Dear Parents & Guardians,
A year ago, news of the novel COVID-19 virus spread all over the world. A year ago, I was still hoping to visit my parents during spring break to check up on my father who was not well (and still is not well. He just received 4 stints!). A year ago, we all started to wonder if and how COVID-19 would impact our lives and our way of living.
Today, we know the answer. Today, we have grown used to using words like: social distancing, sanitizing, isolation, mandatory quarantine, Hub-learning, emergency online learning, Skype, Zoom, TEAMS and Google Classrooms, curb side pick-up, online grocery shopping, 14 days, 10 days, close contact, outbreak etc.
This year, the CBE has hired extra cleaners whose sole purpose is to disinfect high-touchpoint areas like doorknobs, light switches and banisters etc. The CBE has a COVID-19 team, whose sole purpose is to inform and communicate with principals when a case affects their school. The CBE has a new section in their corporate website that reports on all new cases. Each system meeting to principals includes a summary and report on COVID-19 numbers for each month of the 2020-21 school year.
At Colonel Walker, we transitioned to Emergency Online Learning early in the spring of 2020 and all the teachers had to learn Google Classroom overnight. We returned to in-school learning and teaching in September this fall. It was such a celebration to welcome the students back into the building – with new protocols in place! Entering the school, sanitizing the moment you do, sanitizing again as you enter your class, separate supplies, using a specific door to enter/exit your class. The biggest adjustment was the organization of our recess and lunch recess time with Piitoyias Family of Schools. We had to divide our outside space into 7 areas. During lunch time, each day, we rotate. So, instead of going wherever the kids want, they now have to go to a specific area, which changes daily. Dropping off and picking up has changed, and our school council meetings as well as the parent-teacher interviews are done virtually!
All these new routines had to be practiced and reinforced. Today, it is safe to say that the students are doing most of these things automatically and without thinking. Some new routines are so user friendly that we may even keep them!
A year into COVID-19, I would like to say THANK YOU to all our CWS parents. You have trusted us with your child/ren. You have supported us by keeping your child/ren home when they were sick and/or came to pick them up when Ms. Tammy called you. You have practiced with your child/ren how to wear masks, how to sanitize hands, how to open lunch containers etc. Our students come to school ready to learn and the progress each child has made during the past months has been incredible. Thank you for your continued support of CWS!
Meike Thomsen, Principal