August 20, 2020

MEI Secondary – September 2020 Restart Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

MEI was required to submit our September Restart Plans to the Ministry of Education during the week of August 17-21.

The “Frequently Asked Questions Below” will include questions, answers and specifics that may be altered slightly as the school year approaches. Please bookmark and check back at the FAQ regularly for answers to your questions as the FAQ will be expanded over time. When major changes occur, MEI Secondary families will also be notified by email.

The Ministry of Education has been very clear in their expectations for schools in BC’s Back to School Plan. Much of the information below references these expectations. The province of BC is currently in Stage 2 of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 Five Stage Framework.

How do I inform the secondary office if my child will be absent for all or part of a day? – NEW

Please report any absences or early dismissals to the school office. You can contact our office via phone 604-859-3700 or by emailing the office directly at Students are required to sign in when they arrive more than 30 minutes late to school or sign out when leaving early.

What do I do if my child forgets something and I need to drop something off at the school? – NEW

We have a table located in the front lobby close to the main doors for drop-offs, please make sure any items are labelled and advise your son/daughter, so they can pick-up the item up. We will not be accepting items at the office for students to pick-up. New COVID guidelines do not permit parents coming into schools without a scheduled appointment.

Is Outdoor Recreation happening this year? – NEW

The outdoor recreation program is up and running this year after an off year last year. We will be taking all appropriate COVID precautions including physical distancing during activities, wearing masks when riding or buses or in vehicles, and individual tents on the overnight trip. Possible activities this year include hiking, mountain biking, golf, disc golf, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, canoeing, survival skills and wilderness first aid training. The cost for this course is $700. Applications are available through Schoology or outside of Mr. Knodel’s classroom (Room 102). There will be a parent meeting on September 22, and student applications are due September 25.

Are parents and students allowed to order food for delivery to the school? – NEW


What is the first day of school for MEI Secondary students? – UPDATED

Due to many recent changes, MEI Secondary will now have a gradual restart for students next week.

  • Tuesday, September 8 – “Staff only” day – No school for all secondary students
  • Wednesday, September 9 – Half day (9:00-11:30am) orientation day for Grade 9 students only – No school for Grades 10-12 students (Bus transportation will be provided for grade 9 students to and from school)
  • Thursday, September 10 – Regular school day for all students with orientation provided for all Grades 10-12 students. See start and end times below.

Please explain the new staggered start and end times for the secondary? – NEW

All MEI Secondary families have received an email on Wednesday, September 9 with the school’s new Daily Time Schedule for the 2020/21 school year. In order to meet provincial health guidelines, we have staggered start & end times, lunchtimes and other breaks. The most important timing information for families:

Grade 9/10
Monday – 8:55am -2:35pm
Tuesday – Friday – 8:35am-2:35pm

Grade 11/12
Monday – 9:10am-2:50pm
Tuesday-Friday – 8:50am-2:50pm

Will extra-curricular sports be happening this year? – NEW

At this point, school sports are not included in the Ministry of Education’s back to school plan. No tryouts, practices or competition may happen. We’re hoping for a change but don’t know when or if that may occur.

Why has MEI chosen the quarter system for delivering courses?

We have made this decision to move to a quarter system for our schedule. This means that our secondary students will take one course in the morning and a second course in the afternoon for terms of approximately 10 weeks. Every ten weeks, students will switch to two new courses, for a total of eight courses in the year.

We worked very hard to construct a timetable with a semester system (four classes a day for approximately 20 weeks) while still ensuring choice for our Grade 11 and Grade 12 students, and, in the end, we could not make it happen. The quarter system will allow for all provincially mandated health and safety requirements to be met combined with as much as choice as possible for our senior students.

The quarter system will also mean fewer transitions between classes, translating to fewer chances for cohorts/learning groups of students to come in contact with each other on a regular basis.

My child is new to secondary school. Which supplies will my child need for the first day?

We recommend that every student have a backpack filled with a couple of binders, some lined paper, pens, pencils, and a water bottle. Teachers will inform students of more specific supplies during their first classes.

Will music classes occur as usual this year?

Grade 9 band and choir classes will occur during the regular school day. All Grades 10-12 band and choir classes will occur before or after the regular school day as larger learning spaces and physical distancing measures will be required for these takes to take place. Mr. Joiner and Mr. Wedel will provide more information to music students as the school year begins.

Will my child need an electronic device for their classes?

Laptops or tablets are not necessary for our students, but as our student computer labs will not be used as readily this year due to COVID learning group/cohort restrictions, students will find it beneficial to have their own electronic device at school.

Why is there no option at this time for students to take their classes online?

As a school of only 600+ students, we have not been given permission by the Ministry of Education to run online classes (distributed learning) during Stage 2. You can read more information about all five stages here – Five Stages Framework for K-12 Education.

Will students be able to access all the courses they need for graduation?

Yes, all students will be able to access the courses they need to meet the graduation requirements for a Dogwood Diploma. Like any year, specific courses may not fit into a student’s timetable, and the student may need to choose a different course to meet their graduation requirements.

Will students use lockers, or will they be able to use backpacks?

Students will be not be able to use lockers in Stage 2 due to COVID-19 restrictions. For those of you whose children attended MEI Secondary during the 2019/20 school year, you will find it highly ironic that we are now requiring students to carry all of their necessary supplies in backpacks during the school day.

When will students receive their timetable of courses?

Students will receive their timetables on their first day of school (see specific dates above in question #1).

How will students move through the hallways?

Movement within our secondary school will be directed with markings on the floors designed to provide the necessary safe distancing for staff and students.

What are the expectations for students and staff to wear masks?

MEI Secondary students and staff will be following the health and safety guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.

Under the updated health and safety guidelines, masks are required for all staff and all students in MEI Secondary when they are in high traffic/common areas like school buses and hallways, and anytime they are outside of their classroom or learning group and they cannot safely distance from others.

  • Students will have the choice to wear a mask in their home classroom.
  • Staff will have the choice to wear a mask when interacting within their cohort/learning group.
  • Everyone must treat each other and those wearing masks with respect.

Even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group.

  • Teachers Teaching on Call will be expected to wear a mask at all times.
  • Any visitors to the school offices will need to book an appointment ahead of time and wear a mask during their scheduled visit.
  • Exceptions will be made for students and staff who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

Where will students eat their lunches?

Students will eat lunches in their home classroom for the first part of lunchtime. For the remainder of lunchtime, cohorts will be assigned designated areas in the school. If students choose to meet with students from other cohorts, this will only be able to occur outside with physical distancing measures followed. School administration is still considering staggered transition and lunchtimes for the school year.

Will students be able to see friends from other cohorts during the school day?

If students choose to meet with students from other cohorts, this will only occur at lunchtime outside with physical distancing measures expected to be followed.

Are carpools still allowed?

Outside of our own bussing system where secondary students will be expected to wear masks, MEI will not be policing how students are transported to and from school. If students are travelling with other people outside of their cohort/learning group, it would be strongly recommended that these students are wearing masks.

What are my responsibilities as a parent related to COVID-19 before I send my child(ren) to school each day?

Daily screenings start at home. Parents/caregivers should ask these questions:

  • Does your child have the symptoms of a common cold, influenza, COVID-19, or other infectious respiratory disease?
  • Has your child been outside Canada in the last 14 days?
  • Has your child been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you must keep your child at home, self-isolate, and seek care from a health-care provider.

What measures will be taken if a student who does not feel well arrives at school or if a student becomes ill while at school?

If a student or staff member develops symptoms at school, protocols are in place.

  • If a student or staff member develops symptoms at school, they may be given a non-medical mask and will be separated from their classmates or colleagues
  • The individual’s parent or guardian will be contacted to discuss next steps
  • Custodial staff will clean and disinfect the areas the person used
  • Schools will immediately inform public health of a potential case

Public health will then:

  • Reach out and identify any potential cases
  • Get in touch with close contacts
  • Recommend 14-day isolation if necessary
  • Provide follow-up recommendations if necessary
  • Schools will provide learning support to students required to self-isolate
  • Together, schools and public health officials will determine if suspending in-class learning is necessary

You will be notified if your child has been in contact with a COVID-positive person. If that happens, your child is required to self-isolate.