The health and safety of students and staff is always a priority. Based on guidance from Toronto Public Health and The Ministry of Education, enhanced measures are implemented to reduce the spread of the virus – including physical distancing, good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, wearing face coverings, contact tracing and screening. These guidelines are in accordance with the Government of Ontario’s plan for reopening the province in stages https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages.
Entering, Moving Throughout & Exiting School
The number of students in each class will not exceed 15 students as per the current Ministry of Education guidelines and each student will sit at their own desk 2m away from other students.
- Directional signs, markers, pylons, arrows and physical distancing floor decals will be placed throughout the school to facilitate the orderly flow of movement in the building. Hallways and stairways will clearly indicate one-way movement to minimize face to face contact.
- Multiple entrances and exits will be used by students and staff, and each classroom will be provided with a specific point of entrance and exit. This will prevent clustering where screening is taking place in the morning, and to ensure physical distancing is maintained when exiting the building.
To minimize touchpoints and traffic flow throughout the building, students will study only 2 courses per term and remain in 1 classroom for morning periods and lunch, followed by an outdoor break, and then remain in their afternoon classroom until dismissal. These groupings are called “cohorts”. Cohorting refers to minimizing the number of students and teachers any individual comes in contact with, and to maintaining consistency in those contacts as much as possible. Classrooms have been rearranged to ensure physical distancing between all desks. New policies are being implemented about what types of activities will be allowed during gym and lunchtime in order to minimize the interaction with other students in the school. The entry of students and staff into and out of the building will similarly involve new physical distancing procedures and hallway use will be scheduled and monitored. Class sizes will be no greater than 15 students, with each student sitting at their own desk 2m from other students. Scheduling will ensure that classroom cohorts are kept apart and hallway traffic is kept to a minimum. Dismissal will be staggered to maximize physical distancing in our hallways.
School assemblies, ceremonies, concerts, and other school events that are deemed large gatherings will be suspended for the time being. These activities will only resume once Toronto Public Health provides guidelines for safe resumption. In the meantime, when possible, these events will occur virtually.
Our main campus has large outdoor fields which will be utilized in providing outdoor classes, weather permitting. There will be an increase in the number of classes taught outside in the open air. Teachers are being encouraged to go outside as much as possible to provide students with a change in the learning environment.
At this time, common areas are not open for socializing during lunch time or before or after school. We will keep you posted if updates allow for access and use of these areas. We are looking at allowing students to study in the library provided social distancing is maintained. All touch points, desks and chairs need to be sanitized after use.
Health Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms
All students, teachers, staff and visitors must undergo active and passive screening before entry into the school building.
- Active Screening: A quick forehead temperature measurement will be completed via touchless infrared thermometer upon arrival to school. A temperature reading 37.8C/100.4F or above is considered a fever by Public Health standards.
- Self-checklist: Staff and students must complete a self-check of COVID symptoms before entering the building. Any signs or symptoms relating to illness will be referred for immediate return home and self-monitoring.
- Passive Screening: Students and staff must assess themselves every morning prior to coming to school for any signs or symptoms of illness. Staff will monitor students throughout the day for any signs and symptoms relating to illness.
Hand Hygiene Protocols
Frequent hand washing will be mandated throughout the day as each classroom is equipped with a sink, soap and paper towel. Multiple hand sanitizing stations are being installed at various locations around the school. Daily staff and student safety routines will include reminders and lesson on proper hand hygiene and sneeze and cough protocols.
The Ontario government has not yet made face coverings mandatory for schools, but Public Health has mandated the use of masks in indoor public spaces. Masks are mandatory for both staff and students while walking throughout the school building, except when sitting at classroom desks maintaining 2m distance. UMC community members should assume that masks may be mandated and students should wear masks when they are indoors. The wearing of facial shields is not currently being considered a substitute for wearing a mask. Teachers are encouraged to wear both a mask and face shield when in contact with students, especially during student-teacher conferences.
At this point, Public Health has mandated that parents/guardians cannot go past the screening area. If the need arises for a parent or visitor to enter the school, they will go through the screening procedure, including temperature checks, and follow other recommended guidelines, such as wearing a mask. As per these guidelines, entry of parents and non-essential visitors into the physical building will be restricted in all but a few important circumstances. In all other circumstances, meetings will be conducted with parents/guardians remotely via Zoom. The purpose of this government-recommended guideline is to ensure physical distancing and reduce the possible risks associated with additional people in the hallways and common areas.
Cleaning and Other Additional Measures
All high-touch and high traffic areas will be cleaned and sanitized as per Toronto Public Health guidelines. Ongoing cleaning and disinfecting will occur during the day and after school hours. Custodial and other staff will disinfect high touch areas within classrooms and common areas as per a daily schedule.
Classroom tables, chairs and any learning materials will be sanitized after each class, every day, both morning and afternoon. Classrooms will be kept decluttered with only essential teaching items to facilitate efficient cleaning.
All UMC staff must be knowledgeable and familiar with the required health and safety protocols. Staff will receive professional development with regards to health and safety protocols and procedures. As a proactive measure, ongoing education for both students and staff regarding health and safety will continue throughout the school year. Both staff and students are responsible for contributing to and maintaining a healthy and safe school environment.
Voluntary School Attendance
If a student needs to be absent, parents/guardians (or students 18 yrs and older) are asked to schedule the absence by calling into the school to let our admin team know in advance. Students who are absent are required to connect remotely to their Schoology course that day and complete the necessary tasks to stay on track with their learning. Students will have access to both asynchronous and synchronous learning, including the ability to connect to daily webinars through Zoom. Three hours of study per day per course is required in order to complete the required 110 hours per course, as per the Ontario Ministry of Education. Any students not attending in-person classes for any length of time are required to submit a Learning Log each week to record their remote learning time.
- If the absence is due to illness, it is important to have a discussion (phone call, email or Zoom conference) with either the Principal, Mrs. Tanya Fraser, or Mr. Ira Carty in the Guidance Department for further guidance.
Maplewood is the school’s student information system that tracks attendance and academic achievement. Students and parents are encouraged to access Maplewood regularly. For account set up or questions, please contact Ms. Julia Sung and the Administrative Department.
Attendance will be tracked with Maplewood daily attendance and Weekly Learning Logs. Students are required to stay on track with their course pace and complete 110 hours per Ontario high school credit. Attendance Warning Letters will be issued on a weekly basis and may result in students moving to non-credit status.
UMC High School will continue to accept registrations on a rolling basis throughout the school year. Students can join at the beginning of each of the 5 terms and choose to study on-line or in-person. Students can also begin a semester on-line and move to in-person class if there is space available in the classroom. Students must complete a 14 day self-quarantine period upon arriving to Canada but can attend classes online during this time. New students can begin on September 8, October 29, January 5, March 8 or May 4.
Modified School-Day Routine
Students will no longer share classroom supplies. Technology will not be shared. Every student must bring his/her own laptop to school every day and the laptop must be equipped with Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel). Students must bring any materials they may need for their own personal use, such as calculators, pens, pencils and paper. Art students will be required to purchase their own materials, and more information will be provided by the art teacher.
Since the public health guidelines may change in the coming months, school events will be provided in advance on an ongoing basis. Student Council, School Clubs and Extracurricular Activities may not be permitted in person in the Fall but will run virtually through Zoom. We are considering extracurricular sports that can be run fully outdoors with appropriate physical distancing. In all cases, we will follow the guidance and recommendations from Toronto Public Health.
Lunch service will be modified so that the distribution of individual lunch boxes occurs inside each classroom. No family-style serving or sharing of food will be permitted. Students will eat in their classrooms or possibly picnic outside as weather permits. Students must throw away their garbage and wipe their desk and chair with sanitizing spray at the end of lunch or prior to leaving morning class. Students may choose to go outside for lunch but are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and practice physical distancing when visiting local restaurants.
GOT A QUESTION?
Please continue to check this site and your email regularly for the latest information. UMC High School’s official social media feeds also provide important updates. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.CONTACT US TODAY