August brings one of my most favourite times of the year. In a way, it’s bittersweet because I know we get one last month of warm summer air. But I also get to welcome you all back to school in a few short weeks. It is hard to believe that it is already this time of year and the summer is quickly coming to a close. It seems as if a few mere moments ago we wrapped up our distance learning program and began summer camp.
I recognize that this back to school season is going to feel very different and strange for many families. Many of us are feeling anxious about the “what-ifs” as we enter this school year.
If there is one thing I want to stress to you all of you it is this – we’ve weathered the storm and we are stronger, more determined and have never been more ready to welcome you all back. In fact, we’ve never left your side and have not stopped working for this school community. And because of that determination and your support, we rose above the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought us. And, to be honest, I am more excited than any previous back to school season and you should be too.
Bring it on 2020-2021 school year!
When our campus closed following March Break we had to think quickly and act even more swiftly. I knew we couldn’t leave families in a lurch. Not only was the continued academic success of our students important but giving each child (no matter how small) reassurance they weren’t abandoned was our top priority – and the distance learning program offered this. It served its purpose as a bridge to when we can gather again safely; and now the time has come to do so.
Since March, we have worked countless hours to ensure that this transition is as easy, safe and healthy as possible for you and your children. Not to brag, but we’ve always been leaders when it comes to school-based health and safety. We were one of the only schools (or daycares) pre-COVID-19 where our Health and Illness Policy indicated that children cannot attend school if they showed any signs of illness (got a runny nose? Cough? Sorry, can’t attend school!). Pre-COVID-19, we were also lauded for having a full-time cleaner in our staffing arsenal that was dedicated to sterilizing and keeping spaces clean at all times.
With all that we did before, we have gone above and beyond the Ministry’s requirements for reopening safely. When your child returns you will see the following protocols in place:
- PPE worn by all staff
- Mandatory masks for students grade one and up (provincial standard is grade four)
- Social distancing measures in place
- Children will be asked to wash hands frequently with touchless soap and hand sanitizer stations
- Constant cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic areas by staff
- Temperature and health checks to be completed daily and upon entry into the school
- Reconfigured entrance and exit points to minimize hallway traffic and congestion
- More outdoor time utilizing our beautiful campus and all it has to offer
This is just the tip of the iceberg. As the year goes on, we will adapt and change as needed. We have proven time and time again that MSK is ready to take on any task that is necessary to keep everyone here safe. This is an incredible school community that is resilient and one that truly cares about the well-being of one another.
Simply put, we look out for each other. That is just what we do at MSK.
We are grateful for the outpouring of support and dedication we have received from our school community. This school is just a structure but what makes MSK so unique is each and every one of you. Each child plays an important role in making MSK what it is – they are our heart and soul. And now, we are grateful that the time has finally come for students to return safety and fill the school with joy again.
In the meanwhile, we will continue to get ready for our students. This means more training, preparation and planning is in the works. Come September 8 when you drop off your child, I want you to feel secure and happy you chose MSK and I know we will not let you down.
Enjoy the last few weeks of what summer has to offer and I can’t wait to kick off our 19th year of operation with you.