COVID-19 Updates 

JANURY 11, 2021
Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s), 

I’m sure that many of you have been tracking pandemic-related developments in our local community so I just wanted to send you this brief message. It is hard not to get the feeling that the circle is closing in on us as we listen to the news about COVID-19 exposures in local Cowichan schools, but, just to reassure you all, we do have a plan. We’ve been preparing for the possibility of an exposure for months and I feel very confident that we will handle it well if indeed it comes our way. For the moment, I recommend that we stay calm, stay vigilant and support each other. We’ve asked our students to be extra careful in their out-of-school socializing and I’m sure that you will help in that domain. Other than that, we’ll follow all of our protocols even more carefully and we will get through this new challenge! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some reassurance or even if you just want to chat.

Thanks again to you all.

My best,
David Robertson, Head of School

NOVEMBER 20, 2020
Dear QMS Parent(s)/Guardian(s),
I know that we are all wrestling with varying degrees of the same frustrations and we are all very definitely ready to be done with this pandemic. Recent spikes in numbers and cases, particularly here on the Island, have unsettled many of us. While we have enjoyed a greater feeling of security than many other parts of the country and far fewer real restrictions than many places in the world, sadly, that situation is changing. Unless we try to reverse the trend then the relative freedoms that we have enjoyed will be significantly compromised. It’s very obvious that the spread on the Island has come from the Mainland so we should be putting that travel on hold, for the next few weeks for sure. 

As a School, we have to role model the right behaviours and we have to consider everyone else in our community, so we must set the right examples. We have restricted the movements of our boarding students and already removed weekend leave to the Mainland for them a few weeks ago, so it is obviously uncomfortable to say the least when a number of their peers come back from a visit of some sort to Vancouver or beyond. I am asking you not to take our students off Island so that we don’t get into the situation that some organizations are in where they are asking those who do travel to stay away and self-isolate for two weeks. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s most recent announcements are emphasizing that restrained and sensible approach. Her instructions on gatherings are not aimed at schools where we are operating in the same cohorts on a daily basis. It’s imperative that we keep our schools open in my opinion and, therefore, we have to be vigilant with our daily health checks, our mask-wearing and our other safety protocols. As always,  I hope that we can continue to work together to do the right things and navigate the new challenges. I honestly believe that we are closer to the end than the beginning and we’ll get through this with another stint of sensible, disciplined responses. 

Thank you for your continued commitment and support. 

My best,
David Robertson, Head of School

NOVEMBER 17, 2020
Dear QMS Parent(s) and Guardian(s),
As we constantly message to our students, “You learn a lot by doing!” With that in mind, we are going to be tweaking all of our systems and logistics in these opening days as we observe how everything unfolds. Today was an excellent day overall and the whole atmosphere was first-class. However, there is no doubt that we will have to keep reassessing our arrivals/departures process given the ‘bottlenecks’ and the increased volume of traffic on Government Street even before our school restart. 
As of tomorrow, we will try the amended times (attached) and we’ll aim to have 6 drop-off/pick-up spots going at any one time. We’re trying to keep Brownsey Avenue as clear from parked cars as we can as well. If you can continue to do your part to help us make it as quick and efficient as possible that will be much appreciated. 
Thank you so much for your patience and support! 

My best,
David Robertson, Head of School

NOVEMBER 4, 2020

Dear QMS Parents/Guardians,

The last thing that I would like to sound like is a ‘broken record’ (showing my age!), but I thought that I’d just make an appeal to you all to keep up your vigilance with all of the safety measures and protocols as we seem to be well into the second wave in this pandemic. It seems relatively clear that indoor gatherings in mixed groupings from different locations could pose the greatest threat for a surge so I hope that you are willing to avoid those circumstances for the time being.
As you know, we have been very fortunate here on the Island so far, but it would be so easy for that to change very quickly. I don’t have to elaborate on the potential consequences of that. Ander has been in touch with all of our boarders and boarding parents with some very clear stipulations on what they can do and where they can go for exactly the same reasons. We have been exemplary as a school community so far and I know that we can and will continue in that vein until we are through this whole episode in our lives. As always, I am so appreciative of your commitment and support. 

My best,
David Robertson, Head of School

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

Dear QMS Parents & Guardians, 

The daily health check list for COVID-19 symptoms in children has been updated by Dr. Bonnie Henry’s office. There are now only seven (7) symptoms on the checklist (full checklist below):
• Fever
• Chills
• Cough or worsening chronic cough
• Shortness of breath
• Loss of sense of smell or taste
• Diarrhea
• Nausea and vomiting

If your child has any of these symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing condition, such as allergies, then they should stay home from school and monitor the symptoms for 24 hours. If it gets worse, or other symptoms develop, then they should receive a health assessment by calling 8-1-1.

If your child develops any of the symptoms listed above while they are at School, then we will isolate them and call you to have them picked-up as soon as possible.

For non-COVID related illness, we have attached our QMS guidelines to help you make your decision.

This is the season of runny noses and colds, and we understand that there is likely some confusion over whether your child is healthy enough to come to school, especially these days. Keeping your child home from school is a tough call to make, and we hope these guidelines will help.

If you have any questions, please contact our Health Services at

David Robertson, Head of School

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
We have further enhanced our safety processes at our Shirley Burr Equestrian Centre. We invite you to read the complete COVID-19 safety document below.

Dear QMS Parents and Guardians,

I trust that you are all feeling as reassured as you can be in these uncertain times. From our point of view, the School is ready to resume as safely as it could possibly be and we are all excited to have your children back with us. Please read the ministry approved version of our Return to School Plan carefully, as it is the very latest and is quite comprehensive. We have all been preparing for weeks for the opening of school and now it is upon us at last. Please contact the appropriate member of our team if you have any queries or clarifications. We look forward to seeing you all very soon. 

With my warmest regards,
David Robertson, Head of School

AUGUST 21, 2020
Dear QMS Parents and Guardians,
I want to follow up on my communication yesterday regarding our amended Return to School Plan and, hopefully, clarify a few misconceptions. In British Columbia, independent schools are obliged to follow the regulations and directives issued by the BC Ministry of Education. It is different in Ontario where independent schools do not receive funding of any sort. We do enjoy a degree of freedom as to how we run our schools, but we do not when it comes to matters of health and safety. That is why we have had to submit a very comprehensive Return to School Plan, structured according to their template, for official approval. These requirements are even more clearly expressed when the province is still in a ‘State of Emergency’, which we are.
Our team here at QMS meets daily to scour the documentation and keep abreast of the ever-changing landscape before we amend or tweak any of our procedures. I know that emotions can quickly run high during these stressful times, but we are all trying to sift through the available information as well as the misinformation, to make decisions which will be in the best interests of as many different people and constituencies as possible. Keeping as many people as we can safe and healthy remains our main aim. As always, I am happy to take a call or have a socially distanced meeting if there is something that you would like to discuss? Thanks for your understanding and your ongoing support. 

My best,
David Robertson, Head of School

AUGUST 20, 2020
Dear QMS Parents and Guardians, 
As I’ve mentioned before, we are sensitive to the different perceptions, decisions and directives that are evolving constantly during these trying times as we attempt to get our children back to school and functioning safely. The comprehensive Return to School Plan which we sent a week ago has been tweaked again to reflect the increased emphasis on mask-wearing in particular. Specifically, it is our position now that masks will be worn by all staff and students (Grades 4–12) except in the following circumstances: when the students are in the confines of their learning group classroom they will be able to remove their masks as long as they are socially distanced or, additionally, they will remove their masks when they actually sit down to consume their food. They will automatically put their masks back on as soon as they finish or move from those situations. Teachers will substitute face shields for masks, for the most part. 
I hope that these details are not confusing and, as always, I trust that you will let us know if you have any concerns or queries. I hope too that you will bear in mind that the masks are only one aspect of the many steps being taken to safeguard everyone’s health and well-being. 

With my thanks for your ongoing support and my best regards,
David Robertson, Head of School

AUGUST 12, 2020
Dear QMS Parents and Guardians,
As you will no doubt be aware, there are some potentially confusing messages and mixed reactions around right now about ‘Return to School’ in BC. Please be assured that the information we sent to you on August 11, 2020 is an accurate description of what we at QMS intend to do. To confirm, we will be operating five days a week for students in Kindergarten through Grade 12.  Our school year will start on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 as published and, of course, we will be in touch again soon with the details of our daily arrival schedules and processes. If we are mandated to do anything different then we will be in touch with you immediately.
We are all working hard to ensure that nothing is missed in terms of examining and re-examining every aspect of how the school day will unfold. As you can imagine, our emphasis on being nimble and continually planning will remain our approach. Thank you all again for your support and encouragement. 

Warm regards,
David Robertson, Head of School

AUGUST 11, 2020
Dear QMS Parents and Guardians,
Recent announcements from the Ministry of Education about the return to school in September may well have got you wondering what it’s all going to look like for your children. At QMS, we have been preparing for a full return to campus and, indeed, we are very excited about it. We do respect, however, that everyone’s circumstances are different, but we hope that the attached Return to School document will provide the detail that you need to feel as comfortable as you can about the whole process. 
Please peruse it carefully and do not hesitate to contact the appropriate person if there is something that requires further clarification: Ander Monro, Deputy Head of School, Susan Cruikshank, Junior School Principal or Alison O’Marra-Armstrong, Director of Academics or indeed, myself. There are very few problems that we can’t solve as long as we know about them and I feel very confident that we can create both a very safe and a very productive school experience again in the coming months. 
Once again, we will rely on your cooperation when it comes to the pre-arrival measures and then we will continue to use our thermal screening process for all when coming on campus. Together, I’m sure that we can meet the challenges of our times and rise above them so that a fulfilling and rewarding QMS experience results for all. Again, please do not hesitate to be in touch. 

With my warmest wishes and best regards,  
David Robertson, Head of School