Individuals may not drink directly from water fountains. We kindly ask everyone to bring a reusable water bottle to campus, which can be refilled throughout the day, and is clearly labeled with a name.
Signage will be posted at entrances, exits, in halls, classrooms and boarding houses, reminding and instructing our community to: monitor COVID-19 and remain home if ill; and how to access on-campus wellness services.
A "no sharing policy" is in place and our enhanced deep cleaning, hand-washing and hygiene regimens are also effective protocols for allergen risk-mitigation. This includes disinfecting and sanitizing twice per day during lunch/spare/recess and after school along with deep cleaning every evening.
Students will not have access to their lockers in the fall and are encouraged to limit the quantity of personal belongings brought onto campus. Any items brought to campus must be clearly labeled and kept within an individual’s designated spaces or school bags. Though hand sanitizer will be provided on campus, we encourage students to bring their own travel supply of hand sanitizer and moisturizer each day.
Students will bring lunch each day and eat in class; no sharing will be permitted. An optional meal-ordering system will be available, with details to come. Hygiene guidelines will include pre -and post-meal handwashing.
For the safety of our community, until further notice, only students and employees will be permitted inside campus buildings. No visitors, including parents, will be allowed in campus buildings unless deemed essential to the daily operations of the school. Any visitors deemed essential are expected to complete the daily screening process and must follow campus guidelines and expectations.
Where centralized heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems exist on campus, a mechanical engineering review is underway; recommendations for improvements, if required, will follow. In areas with no central HVAC, 100 air purifiers have been installed. Additionally, weather permitting, windows can be opened frequently to allow for fresh air, one of the most important measures to dilute and displace any airborne virus.
Classes will be held across the West Campus, including the Junior School and the Athletics and Wellness Centre (AWC), with the allocation of facilities and spaces made based on students’ age and stage. Classes will be grouped in cohorts, distanced at two metres.
Half our students and teachers will be on campus, alternating days. Each class of 15 will be assigned two classrooms, distanced at two metres, and the subject teacher will move between the two classes.
At this time, students in JK-Grade 3 are strongly encouraged, if not required, to wear masks in the classroom. Teachers are required to wear them in class. Students and teachers in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear masks in the classroom. Masks will be worn by all students and employees in all common and high-traffic areas within the school. Students must provide their own masks. Those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons will be required to wear a face shield.
Yes, as long as the individual who has travelled is abiding by the strict federal quarantine guidelines (i.e. isolating in a separate part of the home, avoiding ANY close contact with others in the household). Family members who have remained local are able to leave the home and attend work or school.
As per Toronto Public Health, it is recommended that students and school staff with ANY symptoms of COVID-19 go to an assessment centre for testing as soon as possible, and self-isolate at home until the results are available and symptom-free for 24 hours. To ensure the health and safety of our community, we kindly ask that individuals share negative test results with the Health Centre prior to returning to school.
As per Toronto Public Health, students and employees who test positive for COVID-19 cannot return to school until they have been cleared by Public Health (typically 14 days after symptoms appear). Public Health will be in contact with all confirmed cases within a 24-hour period.
Throughout the duration of the pandemic, Branksome Hall health services will be delivered from two locations on campus, the Health Centre in Ainslie House (general health assistance for non-communicable illness) and the new Wellness Centre in the Principal’s House (offering a temporary support for possible or confirmed communicable illness). Each location will be under the supervision of our Head Nurse and newly appointed School Nurse. Our health team’s mandate is to teach healthy practices that are key in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Although Toronto Public Health has released preliminary guidelines for independent schools, further refinements are still in development. The Health Centre will consult internally and with Toronto Public Health to ensure immediate follow-up with any individuals who may be at risk and other next steps including, in the extreme, school closure. Our approach will be communicated presently, as we define policies. Students and employees exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be advised by Public Health. Public Health will complete a risk assessment and determine who had high risk exposure.
Many children show few or no signs if they're sick; a lack of a fever is not conclusive. Check government watch lists. If the presenting signs or symptoms are not related to a previously diagnosed medical condition, your child must remain home. If unsure, please contact the Health Centre, Toronto Public Health or your medical professional. Rule of thumb? If you’re sick, stay home.
Students will be required to complete the daily screening process prior to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. This applies when learning or working remotely. Employees will be required to complete it by 7:00 a.m. Further details on the Employee Reopening Portal page. To learn more about our daily screening and attendance requirements for students, please click here for Junior School, Senior and Middle School, and Boarding Program.
Due to hygiene and dry-cleaning requirements, blazers will not be required this year and black pants or BH navy pants are an option, as are BH sweatpants or black leggings. Our decision considers student comfort, as we recognize the uncertainty and emotion that will likely accompany return. Most importantly, we selected these items to ensure students can wear something that is easily washed each day.
Bookmark the Aramark ordering website. You’ll be ordering meals in segments and will need to note order deadlines. All meals must be ordered a week in advance. (Online ordering is now closed for the segment that runs September 14 to October 5.)
The goal when creating groups of students is to develop well-balanced classes. We cannot accommodate individual requests to place friends together; however, we will accommodate students supported by Learning Strategies teachers to be clustered in the same group.
Bookmark the Aramark ordering website. You’ll be ordering meals in segments and will need to note order deadlines. All meals must be ordered a week in advance. (Monday, September 14 is the first deadline, for the segment starting September 21 and ending October 5.)
The year will be divided into two semesters. Each semester has four 20-class parts and we will alternate between each. Each day will consist of four and one-half course blocks for Senior School and five course blocks for Middle School. Each grade will be split into small groups for on-campus days, with a maximum of 15 students in the same space. Remote study days will consist of a mix of live Zoom meetings and asynchronous materials.
It is our greatest hope that we will be able to all be on campus again soon. Breaking the semesters into four parts of 20 classes each, allows us to pivot more easily from hybrid to fully on campus when we are allowed to do so. We will revisit each semester block at the end of each, and reassess, to ensure students and teachers/coaches are able to access the best we can give and still stay safe.
Teachers, as always, will continue to work with students to ensure that they have the necessary skills to be successful in the Diploma program. In the initial weeks of the DP 1 year, teachers will assist students in acquiring a full understanding of the expectations of their courses and types of assessments the students can expect, with emphasis on the importance of social-emotional learning to student success and well-being. Both DP 1 and DP 2 students will continue to have access to their guidance counsellors, the learning strategies team, the social worker and the diploma coordinator should they require further support.
The class building process is extremely complex, with multiple variables to be considered such as course selection, number of available sections, timetable conflicts, and room sizes. While we cannot make changes to class rosters based on parent requests, our guidance counsellors are happy to work with your daughter early in the year to develop her skills and competencies for developing close connections with the students in her classes.
Unfortunately, we cannot manage each family's unique situation to ensure they are on the same day because imbalances in class sizes occur. We will review our modified schedule models at the end of each semester block (20 classes), with the hopes that we can all return on campus soon.
The GY class was top of mind for this modified semester model. The rotation of semesters allows students to keep consistency and concurrency of learning well in hand while not juggling too much at any given moment. By breaking a semester into four parts and toggling back and forth every 20 classes, students need only juggle up to four courses at a time, without losing the concurrency of learning. Courses vary by student, depending on their choices, with the exception of Math: Analysis SL in Semester 1.
Unfortunately, because we have greater demand than available placements, we would likely fill it should someone decide to delay or leave mid-year. Re-entry would then be contingent on enrolment the following year.
We will provide modified athletics and co-curricular programming, including planning for as much integrated outdoor physical education during the school day as possible and additions as appropriate as the year evolves. This will include a modified Week Without Halls program.
To mitigate the spread of illness within the Branksome Hall community, strategies have been implemented using guidance from government agencies, as well as infection prevention and exposure measures for communicable disease models. One of the most effective strategies to minimize risk for our students and staff is to contain the campus for their use only. As a result, Branksome Hall has made the difficult decision to extend our facility closure to external partners and community members until at least Dec 31, 2020.