This summer, The Toronto Heschel School has been carefully planning for a return to school in accordance with government and public health guidance and protocols.
We are very pleased to announce that Heschel is planning to welcome back students for full-time, in-class learning in all grades. Classes will be taught by our regular Heschel faculty, and we will deliver a full Heschel program, including physical education, teaching through the arts, French, social-emotional learning, and outdoor education.
Heschel Reopening Plan
In order to maintain the recommended social distancing and class cohort sizes, we will be adding some class cohorts, redesigning classroom set-ups and modifying the way the educational program is delivered.
Each cohort will have no more than the recommended cohort size of 15 per classroom and will be assigned rooms in the school that are large enough to enable students to maintain recommended social distancing.
Students will learn most subjects with their cohorts in a single assigned classroom. There will be very limited student rotation.
To reduce the number of students and teachers who regularly come into contact with one another, subjects such as Art, French, Music, and Physical Education will be offered on a rotational basis (for example, 3-4 times a week for 2 weeks instead of once or twice a week each.)
Outdoor recess times will be staggered and grade cohorts will use different, designated entrances and exits to minimize contact among cohorts.
Physical Education classes will be conducted primarily outdoors and will emphasize physical training, exercises and sports that maintain social distancing at appropriate distances.
COVID Health and Safety Plan: a comprehensive plan has been developed which includes:
Required daily health screening of children by parents
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing schedule
Hand sanitizer at the entrance to all classrooms
Different entry and exit doors and routes for class cohorts
Frequent signage, hallway direction markers and laneways
Spacing of Junior High lockers
Personal art bins, supplies, and gym/yoga mats
Training for faculty and students on COVID protocols
Individual class AC / fans and large windows throughout the building will be used to enhance fresh air-exchange. Our school does not use central air-condition or forced air heating, which reduces concern about the recirculation of air between rooms and cohorts.
Simultaneous Virtual Learning:
We anticipate that some students may not attend in-person learning for periods of time and for a variety of reasons. In these situations, students will be able to join the live- classes, virtually.
In the event that Public Health requires the whole school or a cohort of students to return to on-line learning for a period of time, the school is preparing to pivot back to a full on-line program as needed.
In anticipation of a partial or full return to on-line learning, families may also wish to acclimatize their children to the use of Zoom and Google Classroom. A Google Classroom training session will be offered for new families just before the start of the term, in order to be prepared for all scenarios.
Academic and Social Reintegration:
The school is planning a comprehensive Professional Development week for teachers in August to address lagging academic skills for older students and the social-emotional challenges of reintegrating into school.
Junior and Senior Kindergarten families are receiving guidance on how to best prepare their children to transition back to school, including a session with social worker and therapist Cindy Smolkin to help address the concerns of parents about how to set your child up for success.
JK and SK will have an incremental schedule for the first week of September to help them transition back into school.
We feel that this plan, while different than our usual structure, will allow The Toronto Heschel School to continue to offer students a rich educational experience in the 2020-21 school year. We recognize that public health guidance may change as the summer progresses, and plans are subject to revision based on new information and guidance.
If you are thinking about enrolling your child this September, please contact Bailey Daniels, Director of Admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org as limited spots are still available in selected classes.