FAQs – What You Need To Know
Knowing what to expect as we move through the protocols required to keep your children safe has prompted us to create a FAQ section with particular information on our COVID-19 response.
Will the school be offering in-person learning in September?
Yes! We are happy to be able to offer full-day in-person learning for all students. Our school day will run from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm with an optional Afternoon Extended Care Program until 5:00 pm. We have staggered arrival and dismissal times per class to minimize interaction between families and students.
When will the school be open?
We have had a busy summer planning and are ready and looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming our students back to school on September 8, 2020.
How many students will be in each classroom?
We are a small school community and offer a carefully controlled environment with no more than only 115 children per campus at full capacity. Our class sizes vary across levels & ages, depending on classroom sizes, to allow for physical distancing within classrooms. We are starting the school year with a reduced capacity in each room and will continue to monitor throughout the year. Students will be grouped into limited cohorts of their own classrooms and will not intermingle.
What health and safety measures are being implemented by the school to ensure the safety of students and staff for when in-person learning resumes?
We have been carefully monitoring announcements and updates from the Ministry of Education and Toronto Public health and are confident in our plans to keep our community healthy. Prior to the start of school, all staff have received additional relevant training. Features of our reopening plan include; daily screening upon entry at 4 different screening areas with staggered start times per class to avoid crowding, only students and staff are permitted to enter the school; no visitors, hand hygiene will be demonstrated frequently, with many (monitored) Hand Hygiene Breaks woven into each day for all staff and students. All of our staff, as well as our students in Grade 4 and up will be required to wear face masks throughout the day while indoors. There will also be enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of high touch surfaces throughout the school and of materials and activities within the classrooms at least twice daily. Please refer to our COVID-19 Health & Safety Procedures Guidance Sheet for more details.
Will the school be practicing physical distancing?
Physical distancing will be encouraged in classrooms, on the playground and in common areas through scheduling and the use of markers and directional arrows, along with regular discussion, modelling and monitoring.
What will a school day look like in the return to "new normal"?
We are committed to providing a warm, welcoming, and positive environment that will be as normal as possible for our students, while following the guidelines set out by public health officials to ensure the health of our entire school community. Please read through our Welcome Back to The Clover School! blog post for more details on what to expect, as well as resources for preparing your child to return to school.
Will children be able to use materials? What kind of changes will be made in the classrooms?
Core areas of the Montessori curriculum remain and students have access to materials, limited to one student at a time. Materials and activities that cannot be readily disinfected have been removed from the classrooms. Students will be required to bring their own basic school supplies (which we have sourced), and supplies will be left at school and stored in their cubbies. Many of our classrooms have been reconfigured with additional tables to allow for appropriate spacing between students while they are learning.
Will the children spend more time outside?
Absolutely. Teachers will be taking children outside regularly throughout the day, as well as conducting outdoor lessons in fresh air classrooms whenever possible. In addition, our Primary and Elementary students will enjoy an enhanced Outdoor Education program with weekly structured learning time outdoors in beautiful Earl Bales park with a dedicated teacher, where they can reconnect with nature and reap the benefits of spending time outdoors.
- Can I still apply for the 2020-2021 School Year?
Can I book a tour?
Of course! While our school may be physically closed to visitors, we are currently hosting virtual tours where you would be meeting with one of our administrators. Please visit our page to learn more and to schedule a virtual tour. Our admissions team is excited to meet you!
Will there be a policy regarding families returning to school after travel?
We will follow the provincial and/or federal guidelines, which currently require that all persons entering Canada—whether by air, land, or sea —to isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they are asymptomatic to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes travel from the USA.
What are the school's plans should another closure be mandated?
If the school is mandated by Toronto Public Health to close for the health and safety of the community, an assessment and response will be formulated as appropriate. All families and staff will be contacted via email immediately regarding the closure and given any pertinent information. We are prepared to move online with a home learning program in the event of a mandated closure at any point, the details of which will be provided to families ahead of any closures.
How can I prepare my child for the return to school?
First and foremost, be positive about heading back to school. Try and bring it up in conversation casually, and allow them to tell you how they are feeling. Let them know how excited we are to welcome them back, and that we are very carefully preparing their classrooms so they will feel safe and comfortable.
Start establishing routines over the summer months and encouraging independence, especially for our younger students, to allay separation anxiety. Start the conversation with your child as early as possible.
Helpful Resources for Back-To-School Transitions
- Nine Tips For Preparing Children to Return to School – University of Calgary
- How Teachers Can Help Students Transition Back to School – Teacher Magazine – Australia
- Helping Your Kids Adjust to Going Back to School After Lockdown – Morneau Shepell article
Also be sure to check out our blog post, Welcome Back to The Clover School! for more resources and details on what to expect.
How do I talk to my child about COVID-19?
Let them lead the conversation, and welcome their questions. Take cues from your child, and try not to prompt them. Be calm and reassuring when talking to your child, but be honest with them too. Use age-appropriate language, and encourage them to share how they are feeling.
Helpful Resources for Talking to Your Child About COVID-19
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child – KidsHealth
- How to talk to children about the coronavirus – Harvard Health Publishing
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus Crisis – Child Mind Institute
- CNN/Sesame Street Coronavirus Town Hall (Watch) – CNN
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Talking to Children About the Pandemic – Ontario Ministry of Health