Over the summer, I have interacted with a number of returning, new, and recently graduated students. At every turn, they reminded me of the relevance and importance of the Brentwood experience. A powerful combination of personalized, well-rounded, and well-grounded learning founded on deep, trusting, and life-long relationships. This Brentwood way has endured for nearly a century and has yet to be buffeted off course.
While the current pandemic tried to douse our flame, it continues to be burn brightly on our ocean-front campus and our goal for 2020-21 remains the same.
Supported by a committed community of students, staff, parents, Governors, and health officials, use appropriate mitigation strategies to create a safe return to our on-campus, in-person, face-to-face, boarding tripartite program.
We are fortunate to be located in a country, province, and, in particular, regional zone of Vancouver Island that has well managed the COVID-19 outbreak. British Columbia’s Ministries of Health and Education recognize the inherit value of in-person learning for not just academic purposes but also for social and emotional development. On July 29th, BC updated their Five Stage Framework for K-12 Education and we are currently in Stage 2 – in-class instruction for all students with maximum instruction time within cohorts and no density targets. Furthermore, the BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings document provides rigorous mitigation protocols for us to implement in Stage 2. Outside of a globally available vaccine, this is the best scenario for our students, parents and staff. We are grateful to our federal, provincial, and local government officials and health authorities for their steady research-based guidance and leadership. As a result, we are well-positioned for a full restart of our program in September 2020.
As you review our updated Return to Brentwood plan, please note the following concepts that will be applied across our programs and campus.
Attending School (NEW INFORMATION)
Daily health checks for all students and staff remain a high priority. It is important to note the following statements from the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings.
“Students or staff may still attend school if a member of their household has cold, influenza, or COVID19- like symptoms, provided the student/staff is asymptomatic. As per public health guidance, it is expected the symptomatic household member is seeking assessment by a health-care provider.
Students and staff who experience seasonal allergies or other COVID-19-like symptoms, which are related to an existing condition can continue to attend school when they are experiencing these symptoms as normal. If they experience any change in symptoms, they should seek assessment by a health-care provider.”
Each of us need to take personal responsibility for our wellness and wider community health.
A key and new mitigation strategy is the use of cohorts or learning groups to both reduce the number of close, in-person interactions and help with contact tracing. According to the health and education authorities, “within a learning group, minimized physical contact is required, but physical distancing does not need to be maintained at all times.”
After reflecting on the unique nature of our program and community structure, our five cohorts will centre around brother-sister houses and the Grade 8 program. Designated cohorts are as follows:
Interaction between cohorts may take place but physical distancing requirements must be applied.
During Student Orientation, we will review our cohort protocols.
Face Coverings/Masks (NEW INFORMATION)
Since our August 14th update, the Ministries of Health and Education guidelines have amended their direction on the use of non-medical masks/face coverings. Their expectation is noted below.
“Non-medical masks are required to be used in situations where a person cannot maintain physical distance and is in close proximity to a person outside of their learning group or household.
Students in Middle and Secondary school are required to wear non-medical masks in high traffic areas such as buses and in common areas such as hallways, or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained. Exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical and/or disability-related reasons.
Wearing a non-medical mask, face covering, or face shield in schools outside of the circumstances outlined above is a personal choice for students and adults. It is important to treat people wearing masks with respect. Those that choose to wear non-medical masks, face coverings or face shields must still seek to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group.”
We will continue to follow the advice of our provincial health authority and, during Student Orientation, will review our mask/face covering protocols with our students and staff.
Camp Brentwood (NEW INFORMATION)
During the first few weeks (ending September 25th), we will limit access to and from our campus. We will focus on creating positive habits with our new protocols and minimize opportunities for virus infection. Students and staff that reside off campus will be asked to reduce their social ‘bubbles’ and boarding students, unless it is a school run event such as hockey or a field trip, will not leave campus. This will also provide more confidence with our local Mill Bay community.
Visitor Protocols (NEW INFORMATION)
Should you have any symptoms of illness, please do not come to campus. During the start of the year drop off (Sept 8-10), parents are invited on campus. Beginning September 11th, if you are required to come on campus, please carefully review and follow our visitor protocols.
Pivoting between stages
While we are encouraged to start the year in Stage 2 of BC’s Framework for K-12 Education, we are prepared for an on-campus pivot between all five stages up to and including having all learning through our B-Online distance learning platform.
International boarding students and other boarders that wish to remain on campus will be well cared for by our staff. In only the most dire of circumstances would we close the campus and request all students to remain at home.
Air circulation and UV light filter
As part of our campus readiness planning, in all of our buildings, we are updating our HVAC units with an Ultraviolet light filter system and increased natural fresh air flow.
Air Quality - We will be implementing precautions to mitigate the risk of community spread of COVID19 based on the recommendations from ASHRAE epidemic task force latest information dated 7-17-2020. Where possible there will be 100% fresh outside air. When the outside air temperature impacts comfort levels, in the evening, the air will be purged when the buildings are vacant thus allowing enough time to reheat before occupancy the next morning. The air handling units in public buildings will have UV lights installed on the supply air to provide protection against bacteria, mold and viruses. All buildings on campus will have MERV 13 (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filters installed in the return of supply air.
Personal responsibility and Community mindedness
Navigating the tricky waters between what is best for me and what is best for my community is a skill that is constantly fostered throughout the Brentwood journey. As we begin to live together and build trust with each other, more than ever, we will need to learn to couple personal responsibility and community mindedness. From a disciplined hygiene approach and physical distancing to caring for each other, students and staff will continue to create a positive culture to ensure we have the best possible school year.
With the continued fluidity of the pandemic, this will likely not be the final update. We ask you to carefully review the details of Brentwood’s restart plan and direct any questions to the appropriate school leader.
With our committed and resilient community, our Brentwood Family is uniquely positioned to not just survive but thrive during the 2020-21 school year.
We are thankful, humbled, and grateful. Now let’s do this!
De Manu In Manum,
Head of School