Welcoming students back September 8, 2020
I am very excited to be welcoming families back on campus for classes this Fall. It feels like a very long time since we have heard the buzz of students within our halls.
The past months have been challenging in many ways as families have balanced work, finances, school and raising children all at the same time. Many of the staff at Westmont are also parents and have been riding the same roller coaster during this pandemic- it has not been easy! To balance out the challenges faced, there have been some amazing positives that we have experienced, and some a-ha moments that will shape our lives and our school from this point on.
At Westmont we pride ourselves on the strong community we have built. This was highly evident through the last months of school. We saw students really connecting in the online communities we built for classes. Families came to each other’s aid through our Parent Support Network. The synergy between the school’s governing Board and the school administration has never been stronger.
At the school we put great stock in supporting students in the development of their character with strength, resiliency, and flexibility being key areas nurtured in our Montessori programs. Students adapted amazingly well to the changes from in-class to online instruction. In no time at all, video class meetings, online lessons, teacher-student check-ins, and student chats all became common place.
As we move forward into this new chapter, we know that our school is well placed to respond to the next challenges we will face.
We have always felt fortunate to be on our amazing 10-acre campus nestled in the midst of Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park, and we will now leverage all that it has to offer. Our large spaces, both indoor and outdoor, will afford us great flexibility in how we can adapt to the inevitable changes we will see throughout this upcoming school year. Using indoor and outdoor classrooms means that we will be able to keep students healthy and safe while still continuing the experiential learning so central to Montessori instruction.
We have provided information below to highlight various aspects of our COVID response plan. I highly encourage you to review the information, and welcome inquiries from families for more information.
Head of School
Summary of our COVID Plan
Provide families with as much certainty as possible related to safety and time at school.
All healthy students safely on campus 5 days a week through Stage 3 while meeting or exceeding BC Ministry of Education guidelines (see below).
Comprehensive plan to minimize interaction between cohorts, parents, and other visitors.
Leverage our 10 acre campus and 143 acre adjacent Witty’s Lagoon park to shift a lot of learning outdoors.
Invest in state-of-the-art cleaning technology and adopt rigours cleaning protocols
Offer a strong on-line program for students who are unwell that includes dedicated teaching staff, video conferencing, and an extensive Montessori learning library of materials.
Respond to inevitable changes in the COVID situation with speed and balance, relying on our multi-disciplinary Pandemic Response Team.
Stages of School Opening
Key Health and Safety Initiatives
- Extensive outdoor learning environment including outdoor classrooms, large playing field, learning garden, direct access to vast array of trails as well as the forest and beach in Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
- State-of-the-art electrostatic cleaning of surfaces and materials in classroom
- Online wellness check system for parents
- Separate sick room for students who fall ill during the day
- Limited access to buildings for guests
- Hand washing stations outside of building
- Hand sanitizing stations outside every exterior entrance and every classroom entrance
- Separate entrances/exits for all cohort groups
For a complete copy of Westmont’s 2020 Health and Safety Policies, please contact the school.
Westmont's Pandemic Response Team
Westmont has assembled a strong Pandemic Response Team that meets weekly to assess the latest COVID information and to guide our community. The Team’s focus is on health and supporting our families while keeping our school strong. We are lucky to have the time, experience and energy of this diverse group that includes health care, education, finance, legal, engineering, and entrepreneurs.