Admiral Westphal Elementary

Back to School Plan update September 3, 2020


Dear Admiral Westphal Families,

This is an extra-long email packed with lots of information regarding our school’s reopening plan. We are getting very excited to welcome back our students and supporting their return to school is our highest priority! First day of school for students is Tuesday, September 8, 2020. COVID-19 has changed what our school and school day will look like, but it has not changed our commitment to providing the care and support that your child will receive. All students are returning to school as outlined in Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan. To learn more about the plan, visit


Staff Updates:
We have lots of new faces joining our AWESome team and you can check our school directory at

The First Day
Your child’s teacher will connect with you today or tomorrow.  On the first day, staff will be outside on duty at 8:35 to greet students. We will be pointing them towards their designated door where staff will greet them and direct them to their homeroom. All staff will be supporting this process so we can maintain social distancing.

Monitoring Symptoms
Self-monitoring begins at home as our shared health is our shared responsibility. All families and staff members must complete the daily Covid Screening Tool before coming to school each day. You can find the checklist using this link: it is also available on our webpage. Please keep your child at home when they are ill, even if their symptoms are mild, and contact 811. By monitoring daily, we are all doing our part to protect our shared health.

Updated Contact Information
It is essential that we have updated contact information in case a student becomes ill during the day. If you are unsure if your contact information is correct, please call Mrs. Cunningham at 902.435.8305 or email at In the event a student is ill, they will need to be picked up as soon as possible.

We will be spending a significant amount of time in September teaching routines for handwashing/sanitizing, wearing masks and ‘Cough and Sneeze etiquette’. Having these discussions at home and practicing before school starts with help everyone feel more comfortable with these routines. We have lots of hand sanitizing stations, and several of our classrooms have sinks. There will be increased handwashing and sanitizing as students enter and exit school and throughout the day.

All students in grades 4-6 will be required to wear a face mask in the school when they are unable to physically distance. All students (PP-6) will be required to wear a face mask when travelling on the school bus. Two masks will be provided for each student. They will be distributed the first day of school (September 8th).

Social Distancing
We have a variety of decals/signage that will remind students of social distancing. Classes are able to take off masks when outside but still must maintain social distancing. Staff have been busy reorganizing classrooms and common areas to maximize space to support physical distancing.

Cleaning Protocols
Our HRCE custodial staff have been working many hours to ensure the school is ready for opening. High touch surfaces disinfected throughout the day as part of enhanced daily environmental cleaning. Desks and chairs will be disinfected twice per day like other high touch surfaces.

Visitors in the Building
Due to public health recommendations, non-essential visitors (including parent/guardians, volunteers) will not be permitted in the building. If you come to pick up your child early, simply call ahead and we can take them out to meet you. If you want to connect with your child’s teacher or administration, you can call, email, and we can also meet via Zoom.

Movement in the Building
There are arrows on the floor signaling directions in hallways. We are lucky to have wide hallways, so all are two-way, and students will be reminded to stay to the right as they travel in a signal file to maintain social distancing. Our stairwells are wide so can be used to go up and down. This will help with overall flow in the building. All classes will be scheduled in a homeroom. Specialist teachers will move to them, with the exception of grade 6 band and Physical Education.

Schedules/ Bells and Arrival/ Dismissal
Our bells have been turned off during the day to allow for flexible entrance and exits at recess and lunch. Students can begin arriving at 8:40, and at this time, students can head to their designated entrance doors. Staff will greet and admit students to head to their classrooms to prepare for the day. Teachers will be on duty in their rooms.

All students will be going outside for outside recess break with their class at flexible times in the morning and afternoon.
Schedules have been adapted so we are able to have staggered lunches to improve social distancing and class cohorting.
12:00-1:00pm- P/1, 1/2 and 3 lunch in classroom and outside time.
12:30-1:30 pm – 4/5 and 5/6 lunch in classroom and outside time.

Bus planner has sent emails out to families. If you have not gotten one, and believe you qualify for bussing, please connect with the transportation team at or call at 902-431-4723.

Breakfast Program
Breakfast program will look a little different this year. Prepackaged snacks will be available and delivered to each homeroom every morning.

Teachers know that all students have been out of school for a longer period than usual. During the month of September, they will be making observations and conferencing with students to see what needs to be focused on for the 2020-21 school year. If you are concerned about your child, reach out to their homeroom teacher so we can be aware of any concerns/strength/challenges.

School Photos
School photos are scheduled for Wednesday, September 16.

Students are asked to bring a labelled water bottle filled with water to school. This will ensure students are properly hydrated as fountain spouts cannot be used.

Keeping Track of Belongings
Please label all belongings and masks and we will try to reunite any lost items with students if they are labelled.

Emergency Management
We will be reviewing our safety plans for exiting the building with students, and sharing that emergencies don’t require directional use of stairs etc. As usual, student safety is a top priority at AWES.

What you can do at home
Please reinforce and practice hand washing and hand sanitizing at home. Good mask protocol can be practiced as well. Explain to your children the importance of wearing a mask when 6ft social distancing is not possible. Students also should know that they are never to share their masks. As well, you can familiarize yourselves with the Daily Covid Screening Checklist. We all want school to remain open. We are counting on you to do your part to screen for Covid symptoms before you send your children off to school each day. If you child has symptoms, please keep them home and call 811 to determine if Covid testing is necessary.


Thank you for your patience and support as we finalize plans for re-opening. If questions arise from any of this information, please reach out to us ( We are here to work with you as we navigate this unprecedented time together. Please be patient and flexible as things will change over time. Something we may have told you earlier could change in the future as things progress. Shared health is at the forefront of all the decisions we make. If you have questions that have not been answered, please send them along.

5 More Sleeps!!!


Have a great evening,
Sherri MacDonald
Wade MacDonald