervision will be present at the EC Playground (for Gr. 1-2 students) and pick-up area/crosswalk

Secondary Campus

    • 3:00 pm: Dismissal

* EC Outdoor Areas are closed to students after school. It is important that all EC students are picked up by 3:00 to ensure space for our Secondary dismissal. All students and parents are expected to leave campus as soon as possible after dismissal to support physical distancing measures

All staff and students who have symptoms of COVID-19 OR have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR were identified as a close contact of a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must stay home and self-isolate in accordance with guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

    • Parents and caregivers must assess their child daily for symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school. 
    • VCS will provide a Daily Health Check Form to all parents & guardians for guidance. Link: Daily Health Check Form
    • If a child has any symptoms, they must not go to school. 
    • ANY student, staff, or other person within the school who has cold, influenza, or COVID-19-like symptoms should seek assessment by a health-care provider.
    • Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household has cold, influenza, or COVID-19-like symptoms, provided the student/staff is asymptomatic. It is expected the symptomatic household member is seeking assessment by a health-care provider.
    • Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms, which are related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal. If they experience any change in symptoms they should seek assessment by a health-care provider.
    • If staff or any adult has any symptoms, they must not enter the school. 

 

Visitor Access/Community Use

Visitor access during school hours will be prioritized to parents and those supporting activities that benefit student learning and well-being (e.g. public health nurses, program volunteers, etc.). VCS will keep a list of the date, names, and contact information for any visitors who enter the school. 

  • Appointments must be made prior to arrival.
  • All visitors must perform a Daily Health Check prior to entering.
  • All visitors must sanitize upon entry (sanitizer provided) 
  • Masks are required in all common areas (hallways, restrooms, admin offices) and are available if needed.
Elementary Campus (Gr.K-6) cohorts will be comprised of no more than 60 people
  • Kindergarten
  • Grade 1 and 2
  • Grade 1 – 2 and 3 – 4a
  • Grade 3 – 4b and 3 – 4c
  • Grade 5 = 25 students and staff
  • Grade 5 – 6 and 6 = 49 students and staff
Secondary Campus (Gr.7-12) cohorts will be comprised of no more than 120 people:
  • Grade 7 – 9 
  • Grade 10 – 12 

Students will be required to wash hands frequently but especially:

  • Immediately upon entering the school and before leaving at the end of the day
  • Immediately after sneezing, coughing, using a tissue
  • Immediately after using the toilet
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty
  • When moving between different learning environment (eg. outdoor-indoor transitions)
  • Before and after eating, drinking, food preparation, handling contact lenses, etc

*If a sink is not available (eg. when entering the school at the start of the day), alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be provided. Students may bring their own sanitizer or plain soap if they are on the list authorized by Health Canada or have a medical condition that requires specialized soaps. (See the List of Hand Sanitizers Authorized by Health Canada for products that have met Health Canada’s requirements and provide details to the office.)

Personal Protective Equipment

Per the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings, Secondary students, all staff and visitors are required to wear non-medical masks when in high traffic areas such as buses and in common areas such as hallways, or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Students are required to wear their masks at drop-off before they enter the school and at the end of the day while waiting for parent pick-up.
  • VCS will provide 2 reusable masks per student and staff. If needed, visitors will be provided with a disposable mask. 
  • If a student has their own face mask that they would prefer to wear while at VCS, they may do so provided that any graphics/illustrations on the mask are appropriate for VCS. 
  • No student needs to wear a mask if they do not tolerate it. 
  • Students will have the choice to wear a mask in the classroom if that is their personal preference. 

Guide: How to Wear a Face Mask

Physical Distancing & Limited Physical Contact

Elementary Students

When interacting with peers outside of their learning groups, students should:

  • Minimize physical contact when outdoors;
  • Maintain physical distance (2m) when indoors. If a student is unable to physically distance, the student should socialize within their learning group or where they can be supported to physically distance.
Secondary Students
  • When interacting with their peers outside of their learning group, students should maintain physical distance (2m). 
  • Secondary school students capable of consistently maintaining physical distance, when it is required, are expected to do so. If a student is unable to physically distance, the student should socialize within their learning group or where they can be supported to physically distance.

Eating

  • Students will eat in their designated rooms or outdoors where permitted.
  • Sharing of all food and drinks, including homemade foods like birthday treats or bake-sale items, will not be permitted.
  • Microwaves will be unavailable.

Leaving Campus

Students with their own personal vehicle will not be permitted to leave and return to campus throughout the day. Personal appointments (e.g. medical) are exempt from this and must be communicated to their teacher for approval prior to leaving.

We have confirmed continuation with our bus service contractor for full-time before and after school busing for students, including First Nations and students with diverse abilities.  Busing Protocols and procedures are being updated according to the K-12 Health Guidelines and relevant Transport Canada regulations.  Updated procedures and expectations will be added to the school’s Parent Handbook for busing. 

Please contact the Elementary Campus office for more information about our busing schedule and fees. ecoffice@vcs.ca

All parents and staff are required to use the following checklist to a complete a daily health assessment before coming to school
Click for printable form ↑

↓Please click on link for printable PDF↓

Remote or “home-based” learning for vulnerable learners

Independent schools have been authorized to utilize remote learning supports to ensure continuity of learning for students during temporary in-class absences. Therefore, VCS is prepared to provide a remote, home learning program for students based on medical or specific learning needs, or due to other complex situations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: If you would like to inquire about a remote learning program for your child, please contact the Principal for further information: Matt Driediger (mdriediger@vcs.ca)

Dear SC Parents and students,

Throughout 2019-20, the VCS Education Committee worked closely with administration to review and propose updates to our technology use policy, specifically in the area of cell phones and other personal handheld devices.  After engaging with the parent community and Board and collaborating with staff, the following appendix has been added to our Technology-Use Policy.  We are pleased to introduce changes to cell-phone use that we know have strong support from the overwhelming majority of VCS parents and staff, and that we are confident will help us continue to develop a healthy, engaged, Christ-centered community in our Secondary Campus.

PERSONAL HANDHELD DEVICES  

(effective September 8, 2020)

We believe that computing technology is an essential tool for teachers and students.  Therefore, in our effort to deliver a relevant, future-focused and engaging educational program, we are committed to providing and supporting the use of web-based computer technology.  We are also committed to providing explicit instruction on how to use such technology ethically and responsibly from a Biblical perspective, including mobile devices.  However, we believe that our school community is best served by limiting the use of and access to personal handheld devices throughout the school day, as they present distractions and obstacles to the kind of engaged learning and connected, Christ-centered community we desire for our student body.  

We believe that the entire school day is an important time for students to be fully present and engaged in the school community – during classroom learning, and also with peers and staff during non-instructional times – therefore, the following limitations apply to student use of personal hand-held devices, and we expect parents to partner with us in this:  

Grades 7-10
  • Students may bring personal handheld devices (cell phones, game consoles, and other mobile devices such as iPods) to school for use before and/or after school.
  • Personal devices must be turned off and stored in lockers or bags, out of access during school hours (8:35 am – 3:00 pm).  Students may not use personal handheld devices for any reason during the school day, including breaks and school-related trips. 
Grades 11-12
  • Students may bring personal handheld devices (cell phones, game consoles, and other mobile devices such as iPods) to school for use before and/or after school, and during non-instructional breaks (in recognition that mobile devices serve as a tool to support the increased responsibility level of senior students).
  • Devices must be  turned off and stored in lockers or bags, out of access during instructional time.
Administration may permit exceptions or adaptations to the expectations above on a case-by-case basis.  

Examples include:

  • recommendation by staff to support the diverse educational or personal needs of individual students
  • upon request due to exceptional personal or family circumstances
  • for specific school trips and educational activities
Consequences
  • When any staff member observes a student with a device during a restricted time, it will be confiscated, held at the office, and returned at the end of the school day.
  • If a student is repeatedly uncooperative in meeting expectations for device use, parents will be contacted to discuss further consequences.  
VCS assumes no responsibility for loss, damage or theft of student devices.

Note: These handheld device limitations and procedures will be reviewed by Administration at the end of 2020-21

We are excited to have students back on campus, and as we know it is not how we imagined it would be, but we are SO thankful we can be together!

Some of our start-up & school events will need to be reimagined and others will need to be postponed.

  • Middle & High School Retreats 
    Our middle and high school staff teams are exploring options for a possible day retreat or other school-year start-up event for our SC students.  This will obviously look different than the past but we are excited to “kick-off” our new school year with a fun shared experience.  Please stay tuned as details and venue info are forthcoming.
  • Ice Cream SocialCancelled
  • Hot Lunch & Pizza Day at EC & SCPostponed
  • SportsDetails to come
  • “Lion King” PerformancePostponed to April 2021