Westwood Community High School
August 28, 2020
Dear parents, families, students and staff,
We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new and returning students, families and staff for the 2020-2021 school year. We are very excited to return to in-class sessions and we are happy to be reunited with students again! Thank you to those families that came in to meet us on August 26th at our Open House, it was great to meet and connect with you.
Safety is our priority as we return to in-person classes under the near-normal circumstances, with added health and safety measures in place. In order to do this, we kindly ask for your understanding as we all navigate through what will be our “new normal”. Our routines will need to be tweaked and our practices will be broadened to welcome students back through the re-entry process. Our procedures will be following provincial health requirements and recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19, while delivering robust learning experiences for our students. We have always valued our partnership with parents in delivering educational programming to our school community and we will continue to maintain strong relationships during this transition. The FMPSD Re-Entry Guidelines are linked here; please review this document for the overarching guidelines. In addition, here are some points to become aware of:
- We will require ALL students, staff and visitors to conduct daily health checks prior to entering the building. The COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire is linked here. If any staff or student answers “yes” to any of these questions, the person must stay home and use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine whether a COVID-19 test is required.
- We will enforce a strict stay-st-home protocol for those feeling unwell. Please inform the office when/if your child will be staying at home due to illness.
- Physical distancing will be encouraged as much as possible. Please speak with your child about what 2 meters looks like and encourage their adherence to this expectation while entering the building and any movement throughout the building while inside.
- Masks will be required, where physical distancing is not possible. It is mandatory for all persons to wear a mask upon entry and movement throughout the building, as when 6 feet of social distancing is not possible. Two reusable masks per student will be provided to each student once they arrive at school on the first day. Students are encouraged to always have a backup mask with them in a ziplock bag.
- There will be increased custodial services (cleaning and disinfecting) in our school.
- We have mapped out one-way directional patterns throughout the hallways. The staircases are marked as one directional.
- Students will be cohorted as much as possible for grade 7-9 students. They will remain in their “cohort classes'' for their core instruction and teachers will move to them. Students will move to their option class locations as required, while wearing masks and maintaining a physical distance throughout their movement.
- Students in grades 10-12 will physically rotate to their scheduled classes. Masks will be mandatory for all movement throughout the building, and physical distancing in a one-directional path.
- Strict hand hygiene will be required and instruction will be provided on proper instructions for mask use and proper hand hygiene care.
We also know that the COVID-19 circumstances may change in the weeks and months ahead, as we return to in-person classes and recognize that there may be adaptations that are required for the continuity of instruction for students. The FMPSD has made a substantial investment in video conferencing platforms, technology and staff training to support high quality instruction for learning in the classroom and online. We have taken steps to minimize the instructional disruption. If there is a need to shift to online learning throughout the year; we are prepared. You may get the most up to date information on our website and social media accounts.
There is usually a day assigned for families and students to come to school to pick up their schedules, books, lockers, take school photos and pay fees prior to the first day of classes. This year, students will access their schedules on PowerSchool starting on Thursday, August 27th. It is advised that students print a copy and bring it with them on the first day of the staggered entry. Textbooks will be distributed during the first week of classes, after September 8th. School Photos will be taken at a later date. Lockers are not being assigned and fees can be paid through the Parent Portal on PowerSchool. If there are questions about schedules, please contact Student Services for assistance.
If you need help accessing your PowerSchool Account, please call the main office for assistance.
We know that not all students are able to return to the physical building due to health or personal circumstances. However, we are committed to still providing a robust learning experience for our families. Westwood will be the host school for E-Cademy+ learning for the 2020-2021 school year for high school students. Mrs. Heather Terry will be the Counselor in Student Services who will be assisting with this learning program for Westwood. I will be working closely with Mrs. Terry and the E-Cademy+ team of teachers to help to deliver a meaningful learning experience for our virtual learners.
Please be aware that this is an evolving plan, as circumstances change and develop. The FMPSD is going to be updating the division plan twice per month to keep our families as updated as possible; Westwood’s plan will also be updated twice per month. It will be on our website as well. In addition, please find a link to Frequently Asked Questions, which is also available on our website and the FMPSD website. You may also reference the Westwood High School Website for additional information. Please call the school should you have any questions or concerns. Follow us on Twitter @WWhighschool, Facebook and Instagram. We are very much looking forward to seeing you again.
Principal, Westwood Community High School
We sincerely value our community and parent volunteers; unfortunately, we are not able to have volunteers enter the building at this time. We look forward to when we will be able to work physically together again.
At this time, we will ask that parents arrange for an appointment to enter the school to meet with a Student Services Counselors, a teacher or Administration.
All visitors will need to enter and exit through the main doors of the school and check in with the office, where you will need to sign in and out. People authorized to enter the building at this time are Canada Post, delivery and maintenance personnel as well as FMPSD staff.
If a parent needs to enter the building to pick up a sick child, that will be arranged through the office as needed. Please call the school when you arrive, before entering the building @ (780) 791-1986. The parent (or designated emergency contact) may only enter the building after completing the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire, sanitizing hands and if they are wearing a mask.
If a parent needs to drop off a lunch for their child, they can call the office ahead of time and procedures will be shared with the parent for entering the building. All health protocols must be followed (ie: screening questionnaire, wearing of a mask, and proper hand hygiene). There will be a table in the office to place the student’s lunch. The student will then be called to the office to pick it up. The student name must be clearly displayed on the bag/container. Unfortunately, office staff will not be able to provide you with pens to use. Parents must also indicate their name and phone number once they enter the office.
We look forward to starting up our School Council for the 2020-2021 school year; we will be meeting virtually.
Any parent that has a child at Westwood may be a part of our School Council. We encourage parents to be a part of this body. Please watch for emails and social media announcements for meeting dates and how to become involved in the School Council body.
Screening for illness
Before coming to school each day, all staff and students must complete the Government of Alberta’s COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire to determine whether they can attend school or must stay home. The questionnaire is available in several languages on the website Screening Questionnaire, multi-languages.
If the answer is “Yes” to any of the questions, staff and students must stay home and use the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to determine whether a COVID-19 test is required.
Screening questionnaire forms do not need to be submitted to the school. The questionnaire is a tool to assess wellness prior to coming to school.
Stay home when sick
All students, staff and visitors who meet the following criteria must stay home and self-isolate as per Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines:
- symptoms of COVID-19, common cold, influenza or other respiratory diseases
- travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days
- been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak of COVID-19
Students and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and who are directed to test for COVID-19 as per the Alberta Health Services Self-Assessment Tool must stay home until they test negative for COVID-19. Students will be supported by their school to learn at home until they return to school.
People unsure if they should self-isolate should self-assess using the COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool and contact Alberta Health Services at 8-1-1, or public health unit to speak to a health professional.
Illness at school
Anyone presenting symptoms will need to leave the school. In addition:
- students who develop symptoms at school will be asked to wear a non-medical mask and be isolated in a separate room or kept at least 2 metres away from others
- parents will be contacted to pick up their child immediately. All students must have an emergency contact on file for student pickup in the case that the parent/guardian is unable to do so
- once the student has been picked up, the infirmary will be sealed off until custodians can complete a thorough cleaning and sanitizing
- any items the symptomatic person was in contact with will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
We recognize that there may be an increase in families who will be dropping off or picking up their children.
We STRONGLY ENCOURAGE parents to enter the YMCA parking lot to drop off and also to pick up your student. The back half of the YMCA parking lot is reserved for WW student parking. Parents may park in a stall to drop off or pick up. We ask for your cooperation and patience with the volume of traffic flow to safely enter and exit. The front bus lane and the staff parking lot will be high traffic areas, as we would like to reduce additional traffic in those locations as much as possible. We ask that parents remain inside their vehicle throughout this process. The bus loop is a fire lane and must remain accessible for emergency vehicles.
We also STRONGLY ENCOURAGE students who drive to school to also park in the back YMCA parking lot, as this is designated for Westwood students. Please respect the signage for parking locations.
We have specific entrances designated for specific grades to enter the building, which will minimize the number of students entering at specific points, allowing for greater physical distancing to take place. The entrances are as follows:
- Grade 7 - Portable side entrance (past the picnic tables)
- Grade 8 - House C Entrance (Foods hallway)
- Grade 9 - Theatre Entrance
- Grade 10 - Theatre Entrance
- Grade 11 - Main WW Entrance (@ the Flag Pole)
- Grade 12 - YMCA FRONT Entrance (facing Tundra Drive)
*** Access to other parts of the YMCA is off limits at this time. There will be exceptions for teacher supervised transition to the gym.
Students will exit the building according to the area of the school that they are in for the last block of the day. This will minimize the traffic flow throughout the building for exiting safely, following social distancing and in a timely efficient manner.
- House A - Theatre doors or Front Doors
- House B - Front Doors or House C or theatre
- House C - Front Doors or House C or theatre
- Portables - Portable Side Door
- Streets - Theatre Doors or Front Doors
We will have limited space for students to gather in common areas, so we ask that students arrive as close to the school start time as possible (8:10am). Students will not be permitted to arrive early to socialize and gather with friends. Students will not need to go to their locker, so they can proceed directly to their first block class upon entry.
In the event that a student must arrive earlier than 8:05 (arriving on a bus for example), there will be allocated places for students to wait before entering their classrooms. If students arrive early, they will be asked to wait in the library or pit area in a social distancing way until they proceed to their classes. The school will not be accessible prior to 7:30 am. Students will also be expected to leave after school unless there is a scheduled meeting with a teacher (for extra help for example).
Students who are on spares will be asked to go to the library or to leave the building. There will not be an option to work in the hallways, YMCA or the cafeteria during spares.
Bussing to Westwood is provided by the Wood Buffalo Transit Services. On their website you will find the School Transit Service information with bus routes, maps and schedules. The Westwood specific bus routes can be found here. Students will be expected to respect physical distancing while getting on and off the bus.
The RMWB has extended free bussing for the month of September! The cost of bussing is $41 per month.
Parents can pay monthly online through PowerSchool for bussing fees for October and onward. The RMWB has announced on August 25th that starting on Aug. 31st, students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask while taking public transit to and from school.
If a student drives to school, they are asked to park in the YMCA back parking lot to maximize parking availability and to encourage physical distancing. Please adhere to the parking signage posted in the parking lot. The front half of the parking lot (closest to the YMCA) is reserved for YMCA staff and members. The back half of the parking lot is for Westwood access.
Parents are also strongly encouraged to park in the YMCA parking lot to drop off and pick up their child to maximize physical distancing, as well as to reduce traffic congestion at high traffic times.Adults to pick up students from school will be asked to stay in their vehicle and to maintain a safe physical distance between themselves and others.
Students will have specific entrances and exits to the building.
Upon arrival, students will see hand sanitizing stations, mask wearing reminders (and other signage), as well as floor markings to indicate flow direction and 2 meter physical distance indicators. Students will be required to wear masks upon entry of the school.
If students are more than 15 minutes late (ie: 8:25 or later), they should enter through the front doors and check in at the office; this applies to all grades.
**All parents or authorized visitors MUST check in at the office and sign in, providing their name and phone number.
Main door entrances will only be utilized by grade 11 students, students who are late (passed 8:25 am) and authorized visitors such as Canada Post, delivery drivers and parents (with authorized entry). One door will be an entrance and two will be exit flowing doors. These are clearly marked by the tape and stickers on the floor. There is a hand sanitizing station set up in the front foyer.
Upon entering the building, there will be the option of taking a hard right turn to enter the main office. The office staff will ensure social distancing and start line-ups if necessary. After exiting the office through the second door they will cross the transition zone to put them on a path towards the pit area. To exit the building, one must follow the floor direction path around the ramp and then exit through the right hand side of the main entrance to exit.
After entering the building you have the option of taking a right turn into the Student Services hallway. This hallway is divided and will be a two way hallway. Tape and stickers mark the path. Student services will only be taking appointments and will monitor the entering and exiting to ensure there aren't traffic flow problems. This hallway will also be the entrance to the library and students will exit through the front of the library by the streets when they are finished.
The pit area is one large traffic circle with one way direction only. It will move counterclockwise allowing students to enter the gym streets area, cafeteria/portables, theatre streets or head back in the direction of the office and House C.
The gym streets will be entered and exited through the traffic circle at the pit. It is a large hallway that has been divided to allow for two way traffic. The stairs leading up to House A across from the trophy case will be an UP staircase only. Students/Staff will not be permitted to come down this stairwell.
The flow of access into the library will be a one way footpath. Students will enter the library from the Student Services hallway and exit through the main library door into the pit area. For textbook distribution, students will collect their textbooks from the library as a group during the first week of classes.
The ramp is not accessible for regular use; it will be reserved for people with physical mobility needs (Eg: students on crutches).
The Portables side entrance will be the entrance for grade 7 students. The portable hallway has been divided to allow for two way traffic. Upon entering the portables from the criteria students will be required to walk up the ramp in a one-way direction. When exiting the portables to go back to the cafeteria students will be required to use the small set of stairs. **Special exceptions of ramp use will be permitted for students requiring it.
The House C entrance is allocated for grade 8 students to enter the building.
Students will be able to go up the stairs to House B or through the House C entrance or through the House C hallway to access the routes to the rest of the school. The hallway from the theatre streets into House C will be used one way and allow only ENTRANCE from the theatre streets. The fish pond in the middle of House C will act as a traffic circle with the other two hallways being divided to allow for two way traffic. Exiting from House C to the school will only occur by the Robotics and Foods room. The parking lot doors in House C will also serve as an exit but only to entirely exit the school. The back House C stairwell will be earmarked as an UPWARD direction only.
The theatre entrance is allocated for grades 9 & 10 students to use for entry.
Staff will also enter through the theatre doors.
The theatre hallways (aka: streets) will be entered and exited through the traffic circle at the pit. It is a large hallway that has been divided to allow for two way traffic. The staircase coming down from House B in this hallway will be DOWN only. Students/Staff will not be permitted to go up this stairwell. The hallway leading into House C from the theatre streets is one way traffic and will only lead into House C. There will be no exit from House C into the theatre streets.
The YMCA is still closed.
Grade 12 students may enter the FRONT YMCA doors to make their way up the House A stairway (one direction only) or through the Student Services hallway to the rest of the school. Students will not have access to the YMCA at any time outside of entry into the building through the front entrance (although there will be exceptions for Physical Education classes, with a supervised teacher). Locker rooms, hallways, and YMCA facilities will NOT be accessible by students.
House A can only be entered through the YMCA side stairwell and the stairwell in the gym streets. The landing at the centre of the school for House A will be an EXIT only. All students with classes in House A will enter through one of the two UP staircases and upon completion of their class will exit through the centre landing and down the stairs by the main office. There is an automatic water filling station in House A.
House B can be entered through the staircase by the main entrance and the staircase in House C by the parking lot. House B will act as a large traffic circle and students will be able to exit through the staircase down into the theatre streets or through the landing and going down the staircase closest to House A by the main entrance.
The cafeteria will have a two way walkway to be able to access the portables and to get back to the main part of the school. After exiting the cafeteria into the Pit area students will have to use the traffic circle and go around by the Art Room. There will be NO food service in the cafeteria and there will be no microwaves accessible to students. There is an automatic water filling station in the cafeteria. The cafeteria will be off limits for students to gather, visit or have their spare. Seating in this space will be inaccessible until COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
Students will use the exit doors closest to their classroom at the end of the day to exit the building, always maintaining a 2 meter distance in a one-directional path.
FYI - the doors will be sanitized and cleaned several times throughout the day.
- If the student is in House A, they will exit down the one way path through the stairway into the streets by the gym OR the upstairs landing and exit either out the front doors or the theatre doors. THE YMCA staircase will not be accessible to exit, as the staircase is an upward directional traffic flow only.
- If the student is in House B, they will exit down the stairway to the theatre doors or the stairway by the front doors. The House C staircase is an upward flowing traffic staircase only, and will not be used as an exit.
- If the student is in House C, they will exit through the House C exit.
- If the student is in the Main Street area, they will exit through the theatre doors or front doors
- If the student is in the Portables, they will exit through the Portables side exit doors.
Please keep in mind that these are for regular day pathways. For emergency exits, we will follow the predetermined pathways as outlined in classroom fire evacuation routes. As always, we will have practice drills.
If students would like to stay after school to work with a teacher, they may do so with prior arrangements.
** Students will not be permitted to stay in the school at the end of the day; they will need to leave the building as soon as the student-teacher meeting is over. There will not be spaces for students to hang out after school.
There are hand sanitizing stations at every entrance to the building, as well as every entrance to each classroom. Students will be expected to follow hand hygiene practices upon entry to the building AS WELL AS entry to the classroom. There will be specific instructions for students for appropriate hand hygiene practices.
Students will be expected to use these upon EVERY entry and exit, before and after any classroom group work and also before and after eating. We also encourage students to bring their own hand sanitizer for personal use.
**There are also some classrooms equipped with sinks, so added hand washing stations are available there.
All students will be expected to wash their hands with soap and water after using the restrooms and follow a 2 metre physical distance for entering and exiting those spaces. Plexiglass dividers are also installed to separate the spaces between urinals and sinks in washrooms.
At this time, students will not be assigned lockers.
We know that this will be a point of concern for many students, but we will work with students to help them adapt to this requirement. We do ask that students carry a backpack or bag large enough for their belongings to be stored inside, including their lunch. It would be very helpful to have their name indicated on the bag (tag, label, or name inside) at all times. We also ask that students only bring to school what is required. Please do not bring valuables that may be lost or left behind. A student is welcome to bring their own device to school; however, they must be able to bring it with them from class to class and be mindful of all of their belongings as they move throughout the building.
**Please DO NOT bring skateboards, scooters, basketballs or other items, as there is no available space to store these items. If a student rides to school on their bike, they will need to lock their helmet with their bike or carry it with them in their backpack throughout the day.
**If a student leaves for lunch, they must bring their belongings with them.
Students will be expected to take ALL of their belongings with them at all times, to every class if they change classes. We recognize that this will be a significant change for students as they transition back to school. We encourage students to be organized to help themselves with this process. It is recommended that students have one binder, with 4 tabbed sections (one for each subject of the day).
Textbooks will be distributed during class time throughout the first week of school. Some students may have 4 large textbooks, while others will have fewer. Students should keep those texts at home for homework and reading reference. Teachers will be working with students to let them know in advance if their textbooks are needed for the next day’s class. We will not be storing textbooks in classrooms to reduce the touching of books.
Locker rooms will not be accessible to change for gym class. If a student is enrolled in Physical Education class, they will outside as much as possible and will rotate the use of the gym and outside. Students will be required to bring inside shoes to use in the gym when they are scheduled there. Teachers will give students notice of inside or outside class the day before. Students should wear clothes to school that are consistent with appropriate use for movement in PE class if they are enrolled in such as class. Students will be assigned a classroom for every PE class. They will meet in the classroom for attendance and then transition to their PE class location after attendance has been taken. Their belongings will be stored and LOCKED inside that classroom while they transition to the gym or outside. No one else will have access to that locked room while they are away. At the end of the class, the group will return to the classroom to gather their belongings before they are dismissed.
Westwood will be a closed campus for grades 7 & 8.
Lunch time is 11:28 - 12:10 (42 minutes).
This means that students are not permitted to leave campus.
Students will also not be permitted to share food or water bottles.
Grade 7 & 8 students will eat their lunch in their 2nd block class, after literacy. There will be a schedule for outside access during lunch.
- Grade 7s will eat in their block 2/literacy classroom. They will eat first and then be permitted to go outside (Portable exit/entrance) for the last half of their lunch time (11:50 - 12:05).
- Grade 8s will be permitted to go outside from 11:30 - 11:45 (House C exit/entrance) first and then return to their classroom to eat from 11:45 - 12:05
If students do not wish to go outside, they will remain in their classroom for the duration of their lunch. Students will be expected to use the hallways as a transition place only, and will not be permitted to stop and visit with friends during this time. We recognize that this will be an adjustment. We do appreciate your support in speaking with your child to understand the safety needs for this requirement. We will be taking these steps to decrease the risk of transmission as students transition throughout the building.
Breaks - One big adjustment for grade 7s will be the transition from ‘recess in grade 6’ to ‘break in grade 7’. There is a scheduled 10 minute break for our grade 7 & 8 students in the morning and a 9 minute break in the afternoon. This will be time for students to transition if they need to move to an option class. Students will be permitted to visit the washroom as needed throughout the day, as to avoid a rush to use this space during break times. Teachers will also be exercising opportunities to take the learning environment outside as much as possible to offer diversity in the physical environment.
Westwood will be an open campus for grades 9 - 12.
Lunch time is 11:27 - 12:02 (35 minutes).
This means that students will be permitted to leave campus during their lunch breaks. If a student becomes ill while away at lunch, they are not to return to the building, but to contact their parents and make arrangements to stay at home. There will be an expectation that students will leave or stay, rather than going in and out multiple times during lunch time.
***There are strict guidelines about eating protocols, including proper hand hygiene before and after eating. As such, food will not be permitted during class time. Students will be provided with lunch time to eat. If students leave to purchase lunch, they will have two choices:
- leave for the duration of the tutorial and lunch time, and return for block three having eaten their lunch.
- They may leave after the tutorial is over (@ 11:27) to go pick up food and return to their second block class to eat. They will need to eat their lunch before block 3 starts. Students will not be permitted to eat in the classroom in block 3.
**Students will not be permitted to bring lunch for other students, or share their food in any way.
Breaks - There is a scheduled 7 minute break between classes in the morning and another 7 minute break between classes in the afternoon. Students will not be going to lockers, so there should be ample time to transition to the next class. Students will be expected to use the hallways as a transition place only, and will not be permitted to stop and visit with friends during this time. We recognize that this will be an adjustment. We do appreciate your support in speaking with your child to understand the safety needs for this requirement. We will be taking these steps to decrease the risk of transmission as students transition throughout the building. Teachers will also be exercising opportunities to bring the learning environment outside as much as possible to offer diversity in the classroom environment throughout the day.
Physical distancing can be a challenge for students, and will be a large adjustment for returning to classes in the school setting.
- Classrooms will have desks spaced as far as absolutely possible within the space provided.
- Students will be expected to wear masks when 2 meter distancing is not possible. Students should keep a spare mask in a ziplock baggie, in such a case that they will need a backup mask.
- Staff will be expected to wear masks as well. Some staff may also choose to wear an additional face shield, if they so choose.
- Seating plans will be implemented in each class.
- Students will face a one-way direction, as not to face one another.
- Students will be expected to keep their belongings with them in their backpacks at their desk and with them as they move throughout the building.
- Additional plexiglass shields will be in place where physical distancing is challenging (eg; art room).
- Junior high classes (more than half of the school population) will have minimal movement throughout the building, limiting the number of people who are transitioning in the hallways between classes.
- If there is group work, or areas that require multiple touch points, students will be asked to sanitize their hands directly before and after the group work (eg: lab).
- Seating will be unavailable from the common areas, such as the cafeteria and streets.
- We will not be hosting large gathering events, such as assemblies at this time.
- We will be taking advantage of outdoor learning spaces whenever opportunities are appropriate.
- Physical Education classes will take place outside as much as possible (weather permitting).
- All extracurricular activities will be on hold for the first two weeks of school.
While there are many students who are excited to return to school, there are others who are feeling anxious about the process. Our goal is to support students through physical and emotional safety as they participate in the re-entry process. You may find a variety of Wellness Supports on the FMPSD website, where you can utilize available resources or make a direct request for specific support.
Westwood Student Services counselling supports:
- Mrs. Carla Joseph, LAC and grade 7 & 8 Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mrs. Heather Terry, ELL Coordinator and grade 10 & 11 Counselor, email@example.com
- Mrs. Christine Tulk, ADLC Liaison and Grade 9 & 12 Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mrs. Pam Power, Mental Health Therapist (referral only)
- Mrs. Katie McGaghey, Mental Health Therapist (referral only)
Staff emails can be found on the Westwood website under the Staff Directory. Please reach out to teachers or grade specific counselors staff with any questions that you may have. You may contact the main office by calling (780)791-1986.