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Blog: Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

October Newsletter

Building Community
Almost eighteen months have passed since we adjusted school learning under a Covid-19 world. Despite all the lows, we worked together to manage and minimize risk for students and staff in schools, and allow for the best learning to happen in our schools.  Now that we have several legitimate vaccines available in Canada, and a child vaccine, seemingly around the corner, to vaccinate 5-12 year olds, we can finally start to talk about the power of face to face interactions in developing school community.

Multiple Research studies (and meta-studies) continue to emphasize that the impact intensity on learning (i.e. effect size) that teachers and supporting staff have when they have direct contact with students. Students need guided practice and feedback to become proficient, and that was a lot harder when our students were learning on a 15” laptop screen. Additionally, with social gatherings restricted for most of the year, students had less interactions with each other, and less opportunity to learn how to be competitive, play fair, and to problem solve relationships.

Extracurricular events like after school programs, inter-school sports, and district competitions gently push our students to be better every day. I watch boys and girls coming off their bus with a street hockey stick, because they know shooting practice helps them be better, but they also know not to hit other students while they practice. Cross country running tells us we are fast at school, but there are others just as fast at other schools…and that’s ok.

Building community is not about looking for referees, noon supervisors or school staff to intervene in student interactions during unstructured time. It is about nurturing resilience--guiding students to share space, learning to interact positively, and helping students make alternate choices, on the playground and in the classroom, that work for everyone.

Drop Off & Pickup reminders
Over the summer, new fencing and parking alignment changes were made on the South side of the school building to help address safety concerns.  The downside of this is that there is less space for students to line up in the morning (4 divisions of students line up there!).

Please drop off your child on the inside of the fencing area to line up with their classmates, and wave goodbye from the other side of the fence.

Also, we have lost a few more parking stalls on the South side of the building.  Please do not block the driveway (even temporarily) for drop off or BLOCK adjacent driveways of our neighbours; we appreciate your help in keeping good relations with our neighbours, and allowing their farm equipment into their own yards.  Thanks for your cooperation!

School Safety for Covid-19
As we continue with our second year starting in a Covid-conscious environment, basic school safety protocols for students and staff remain the same, even as the majority of adults are able to vaccinate.  We continue to emphasize and remind students of constant hand washing, personal hygiene and sneezing etiquette, and wearing of masks in schools for most school activities, as they have proven most effective in keeping exposure rates low in schools. Thank you for your assistance in helping keep everyone safe.

Turkey Trot Friday
Our kindergarten students had a major task in corralling our wayward turkeys, aka dressed up Grade 5 students, for their first Pre-Thanksgiving Turkey trot.  Every time our turkeys got caught, they were obliged to give up a sticker.  It was 15 minutes of frantic chase and capture, and everyone was tired (but happy) in the end!

Assemblies & Extracurricular
Due to the increasing number of recorded Covid exposures in the Fraser Valley East region, as well as at our school, our planned face to face assemblies have been postponed at least until the end of the Term.  We will continue to evaluate our risk and safety protocols each week and determine when we can return to normal large group meetings.  As an alternative, we are working with our tech savvy teachers and students to allow us to video and present to each of our classroom groups. Cross your fingers, we are about to be YouTube famous…

Extracurricular sports are still happening in our school district, with some safety restrictions in place. For Upper Sumas, our cross country running events are happening this month, and parents are welcome to come & cheer their child, with social distance safety rules in place, i.e. congregating in family groups is Ok. No determination has been made for indoor extracurricular events and fans at this time.

Getting your Goat
Mrs. Epp’s class was treated to some unusual company one afternoon—baby goats! Mr. Chan kept calling them big kittens or funny looking horses, but he was corrected by our kindergarten students…many times!

Abby Chan
Principal