Mr. Heah’s Update – May 20th 2020

Dear Parents,

I have received numerous emails from you with similar questions. I would like to ask that you please read my email from last week as well as the Health and Safety Plan that was emailed out, as many questions are answered in these two documents. Below is an F.A.Q. based on the emails I have received so far that will hopefully answer your questions.


1) It is imperative that parents complete the survey no later than Friday, May 22nd at 3:00pm.  As you can appreciate, there is an incredible amount of planning from our end, and we need to know the number of students returning before we can put any concrete plans in place. This includes scheduling, staffing, locations for supervision, … any families that have not indicated a return by Friday, May 22nd at 3:00pm will not be permitted to send their child(ren) back to school as we will be planning around the confirmed numbers. 

2) May 25th and 26th are non-instructional days as requested by C.I.S.V.A., in order for school staff to be trained and in-serviced on Health and Safety Procedures and Guidelines, as well as for schools to plan for the return to school on June 1st 2020.


Will my child(ren)’s teacher be teaching my child?

Currently we have 6 teachers that are not able to return to work, which leaves us with very few teachers on site. There is no guarantee that your child will be with their teacher. Supervision will be provided by teachers and/or E.A.’s returning to work.

Will my child(ren) be receiving any instruction at school?

Students will not be receiving any direct instruction at school. They will be doing the same remote learning activities as those students at home. Teachers are not able to provide on-line learning and in-person learning at the same time. 

Will my child(ren) be in his/her own classroom?

We have to see how many students are returning to school before this can be answered. In all likelihood, students will not be in their own classrooms. 

Will my child(ren) be able to play with their friends during recess time?

Students are to remain at a physical distance of 6ft (2m) and they are not to be sharing any toys or sports equipment with each other. As well, the play structures will be closed for the remainder of the year. We will be staggering recess times so that not all students are outside at the same time. This will drastically limit any interaction between students at recess time. 

Can the school arrange for siblings to be on the same day?

I am going to do my best to make this work so that it is most convenient for families, however, I will need to wait and see how many students will be returning.

How can the school guarantee social distancing will be enforced?

There is no guarantee that social distancing will be enforced. Our promise is that we will do our best to make sure that social distancing is practiced throughout the day by having a variety of procedures in place. The message for schools is to ensure where possible that students remain socially distanced, but to move the focus to avoiding direct contact.

Can I send my child in Gr. 6 or 7 to school on the same days as my other children attend?

The Ministry is very clear that students in Gr. 6-12 are not to be at school more than 20%. This means that the most a student in Gr. 6 or 7 can attend a week is one day.

What will the schedule be like? How many days a week will my child(ren) be at school?

The Ministry has stated that students Gr. K-5 will be at school two days a week, and Gr. 6-12 students one day a week. Once I know how many students will be returning, I will send out a schedule. 

What if my spouse and I are Essential Service Workers? Can my child(ren) come to school every day?

If both you and your spouse are Tier 1 or Tier 2 Essential Service Workers (please click this link to see a list of recognized E.S.W. jobs then you are permitted to have your children attend every day. Please note that BOTH parents need to be essential service workers, or you are a single parent who is an Essential Service Worker in order to send your child(ren) to school full time. Having only one parent as an essential service worker does not qualify you for full time childcare.

Is my child required to wear a mask to school? Will staff be wearing masks?

The current recommendation is for children NOT to wear masks, as they end up touching their face more. Masks are not shown to be effective in preventing contraction (unless it is an n95 mask), rather they are effective in minimizing the chance of passing COVID-19 onto others. Some staff may choose to wear masks, although W.C.B. does not require it.

When will the last day of school be?

C.I.S.V.A. has asked that all schools remain in session until June 25th 2020. Workload for students will likely go down the last week of school, in order to accommodate for staggered pick up of supplies, materials and report cards.

Is it best for my child(ren) to come to school or stay home?

The return to school is voluntary. Only you as parent can make the decision as to what is best for your child(ren). Some parents may have no choice due to return to work. It is important to note that sending your child(ren) back to school so that they can reunite with their friends and teachers is not the right reason to return to school. This return to school comes with very strict parameters that will limit interaction between students. A school day will look very different from what it did prior to Spring Break. Our directive is to have procedures in place to minimize contact between students (and adults), therefore many of the activities that your child(ren) has come to love at school will not be in place when they return. Students who do return to school will be doing exactly the same as those students who will remain at home. I would ask that you read my emails and documents carefully before making a decision about a return to school. 

I will continue to answer questions as they arise. Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we work towards a gradual return to school. 

God bless, Clive Heah| Principal
St. Patrick’s School, Maple Ridge
604-467-1571 (t)

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