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COVID-19 Updates 

MARCH 23, 2020

Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic our campus is currently closed to all visitors. Our faculty and staff can be reached via email, and their email addresses are posted on our school website www.qms.bc.ca under the Discover QMS - Staff Directory tab. 

For Junior School and Senior School questions or inquiries, please email the Administrative Support Staff, Kim Stinka for Junior School and Maria Jones for Senior School.

Admissions inquiries should be sent to admissions@qms.bc.ca     
For general inquiries, please email reception@qms.bc.ca      

Please note that many of our staff are working remotely, and our voicemail will only be checked once per week. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


MARCH 20, 2020

Dear QMS Parents and Guardians, 

By now, you will have received a letter from Wilma Jamieson, Head of School, regarding the announcement this week from Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education, suspending in-class instruction in our province until further notice. 

The Junior and Senior School faculty have been considering various ways that we can effectively deliver online learning or learning-at-home packages during this school closure period. We understand that these delivery modes cannot replace in-person interactions or the normal routines and social connections of the classroom, but they can serve to bridge distance during this time when we cannot come together in our school community. During the week of March 23, 2020, we will be meeting with teachers to continue to develop a Remote Learning Plan tailored to the learning needs of our students. Delivery models may include:

  • Digital learning using various online platforms
  • Learning resource packages to be emailed to families
  • Instructions and guidance from teachers as to how parents and caregivers can support learning at home
  • Progress logs or portfolio-based work for some subjects

Our goal is to begin delivery of our Remote Learning Plan on March 30, 2020.

By the end of next week a modified timetable for Senior School and plans for each grade in Junior School will be communicated to you. We understand that the transition to online learning will be challenging for families. We will provide guidelines for parents, contact information of school personnel, and times they will be available to students and parents to answer questions and provide guidance. 

We recognize that as we initiate the Remote Learning Plan there may be issues that arise. We are committed to working through these and making learning meaningful for our students. The new routines will take time to get used to, both for our staff and for your family, but we are committed to meeting the needs of our students during these unprecedented times. Queen Margaret’s School is proud of our community spirit, and maintaining a strong sense of belonging will be important to the well-being of our staff, students and families.

Our QMS value of Courage notes that “we will build resilience and open our minds to new possibilities.” By working together, we will get through these challenging times.

We appreciate your patience, understanding and continued support.

- Joe Colistro, Senior School Principal
- Susan Cruikshank, Junior School Principal


MARCH 17, 2020

Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

We are continuing to closely monitor the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation. 

Today (March 17, 2020), BC Minister of Education, Rob Fleming announced the suspension of all in-class instruction in our province until further notice. Please be assured we are committed to educational continuity for our Kindergarten–Grade 12 students and their families. We are digesting the messaging from the various government updates today and their impact upon QMS. We can confirm the following:

  1. Joe Colistro, Senior School Principal and Susan Cruikshank, Junior School Principal, and I will be working with our faculty to develop a robust and engaging remote learning program. Further details on collection of property and online instructional hours will be forthcoming. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we adapt to online and home-based education delivery models. As this change of schedule and mode of learning may prove challenging for some families, please know we are committed to offering you resources and assistance that may be needed as we navigate through these current conditions. We anticipate rolling out this new learning model beginning March 30, 2020. 
  2. We are working with parents to make arrangements for students who are currently in our Boarding Program. Parents will have the option to have their child remain in our care if needed.
  3. We are currently exploring the impact of today’s announcements regarding daycare and our childcare programs for essential workers. Further information will be forthcoming.
  4. Jodine Buydens, Equestrian Program Director, is currently working on a plan for our riders and horses and will be reaching out to our equestrian families by early next week. 
  5. In this time of transition, our Administration Office will remain open to assist our families and answer questions. Please respect the advice from our Ministry of Health regarding social distancing and the health and well-being of our staff we ask that prior to visiting our campus for any reason, please email the appropriate contact below to make arrangements.

Admissions/Administration/Finance  -  reception@qms.bc.ca
Equestrian Program  -  equestrian@qms.bc.ca
Boarding Life Program  -  rdevlin@qms.bc.ca  

We are in full support of the BC Government's decision today to aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The impact of this virus and the financial repercussions stemming from this pandemic are being felt worldwide, including within our community. We are committed to providing educational and business continuity to the best of our ability during these uncertain times.  
 
Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, our plans will evolve accordingly, and we will continue to look to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education for guidance.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School
- Mary DeLury, Chair, Board of Governors


MARCH 14, 2020

Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

We are continuing to closely monitor the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation. 

Today (March 16, 2020), Prime Minister Trudeau has expanded Canada’s travel advisories and public health efforts announcing some significant new measures. Most notably, Canada has now closed all airports to international flights except Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. In addition, borders have now been closed to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. All Canadians who are currently abroad are being urged to make their way home as quickly as possible, and are expected to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to Canada. In addition, the BC Government has also recommended that all gatherings be constrained to no more than 50 people. All of these measures will impact our School community.

There will be a joint statement from the BC Ministry of Education and the BC Ministry of Health on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The outcome of this announcement will inform our decision regarding any necessary adjustments to our School schedule. 

Please continue to monitor your emails and the QMS website for further notices.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School
- Mary DeLury, Chair, Board of Governors


MARCH 13, 2020

Dear QMS Families,

There have been some significant developments in the COVID-19 situation since our communication of Wednesday, March 11th. As you know, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11th. In response, the Canadian Government has updated their travel advisory and now warns against all international travel. Transport Canada is proposing a restriction to the number of Canadian airports that will allow overseas international arrivals. All travellers arriving from international destinations, including the United States, are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work or school as a precaution.

As the wellbeing of our QMS community is a top priority, to support our decision-making, we are asking that if your family has travelled outside of Canada over Spring Break (including the United States), you email kludvigson@qms.bc.ca to advise on when your child will have completed their period of self-isolation and is able to return to School.  

We anticipate updating families more frequently, as the situation evolves. We continue to be guided by the instruction of the BC Ministry of Health, the BC Ministry of Education, and the Canadian Government as we continue to assess what is in the best interest of the health and safety of our staff and students. We have been made aware that Brentwood College School and Shawnigan Lake School, two large boarding schools in the Cowichan Valley, have made the decision to extend their annual Spring Break closure until after the Easter weekend. At this time, we are reviewing all options and are balancing our commitment to students’ education with prudent measures for our community’s health and safety. Any decision to extend our Spring Break will made early next week. We appreciate your understanding as we navigate this global pandemic. We remain committed to providing clear and timely communications to our families.

Please continue to reinforce frequent hand-washing and other preventative measures as outlined in by the BC Ministry of Health.

Thank you for your continued support as we implement measures to keep our QMS community safe.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School


MARCH 11, 2020

Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

We are continuing to monitor the evolving coronavirus/COVID-19 developments and take our direction from the BC Public Health authorities and the Government of Canada. 

Although the World Health Organization has recently characterized the outbreak as a pandemic, we continue to be assured by Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Public Health Officer, that the risk to British Columbians remains low. Public Health authorities continue to advise the best defence against the spread of COVID-19 continues to be vigorous hand washing, avoiding touching your face, practicing good cough/sneeze etiquette, and keeping your distance from people who are sick. 

You may have heard on the news that some schools in British Columbia and on Vancouver Island have closed early for Spring Break to undertake extensive cleaning of their campus. Here at QMS, we are augmenting our usual deep-clean over Spring Break with the addition of disinfection with our new Clorox 360 machine, which was funded by our Parent’s Association. Each room will be disinfected at least twice before students return to classes. In addition, many of our boarding students have chosen to remain in Residence for Spring Break and are taking part in planned activities, while others are visiting extended family and friends within Canada. 

The Government of Canada has added three more countries to their Active Travel Health Notices for COVID-19: 

  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Italy (updated to include the entire country)
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain

We are reminding all families who travel to the countries named above or who are in contact with visitors from these areas, or areas that are added to the Canadian government’s active travel health notices for COVID-19 list as the situation evolves, that they should not return to school until they have self-isolated for 14 days upon their return to Canada. The School will not be providing transportation or accommodation for students or families in self-isolation. 

For families travelling to other areas outside of Canada or who have been in contact with people who may have been infected, we ask that you follow Public Health Canada’s guidelines to monitor for symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you or a member of your family develop symptoms, it is your responsibility to notify BC Public Health (call 8-1-1) and inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do, including testing, isolation, and quarantine. 

Our administration team will continue to staff our School offices through Spring Break, and we invite families who have questions to email them to me at wjamieson@qms.bc.ca or our Risk Manager, Mrs. Leanne Schultz, at lschultz@qms.bc.ca.

Finally, the School is committed to sharing updated information with families on the School’s website as we receive it. We encourage families to check our website on a daily basis, as the situation continues to evolve. We will also be sending weekly updates every Wednesday by email to all families.

We appreciate your continued support and efforts in keeping QMS a safe and healthy place for our community.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School


FEBRUARY 12, 2020

I am writing to provide updated information on the novel coronavirus (now named CoViD-19). The highest number of infections continue to be reported from Hubei Province, China. There have been a small number of cases of CoViD-19 in BC, which are being very closely managed. The risk to British Columbians remains low.

Our knowledge of this virus continues to grow and we are using new information to adjust our public health recommendations. We are now aware of early evidence that this virus can cause a range of mild to severe symptoms, and it is possible that people will not recognize symptoms that are mild. 

Current recommendations are:

  • People returning from Hubei Province, China stay home for 14 days after they leave Hubei. 
  • People who have been in other parts of China (outside Hubei Province) are not restricted from any activities, but should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever or cough for 14 days after leaving the country. 
  • People arriving in Canada from other locations, including other parts of Asia, have no restrictions.
  • Public health will directly provide recommendations to contacts of persons with CoViD-19

General information

  • Island Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control and provincial and federal authorities are closely monitoring the novel coronavirus from China. 
  • The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. 
  • Precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. 
  • Travelers arriving in Canada from affected areas are being assessed at their point of entry.
  • Island Health and BC are prepared to quickly and accurately detect and respond to serious infectious diseases.

Prevention

  • It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses: regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, and if one is ill stay home. 

Discrimination

  • We all play a role in dispelling rumours that may lead to inappropriate discrimination against people. Only people who are experiencing symptoms may transmit an illness, it is not related to race or ethnicity. It is important to check trusted sources for information on coronavirus.

Face masks

  • Face masks are beneficial for people experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough, and help reduce the spread of disease. If someone chooses to use a face mask, it doesn’t mean they are sick and it isn’t a safety issue. Masks are not routinely recommended for people who are well.

More information


Additional messages for education institutions with international students

  • There is no need to restrict any activities for any students who are well, or to cancel any mass school events or field trips to public spaces or events.  
  • School trips to China are not recommended at this time.

Additional messages for community groups and others

  • There is no need to restrict any group activities or to cancel any group events or field trips to public spaces or events.  

- Dr. Shannon Waters, Vancouver Island Health Authority 


JANUARY 29, 2020

Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

Further to our letter dated January 27, 2020, we have received further information on the novel coronavirus from the Ministry of Health we would like to share with you.

Ministry of Education communication on novel coronavirus:

  • B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has just announced the first case of novel coronavirus has been confirmed in B.C. - a man in his 40’s who is isolated at home. https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0015-000151
  • The Ministry of Education will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health, local health authorities and other levels of government to ensure students and educators are kept informed and safe.
  • The risk of spread of this virus within B.C. remains low at this time and all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.
  • B.C. has a strong ongoing monitoring system in place, nationally and internationally, through its local health authorities. At this point, there are no reasons for parents, guardians or school staff to be concerned.
  • The Provincial Health Officer was clear, that close contacts to the first case of novel coronavirus are not showing symptoms and are being monitored closely. The person who has novel coronavirus is in isolation and all public health protocols have been followed. We will continue to communicate when there are developments.
  • The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has more information on its website about coronavirus.
  • The BCCDC recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure are the same as fighting colds and flu:
    • Wash your hands frequently  (it is the single most effective way of reducing infection spread)
    • Practice other good hygiene habits: don’t touch your face/eyes/mouth with your hands, and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough (ideally with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow)
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched workspace surfaces
    • Maintain good general health (eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise in moderation)
    • Stay home if you are sick
    • Contact 8-1-1 (HealthLink BC) or your health care provider for questions about your personal health situation
 
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep our community updated as needed.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School


JANUARY 27, 2020

Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

We are continuing to follow the coverage of the coronavirus and medical updates from credible sources including Health Canada, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and theBC Ministry of Health. Currently there are no reports of cases in British Columbia and the overall risk to BC school-aged children and travelers to our province remains low.
 
At Queen Margaret’s School, we continue to encourage healthy hand washing and other standard precautions to prevent the spread of any illnesses in a school setting. If your child displays any symptoms of illness, please, keep them home and consult your family physician. 
 
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep parents updated as needed.

- Wilma Jamieson, Head of School