Senior School September Information

Students with model aeroplane

Introduction

We are excited to welcome you and your family back 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 meaningful learning experience. With experience gained through remote learning in Term 3 last school year and an eye on best practice in new circumstances, we will be well prepared to help students get the most from their new academic year. The Senior School is a space to feel safe and welcome, where students focus on their goals for higher learning and for life, 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 Senior 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 organizations, we have developed a comprehensive plan to minimize the risk of COVID-19 at the Senior 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.
  • To respond to the Ministry of Education’s Restart Plan (PDF), we will have a new timetable with a five-day school schedule that will help limit students’ interactions with others.
  • Increased physical distancing measures, including floor labelling and reduced furniture in classrooms and common spaces.
  • More handwashing and hand sanitizing stations.
  • All high-touch public computer spaces will be removed.
    • To this end, in September all students will require a laptop computer. This change is in response to ongoing and increased technology requirements, to reduce shared use and to be prepared should government-mandated remote learning be enacted.  
  • 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 Senior 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 aims to ensure a consistent education for students, whether we are all on campus together or learning remotely.

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

  • To ensure academic continuity, we will have a new timetable that will allow faculty and students to flex easily into the different stages of the Ministry of Education’s Restart Plan if necessary.
  • Reconfigured classrooms to allow for physical distancing.
  • Common spaces will be redesigned and repurposed to accommodate physical distancing guidelines.
  • Off-campus experiential education opportunities, including the Grade 10 Experiential Program, will be adjusted to connect more closely with in-class learning.
  • 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.

Please note: In September, all Senior School students will be required to bring their own individual laptop to school. This change is in response to ongoing and increased technology requirements, to reduce shared use and to be prepared should government-mandated remote learning be enacted. This device must have a camera and be capable of running the latest operating systems and software.

Arts, Athletics and Outdoor Education

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

  • Our music and theatre arts programs will continue, with rehearsal spaces reconfigured to allow for greater physical distancing and, where necessary, wind musicians may be separated by physical barriers. The school is exploring options for hosting smaller performances given the current restrictions on large gatherings.
  • For more than 100 years, athletics have been a cornerstone of SMUS; we have always pursued excellence in these areas. This year will be no exception, as a robust athletics program 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 BC School Sports.
  • Overnight outdoor education trips in September for Grade 9 and 10 students will be replaced by local day trips allowed within the health and safety guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and Island Health. Components of the outdoor education program have been adapted in the event that some or all students shift to remote learning.

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:

  • In the event that we are unable to gather in large groups, chapel and assembly will be in person, but held in smaller gatherings.
  • Shared spaces for students (i.e. Sun Centre student commons, The Snowden Library, Monkman Athletic Centre) will be open with appropriate density and physical distancing measures in place, along with additional health and safety protocols in these areas.
  • It will be necessary for us to reserve the use of the Sun Centre dining hall for boarding students, at least for the opening weeks of the school year. Our day students will continue to be able to purchase food from The Howard Café, but otherwise would need to provide their own lunches.

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.

Please also see the note above regarding laptop computers.

Boarding Information 

Information on the steps we will be taking around health and safety within our boarding program can be found in the Boarding section.

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 to SMUS section of our website, which provides helpful resources and documents as you prepare for the 2020-21 school year.