September 2 Parent Update

Welcome to the start of a new year of learning, which we already know will be like no other year!

Drop-off and Pick-up

The learning centre day runs from 9:30-3:30 Monday through Friday, with the exception of the holidays and Pro-D days noted at the end of this document.  If your child is going to be late or absent, please contact the VISII mobile phone (number TBA soon) as the learners will often start the day with time outside.  Although our drop-off and pick-up times are slightly different from the other day-care, after-school, and preschool programs at the Cridge, it can become busy during these times. Please be vigilant, drive slowly, and watch for children crossing the driveway from the Cridge building or from parked cars to the field in front of the building. There is also the option to park on King Street or Higgins Street and walk to VISII. Note that parking on the Cridge grounds is meant to be short-term parking (15 mins for pick-up and drop-off purposes). To reduce crowding, please do not come into the centre to collect your child, but arrange a meeting place away from the building.

First Day – September 8th

Our first day of learning is Tuesday September 8th. It will be a half day starting at 12:30 and ending at 3:30. Everyone will meet in the field in front of the Cridge building. Our meeting point will be east of the gazebo, across from the bus parking spots. Please drop off your children at 12:30. If you have time, stay for a physically distanced welcome in the field. We will have some time for introductions. Then, Roy Poules, a nurse and one of the VISII parents, has volunteered to answer any questions parents might have regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19 Protocols

We have been working to set up safety protocols to keep your children safe. These protocols, based on the most recent data, are subject to change as BC learns more about COVID-19 and makes new recommendations.;

As per the BC Ministry of Education instructions:

“Daily screenings start at home. Ask these questions:

  • Does your child have the symptoms of a common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease?
  • Has your child been outside Canada in the last 14 days?
  • Has your child been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you must keep your child at home, self-isolate, and seek care from a health-care provider.”

We will ask anyone coming to VISII these questions before they are allowed to enter the learning space.

If your child suffers from allergies or asthma, please let the centre know so that we can recognize their symptoms as those of allergies or asthma.  

Our learning space is ideally set up to allow for a one-way flow of people through designated entrance and exit doors. Hand sanitizer will be located at the entrance to and exit from the learning centre to facilitate hand sanitizing when you are entering or leaving the learning space. Children, staff, and volunteers will also be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day. Children have access to several sinks in the learning area and adjacent washrooms. The sinks and tap will be wiped down during the day and again at the end of the day.  We will be trying to minimize the use of shared equipment (see learning supplies below). When sharing cannot be avoided, we will encourage handwashing before and after the activity. 

For elementary and middle schools, the BC Ministry of Education has mandated that the maximum size of a learning group is 60. VISII’s learning group falls well below that maximum. Although social distancing is not required in a learning group, we will be asking the learners to wear masks or visors (VISII has enough to supply each child with one visor) when social distancing is not being observed.  Students have the option to wear masks at any time and we ask that you send at least one non-medical mask to VISII each day. We will have some masks at the centre that learners or visitors can use.

Recommendations for schools around COVID-19 protocols may change over time and we will send out updates to families as needed.  If you have general questions regarding COVID-19, the BC Centre of Disease Control has a lot of information on their website as well as a self assessment tool at https://bc.thrive.health  You can also contact nurses by calling 8-1-1 if any member of your household develops symptoms of COVID-19.  If you want more details of the Government’s guidelines to schools, a great deal of information can be found at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/covid-19-return-to-school

Parent Participation

VISII is a parent participatory learning centre.  Ms. Littledale has developed a table of all your various expertise and will work with aligning students with parents experts and community experts as the learners’ inquiries start to take shape. We hope you will help any learners whose questions align with your interests/expertise, as your time permits.

We would also like to know if there are any parents who would be willing to come in for a mid-day cleaning of the centre (wiping of the doorknobs, sinks, flat surfaces etc.). Please write to admin@visii.ca if you are able to help out from time to time. We’ll make up a roster. Gloves and cleaning supplies will be supplied by VISII. Volunteers will be expected to wear a mask while in the learning centre for this task.

We are a community – connecting with other families

While it will be challenging this year to get together and celebrate all that is the middle-school years, we would like to facilitate communication between families by having an email/phone contact list that we will share with the other families at VISII.  If you would like to be on this list, please send the information that you would like included to admin@visii.ca (parent/guardian names, child’s name, email, phone [textable?], address). If your child has a phone number that they would like to be made available to the other children, please include it. 

Nut-Free Zone

We have been asked by the Cridge to be a nut-free zone this year in order to protect other children in the building. Thank-you in advance for your understanding and compliance.  

Student Supplies

In keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols, sharing of supplies will be limited. Thus, each student should come prepared to the first day of learning with the following items, each labelled with your child’s name or initials:

  • Backpack
  • Pencil pouch 
  • Pencils and pens
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Scissors
  • A sketchbook or notebook for planning
  • Glue stick
  • 2 file folders
  • 12-inch (30-cm) ruler
  • Water bottle
  • Indoor shoes

Optional

  • Calculator
  • Coloured pencils or markers 
  • Smock or apron 
  • Safety glasses if you have them (the centre will buy non-prescription safety glasses and assign each student a pair)

VISII

Important dates 2020-2021 learning year

Dates are subject to change.  Updated information will be communicated via email

September 8 (Tuesday) First day of learning Half day (12:30 – 3:30)

October 12 (Monday) Thanksgiving (VISII centre closed)

October 23 (Friday) Pro-D day (VISII centre closed)

November 2 (Monday) Pro-D day (VISII centre closed)

November 11 (Wednesday) Remembrance Day (VISII centre closed)

November 20th (Friday) Pro-D day (VISII centre closed)

December 18 (Friday) Last day of classes before winter break

January 4 (Monday) First day back at the VISII centre

February 12 (Friday) Pro-D day (VISII centre closed)

February 15 (Monday Family Day (VISII centre closed)

March 12 (Friday) Last day before spring break

March 29 (Monday) First day of learning after spring break

April 2 (Friday) Easter Friday (VISII centre closed)

April 5 (Monday) Easter Monday (VISII centre closed)

May 14 (Friday) Pro-D day (VISII centre closed)

May 24 (Monday) Victoria Day (VISII centre closed)

June 24 (Thursday) Last day of learning at the VISII centre for the year

Published by VISII

Vancouver Island School of Innovation and Inquiry