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October 8, 2020

SWC School Council (Virtual) Meeting Minutes

October 8, 2020 - Google Meet

 

Staff attending: 

Wanda Mills-Boone

Louise Cesario

 

Parents attending: 

Margaret Sambol (chair), Amanda Lancaster, Pearl Atwere, Joane McAuley, Alex McAuley, Crystal Morris (and Steven), Cara Baas, Allison Peacocke, David Sibayeh Ngantchu, Philip Mansfield, Wendy Mansfield, Alexis Ashworth, Christina Harrison-Baird, Danielle Rodier, Naomi Elias, Duygu Morewood, Emmanuella Stimphat, Jayson Shurgold, Susan Shurgold, Jill Sibbitt, Karen Roberts, Leila Chinaei, Jason Hinek, Olga Blais, Michael Carter, Jamie Lau, Erin Knox 

 

Meeting called to order 6:35 pm

 

Welcome (Margaret):

      Introduction of all attendees

      What Council is and how it works: -not just for our own issues. It’s a whole school focus. Trying to create a great school environment for all kids. Providing 2 way communication. Trying to improve learning for all.

      Lots of COVID related questions. Wanda will try to answer what questions she can, but unable to answer some because of privacy.

 

Principal’s Report (Wanda):

      Crazy start for a year! Before school started a lot of time was spent trying to figure out how to get everyone into SWC according to all protocols. Main focus was making kids feel safe.

      How to get kids onto the field was the first step.  People from the board came to help figure out how it could be done. Parents have been following instructions provided in emails and kids have fallen into routine really well.

      SWC school yard has spread to Parkwood Hills, which has opened up new areas for pick up and drop off.

      Intention is for kids to go outside for recess and gym regardless of weather. So far kids all seem prepared with rain coats and rain boots. Winter will bring new challenges.

      Masks: Grades 1-3 don’t have to wear mask, but have divider on desk. In all classes desks are 1 m apart. By recess, all kids are ready to get away from their desk!  No toys on the yard, so creative play is happening!  Even though K-3 don’t have to wear a mask, many are choosing to wear them and are doing a good job with this.  Kids seem very well trained. As OPH changes their guidelines SWC is changing alongside. There have already been some changes. 

      Some students were quite anxious, but they appear to be getting calmer.  Spending time in classrooms having fun and getting settled is helping.

      School schedules/timetable has changed. There are now three recess times, going through cohorts.  The yard is now divided into 5 zones. Kids are with their classrooms all day long, including in specific zone at recess time. Three different recess times helps keep kids safe in their zones.  Grades 1, 2 and 3, use the gym doors for all exits and entries. 4, 5 and 6 use the back doors all the time. Kinders (only 4 classes this year), use the Parkwood Hills yard thanks to the board allowing us to. This gives the kinders their own zones.  Everything seems to be working well

      COVID cases: when we have a positive case, of which we now have 3, response is orchestrated by OPH.  SWC has to follow the process. Contact tracing takes a lot of time. OPH determines who needs to be away when. The administration recognizes that the emails can be shocking. The emails get sent when OPH is ready for them to come out.  Very little info can be disclosed about any cases, because it doesn’t take long before people can connect the dots.  Please address privacy with your children. 

      Cleaning: Classes are cleaned 2x per day (during recess). Bathrooms are done quite often during the day. Custodians cannot enter classrooms when kids are there, however Wanda is allowed to go in and clean if necessary… and she has.  If/when there is a case there is more of a deep clean, including a fogging machine. 

      Close contacts: SWC has been able to make the timetable in such a way that classes only have 3 teacher contacts (though 4 would be more normal). In all of the cases so far, the teachers have been able to switch to virtual teaching very quickly. Teachers can teach virtually from home if they remain asymptomatic.  It is possible that not all students in a class will be asked to isolate, and some will continue to attend, while others are at home. 

      Thank you to parents for feedback on how things were working with drop-off and pickup. It helped with modifications. 

 

Teachers report (Louise Cesario)

No specific update, but all teachers seem pumped to be back at school. They are impressed with how well the kids are doing with following the rules, etc.

 

Treasurer’s update

      SWC Council normally tries to spend money in the year after it is earned. The justification for this is that  when a child arrives for their first year, they benefit from others’ fundraising, so leaving some money when they leave is fair. There are a lot of benefits to spending money the year after it is earned, including ensuring Council has money to front the upfront costs for fundraisers early in the year, and avoiding any rush to spend money raised late in the spring.  Given the potential limitations in fundraising this year due to COVID, this model might impact next year’s budget.  

      Council spends money on a variety of things. In the fall Council normally sets aside money for council support – pizza, bank fees, etc.. Council also gives money to Wanda to support kids in need and gives gift cards for teachers as a thank you. Once Council has set this money aside, we ask teachers for their requests/ideas for additional funding.

      Financial documents have been circulated. Please email if you have questions.

 

Elections

Intro (Margaret): There is a cap of 25 voting members on council. If you don’t become a voting member at this meeting, you can become one at future meetings. You can also be removed as a voting member. We must have half-plus-one voting members to pass motions.  If you miss 2 meetings without regrets, you are no longer a voting member. Historically, people have always been acclaimed.

Margaret motion to acclaim slate of candidates (n=12). Seconded by Naomi. PASSED

1.     Margaret Sambol    

2.     Karen Roberts

3.     David Sibayeh Ngantchu

4.     Farhat Saqui

5.     Amanda Lancaster

6.     Jayson Shurgold

7.     Crystal Try

8.     Allison Peacocke

9.     Danielle Rodier

10.  Naomi Elias

11.  Idil Omar

12.  Jill Sibbitt

 

Margaret motion to nominate:

      Margaret as co vice-chair with Naomi.

      Amanda Lancaster as website and social media coordination.

      Naomi Elias as fundraising chair.

      Karen Roberts as secretary.

      Allison Peacocke as treasurer. 

Seconded by Jill.  PASSED.

 

Question: Can an OCV student parent be co-chair? Wanda says only if nobody with a child in the school wants the role. Will send out message to school community re vacancy. If no takers, Naomi and Margaret will share the role of vice chair.

 

Questions for Wanda:

Are new investments being made into COVID safety, e.g desk shields, HEPA filters? Teachers have to wear a surgical grade mask. Teachers also have face shields to wear with their mask when they are teaching. Within the classroom, all classes have a 2m radius between teacher’s desk and students. Teachers now also carry gloves and sanitizer in their pouches. They are not sharing anything. Because older kids are wearing masks, it has been determined that no divider is necessary.  WRT Hepa filters, the board has checked all systems in the school. No HEPA filters are in the system and there has been no word on if they are being purchased.

What happens during lunch when the kids take masks off to eat? Isn’t this a big risk?  OPH has a 15 minute time frame for eating. Adding shields has been talked about, but still no motion to bring them in.  Wanda will raise this concern. Margaret reminds people to message their MPP to ask for funds for such things.

Are outdoor lunches for older kids being considered to reduce risk?  The supervision required for this is the key challenge. It could only happen on days that are nicer and it’s hard with balanced day. 

3:30 pickup for kindergarten is hard for parents with older kids, might this change?:  Although it’s an inconvenience, it really helps to clear the front of the school to ensure distances are met with other kids. Changing it may be considered later. Admin is still assessing all plans for the winter context.

How many in person students at SWC this year?: 326

Are we allowed to do fundraising? : At this time, we’ve been told NOT to do fundraisers.  However, a fundraiser where goods are delivered to houses instead of school, or Flipgive, which is purely an online resource shouldn’t be an issue because hands are not passing things to one another. We would need to ask. Direct donations through school cash online would also be an option.

Can parents be advised if there is a substitute teacher?: No promises, as there are lots of substitutes given the current situation. It is a mad dash to make sure classes are filled.

Do we need a crossing guard? If so, what can we do to get one? It seems to be working very well. Wanda would like to commit to being on the corner all the time, but having a crossing guard would certainly go a long way! The city says it helps when they hear from people from the community.

 

Virtual meetings to continue on second Thursday of the month. The next meeting will be Nov. 12.

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