Middle School September Information

Student playing the drums

Introduction

We are excited to welcome you and your child to another year of learning in September. The health and well-being of our campus community is the highest priority and we are developing plans that are responsive to the needs of our community, while being focused on creating a dynamic learning experience. With experience gained from remote learning in Term 3 last school year and an eye on best practice in new circumstances, we will be well prepared to help your child explore what their new academic year has in store for them. The Middle School is a space to feel safe, welcome and supported to learn, and come September it will be just that.

The information on these pages will be updated as September approaches. Please continue to check our Latest Information page to know when new information is available.

Health and Safety at the Middle School

The health and well-being of our students, teachers, staff, parents and visitors to campus is the highest priority. By adhering to and exceeding guidance from the Provincial and Federal Ministries of Health, the Ministry of Education, Island Health and other partner organizations, we have developed a comprehensive plan to minimize the risk of COVID-19 at the Middle School.

We are optimistic and planning for all students to be attending in-person classes come September. When school starts, there will be a number of measures in place, including:

  • All students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors must assess their own health or their child's health prior to coming onto the Richmond Road campus. Anyone who is feeling unwell is required to stay home.
  • Increased physical distancing measures, including floor labelling, barriers and reduced furniture in classrooms and common spaces.
  • More handwashing and hand sanitizing stations.
  • Increased frequency and intensity of cleaning protocols, particularly on high-touch surfaces.
  • While not required in school settings, use of face masks may be considered when prolonged 6-foot (2 metre) physical distancing cannot be achieved.

Students will also have continued access to our counselling department and other campus staff to support their social and emotional well-being through these challenging times.

All plans are subject to change, with health and safety at the centre of all decision making. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation daily, and respond appropriately by taking our lead from health experts, ministry guidelines and provincial mandates. In anticipation of the unknown, we are creating a multi-stage education plan that allows us to quickly transition to different learning models, if schools are mandated to reduce the number of people on campus.

Communicating with Parents

There will be ongoing communication with parents and guardians in the lead-up to September and throughout the school year to keep you informed of any changes. This web page will also be updated regularly. You should also expect to receive updates from the Director of Middle School, administrators and your child’s teachers with more specific information.

Academics

Our teachers and administrators are planning for an in-person experience for students that prioritizes health and safety, as well as a superb education. Our plan will aim to ensure a consistent education for students, whether we are all on campus together or learning remotely.

Middle School families will see a variety of changes, including:

  • Smaller class sizes in redesigned and repurposed spaces to accommodate physical distancing requirements.
  • A simplified five-day school schedule.
  • To limit interactions with others, students will be assigned a “home classroom” where they will take most of their courses (except some courses which may include electives, music and physical education) alongside the same group of classmates.
  • Students will keep their school books and supplies in a sealed container in their home classroom, limiting the use of lockers.
  • In keeping with existing absence protocols, while in-school education is the norm, teachers will aim to support students who are away from school due to illness.

Arts, Athletics and Outdoor Education

Our school has a strong history of offering a wide variety of extracurricular experiences for students, and this school year will be no exception. We intend to offer as many options as we can, however, physical distancing requirements will result in changes to what is available.

  • Arts programs will continue, with rehearsals for some music classes happening in the Chapel to allow for greater physical distancing. The school is exploring options for hosting smaller performances given restrictions on large gatherings.
  • Athletics will be offered in line with the return-to-play guidelines from the Ministry of Health, viaSport (Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture), and local sport governing bodies including the Lower Island Middle School Sports Association.
  • The Middle School outdoor education program will be adjusted with outtrips scheduled for the end of the school year.

Student Life

Community remains an important part of the student experience at SMUS. As such, we intend to maintain key touchstones of our program, with some changes in accordance with health and safety guidelines:

  • Chapel will be held in person, in smaller gatherings.
  • TAG will be organized within each grade and within the group of students that share a home classroom.

Uniforms and School Supplies

Online ordering (pick-up only) for uniforms and supplies from the SMUS Campus Shop will be available as of August 17. The Campus Shop, located on our Richmond Road campus, will also reopen by appointment only for in-person consultations and shopping on August 17. Due to physical distancing requirements, only the student and one parent or guardian will be permitted in the shop during the visit. Unscheduled drop-ins to the Campus Shop cannot be accommodated at this time, however, this will be reassessed in September.

Boarding Information

Learn more about the steps we will be taking around health and safety within our Boarding program.

September Start Information

Please keep an eye on our First Week at SMUS web pages throughout the summer for detailed information and schedules for the back-to-school week.

Families that are new to our school are also encouraged to visit the Welcome New Middle School Families section of our website, which provides helpful resources and documents as you prepare for the 2020-21 school year.