News & Events

August 28, 2020

September Return to School

Dear Howay Families,


I hope that you are well, staying safe, and taking time to enjoy the summer. Earlier this week, you received a letter from the Superintendent outlining the options available to you as you make decisions about the upcoming school year. We know that each of you will make the right choice based on your family circumstances and encourage you to visit our dedicated school district Stage 2 Restart webpage. Just a reminder that if you, or your child, is immunocompromised to the extent that your child will require accommodations due to health related risks, we ask that you email me directly @ by Monday, August 31 at 4 pm to discuss your needs. Please note that these requests must be supported by a medical note.


By now, you will have undoubtedly heard about the organization of students into Learning Groups. This has been recommended by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to reduce the number of close, in-person interactions. This will reduce the number of people each student or staff member comes into contact with, thereby reducing the risk of transmission of COVID 19 and ensuring quicker contact tracing by health authorities.


The PHO has established a maximum Learning Group size of 60 for elementary schools, however; Learning Groups in our school are organized in groups of approximately 30.  This will mean that each classroom will form a Learning Group and within these groups, physical contact must be minimized.  Aside from Learning Groups, there are a number of additional changes that you will want to discuss with your child.  These include:


  • Increased hand washing protocols
  • Changes in classroom layout to increase spacing between students
  • Removal of hard to clean objects
  • Reduction of shared materials
  • More individual and smaller group activities
  • Designated entry and exit doors for each division
  • More outdoor time
  • Adults outside of a learning cohort will be maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask (E.g. Learning Resource Teacher, Librarian, Counselor)
  • Please note that masks are not required for elementary school students however; wearing a non-medical mask will be a personal choice for students and staff
  • Masks are required for staff when they are in high traffic areas such as hallways as well as when they are outside of their learning group


There are a number of protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. These include additional cleaning and disinfecting, physical barriers, hand washing stations and sanitizer available throughout the school and increased signs and other visual cues. Most importantly, we ask for your utmost cooperation in ensuring that your child remains home if they show any symptoms of common cold, influenza, COVID 19 and other infectious respiratory disease before sending them to school.


The Ministry has provided time on September 10th and 11th for student orientation to adjust to new routines and review health and safety protocols. These days will be shortened to ensure that students have time to adjust to the routines and expectations of this school year.



Tuesday, September 8th & Wednesday, September 9th – Orientation and planning days for staff only.  Students do not attend.


Thursday, September 10th– Orientation Day – Grade 1-5 students attend for one hour

9:00-10:00 Group A and C

9:30-10:30 Group B and D

(Kindergarten students do not attend on this day)


Friday, September 11th– Orientation Day – Grade 1-5 students attend for half day

8:55 – 12:24 – Group A, B, C, D

(Kindergarten students do not attend on this day)


Monday, September 14th

Start of regular instruction for Grade 1-5

Kindergarten starts gradual entry


As we move forward, communication will remain important.  To that end, I will be in touch with you by September 8th to provide further information about your child’s Group, protocols for school arrival and more details regarding the first two days of school. A special welcome to our families whose children are beginning kindergarten this year!  I will reach out to you by Tuesday, September 1st with our kindergarten gradual entry schedule.


While classrooms may look a little different, I want to assure you that we are working hard to plan for a positive learning experience for your child and look forward to the year ahead.  As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me should you wish to connect.


We are looking forward to welcoming students back to FW Howay on September 10th!!


Enjoy your last weeks of summer!

Sarah Phelan