Mandatory Mask Mandate:  This Week in Our Room:  September 27-October 1, 2021

Image from Google

This week we begin with the new mandatory mask mandate for children in Kindergarten to Grade 3 in BC.  Many children in our classrooms already wear a daily mask, and we are continuing to encourage a school culture of mask wearing at Ridgeview.  Kindergarten children are amazing!  They are keen to learn, flexible in their thinking, show kindness, care about others and love deeply.  We also had very high numbers of children wearing masks last year in school.  It’s important that we as teachers and parents continue to be positive role models, demonstrate patience and focus on the benefits. As Dr. Bonnie Henry said in her announcement on Friday,  the children are our “Super Heroes” and “they wear their mask to keep their community and the people they love safe and healthy.”   This is a message you could follow up with at home as we transition to mandatory mask wearing tomorrow morning.  

Everyday we talk about the importance of wearing a mask for each other’s safety.  As we mentioned previously, it’s our personal and social responsibility to safeguard the health of the people in our school building, and our families.  We always say, the teachers and students wear a mask to protect ourselves, our families and each other.  As we walk through the hallways to go to the Library, Music class and ELL, the children can pass individual students, classes of students and staff members.   Our prime directive is simply to protect our Kindergarten children in every way possible that we have available to us.

We have many children in our classes who want to wear a mask every day but do not bring any to school.  We’ve currently supplied over 100 masks between our two classes.  We’d like to encourage you to send along your children’s own masks, reusable or non-surgical, and keep a small supply in their backpacks. Please make sure they fit appropriately.  

We have noticed some children struggling with the fit of their mask, complaining that they are too big or the ear straps have become too loose.  An improper fit makes a mask difficult to wear all day.  Reusable masks should be washed daily. Non-surgical masks are single use only (eg., one school day unless it gets dirty), and should have the ear straps cut before disposing in the garbage.  The children have observed us cutting the straps when we throw away a soiled mask.  This is for the protection of animals who may be scavenging in the garbage and landfills.

The children go through a lot of masks because masks can become uncomfortable or dirty with food or wet from breathing, become lost or dropped a few too many times on the floor.  A few children change their masks twice a day which we support completely. 

One change we are making for our classes is that the children should have their mask on before they enter the school building.  This means that the children are putting their mask on while waiting in line to enter the classroom.  Then, they will enter the school in their usual manner to hang up their coats and hang up their backpacks before they wash their hands.

We will ask the children to put their masks in their pockets or leave their masks in their backpacks when eating and when they play outside during the morning and lunch recess and outdoor learning activities.  A few children prefer to keep their mask on the whole day and so long as they are comfortable, we’ve allowed them to continue wearing it but they know they are free at any time to change their mind.

If your child is unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons please email Mr. Zerbe, our school principal, (wzerbe@wvschools.ca) to let the school know so it can be added to their file. 

Here are some good resources for you if you’re looking for children’s books about mask wearing and a virtual classroom with links to SafeShare YouTube videos about masks.  

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Wednesday, October 6, 2021:  Early Dismissal for Kindergarten at 12:50 pm

Thursday, October 7, 2021:  Early Dismissal for Kindergarten at 12:50 pm

We were able to meet with most Kindergarten parents in September for our Intake Conferences.  During the Early Dismissal times for our parent-teacher conferences we have scheduled conferences with families that were unable to meet during the Intake Conference time.  We have also requested meetings with some families.  If you have any urgent or private concerns (new family changes, medical situations or allergies) please let us know and we will try to arrange a mutually agreeable time for a virtual meeting.  Otherwise, we are more than happy to have a casual chat with you outside, socially distanced wearing a mask, on the playground after school.   

Image from Google

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