South Oaks School

September 2021 - Welcome Back!

We've Got This . . . Again!

I hope you all had a wonderful summer! As school begins again, we are well positioned for a good start. We have done this before and we can do it again! For the most part, we are going to keep the daily routines and practices that were developed last year, so that we continue to provide a COVID safe learning environment for all staff and students.

So, we will continue to encourage physical distancing, have staggered recesses/washroom breaks, etc. Extra cleaning will continue in the school. We continue to follow the same screening checklist, so any staff and students that have symptoms stay home or go home. School will feel much the same, just with updated restrictions and no overflow classes! We also look forward to the return of singing to the Music program!

Let's talk about mask protocols. First, please know that final details regarding masks will be communicated from the school division. However, it looks like all K-12 students/staff/visitors are required to wear masks in school this fall. That being said, students will be able to get regular breaks from wearing their mask. Masks are not required during Phys. Ed class or at lunch time and recess times. Also, each class will have a place where students can take a break when needed. I would also recommend using the most comfortable masks possible for your child. We find that cloth masks tend to be hotter and harder to communicate. The paper type of masks tend to feel less hot and more comfortable. They are not washable, but could be used for several days in a row. Any mask exemptions (for medical reasons) from last year will be carried over for this year and the updated mask exemption forms will also be available soon, if needed. We do have enough history with masks now that I can honestly say . . . this will be OK. We will take good care of your kids and support them as they adjust to the new mask protocols.

Thankfully, we now know that we can provide a quality learning environment, even with COVID restrictions. We know that school is a good place for your child to be for their own well being and development, so we want to keep our school open. Thanks for doing your part in this! We will continue to strive for safety at all times, treat one another with kindness and work hard at all the learning that we will do. I look forward to a wonderful year with the students, staff and parents once again.

All the best as you get back into the school routine,

Dale Martens


Dates to Remember:

Sept. 7 - Meet the Teacher event for gr. 1-4.

Sept. 8 & 9 - Kindergarten interviews

Sept. 10, 13, 14, 15 - Kindergarten Staggered Entry - half classes

Sept. 16 - Regular K class routines begin - full classes

Sept. 17 & 20 - "Strong Connections"

Sept. 23 & 24 - Picture Days

Sept. 29 - Terry Fox Run

Sept. 30 - Orange Shirt Day (Schools closed for remembrance)

Review of School Routines and Procedures

Parent Access to the School;

This year, we will continue providing parent access to the front lobby and office area. After the Meet the Teacher event, parents won't have access to the hallways or classrooms. Thanks for your understanding in this matter. This procedure is consistent with other HSD school.

Arrival and Dismissal Procedures;

Upon arrival;
  • Students will go directly to their cohort door, rather than lingering on the playground. This includes all bus students, pick-ups and walkers. See map provided. Staff will meet students at these doors.
  • Car drop-off and walkers/bikers, please do not arrive at school before 8:50 am. This is when teachers are available to supervise in their cohorts. Cross-walk coverage will only be available from 8:40 - 9:00 am as a result of the later arrival times.
  • Once students arrive at the school, we will continue to follow practices of hand hygiene, physical distancing, etc.

End of the Day Dismissal;
  • We will conduct the daily dismissal the same as last year. Walkers and K-2 daycare bus students dismiss at 3:30 pm. Car pick-ups dismiss at 3:35 pm. Wave 1 bus students dismiss at 3:40 pm. Wave 2 bus students and gr. 3 and 4 daycare bus students shortly after once buses are ready.
  • Daycare bus students will be dropped off and picked up in the bus loop again this year.
  • Car pick-ups will be dismissed out of their designated cohort doors (same as their entry doors) to meet their parents outside. Gr. 3 and 4 will meet parents on the West side of the school, near the bike racks. Gr. 1 and 2 students will meet parents at the drop off area by the huts. K students will meet parents at the main front doors.

Lunch/Recess breaks

Recess Break;

  • The playground is divided into 2 large zones. Only one cohort will be on a zone at a time.
  • All lunch and recess breaks will be staggered. This practice has significantly reduced playground conflict, so we intend to keep this going for the future.
  • We will emphasize "Keeping hands and feet to yourself" to strive for physical distancing.
  • Lunch and recess times are a chance to take a mask break.
  • Recess is considered a low risk activity and a chance to get some fresh air.

Lunch Break;

  • If there is a chance that your child could go home for lunch each day, it would be strongly recommended to do so.
  • It is important to reinforce the policies of no food sharing and no water-bottle sharing.


  • Cohorts promote safety and minimize chances of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses throughout the school by keeping students with the same students each day.

  • Cohorts range in size from 50 - 80 students.

  • Within cohorts, students will be physically distancing at least 1 meter, as much as possible.

  • Lunches, recesses and washroom breaks are staggered to prevent exposure between cohorts and to facilitate efficient contact tracing when required by Public Health.

  • Transitions to recess/washrooms/PE/Music, will occur with adult supervision, with special consideration to physical distancing, following hallway markers, etc.

  • Our cohorts are as follows;

    - Kindergarten
    - Grade 1
    - Grade 2
    - All gr. 3/4 multi-age classes
    - 3LJ and 4AP - classes

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Meet the Teacher - Sept. 7, 2021

  • Our Meet the Teacher event will be very similar to last September.

  • This is an in-person event, but all provincial and divisional safety protocols will be strictly followed during the visits. Masks are required at South Oaks as well hand hygiene, and other fundamentals.

  • We don't want this short meeting to be COVID related. This is the time to focus on connection and learning. Your questions about COVID can be directed to the office anytime.

  • Parents will be notified when they are able to book an appointment on the Parent Portal. Each family will have the opportunity to sign up for a 10 min session to talk with the teacher. Please do not bring siblings to the classrooms.

  • School tours will not be provided at this event. You will be able to visit your child's class and meet your child's teacher and then exit the school. The Gym and Music room will not be open during the event.

  • If you have multiple children in our school, please arrange to exit the building in between visits and reenter with each child separately through their cohort doors (see map above).

  • We will start the event at 1:00 pm and provide time for all students to meet their teachers on the same day.

  • Please perform a self-screening for you and your child(ren), before coming to the school. Please do not attend if you have any flu-like symptoms or feel under the weather.

  • Support Team members will manage entrances and hallways to direct you as needed.

  • Your visit may feel brief, but we hope it provides an initial connection for your child and their teacher and will help everyone to sleep well the night before school!

Hometime Arrangements

Sometimes parents need to make alternate end of day arrangements for their children. If you need to pick up your child during the school day or change the home time arrangements, please call the school office at 204-434-6165 or login to Parent Portal. While emergencies do sometimes happen, typically phone calls should be made no later than 2:30 pm. This gives us adequate time to get information to the correct classroom. Thanks for your help in this matter!
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Strong Connections - Sept. 17 and 20.

On Friday, September 17th and Monday, September 20th South Oaks will be implementing the Hanover School Division Strong Connections program with our grade 1-4 students. Strong Connections is designed to enhance the beginning of the year with each student. The format for Strong Connections also provides an opportunity for teachers to extend and consolidate their understanding of each child through the one-on-one interviews/discussions, and help build a strong foundation for a positive learning relationship between the child and the teacher.

The office will schedule your child for one of the two days of Strong Connections. Your child would stay home for the other day. Once this is ready, we will let you know which day your child should attend. We look forward to this special event with your child!

No Child Without

South Oaks School is involved in the Canadian MedicAlert Foundation's No Child Without, a program that identifies personal medical conditions, allergies or special needs that emergency medical personnel should be aware of in crisis situations. There is no cost for students who attend South Oaks. If a child has a medical condition, allergy or is required to take medication on a regular basis, then s/he should be considered for this program. A child's MedicAlert identification can alert school staff, friends, coaches and others about the child's medical condition should an emergency occur.

MedicAlert membership:

* Gives emergency first responders immediate access to your child's medical information on their MedicAlert bracelet or necklet.

* Enables first responders to quickly obtain up to date medical information by means of the child's Electronic Health Record through the 24 Hour Emergency Hotline.

* Communicates with the parent or emergency contact upon activation of the Hotline.

* Allows free updates of the child's medical record as needed.

For further information, brochures are available in the office, or parents can go to To register a child parents will need a No Child Without brochure from the office. If a child is already part of the No Child Without program and there have been changes to their medical condition, medications or emergency contact information, call MedicAlert at 1-800-668-1507 to update the child's file.

From the Health Nurse

Head Lice - As mentioned in the Parent Handbook, it is requested that children's heads be checked periodically for signs of lice. If at all suspicious, call the school immediately, so we can take necessary precautions to prevent the lice from spreading. If live lice are found, parents are asked to treat the lice at home. Lice shampoo is available over the counter at pharmacies or from your local public health nurse. Students can return to school 24 hours after the treatment. Remember that lice are not a cleanliness issue. Anyone can be in contact with lice, either at school, in the community, or even trying on headgear in a store. If you have any questions or concerns, call the Public Health Nurse at 204-346-7013.

Picture Days are Coming!

Thursday, September 23rd and Friday, September 24th are Picture Days at South Oaks:

Sept. 23 - Picture Day - KLW-2, 1KL, 1GR, 1JD, 2LF, 2CF, 2MC, 3/4KB, 3/4BT

Sept. 24 - Picture Day - KLW-1, KDR-1, 1BO, 2CE, 3LJ, 3/4AF, 4AP

This year Lifetouch is continuing with their photography program that has online ordering capabilities. There are various looks and backgrounds to choose from. For this prepay program, each student will receive a flyer, and parents have the ability to view and order from all of these different looks, online at Parents may order up to 48 hours after their child's picture day online, but the online site will open and be available to accept orders 2 weeks prior to the photo day. Orders can also be placed using the paper flyer on photo day. To do that, either exact cash payment or a cheque (payable to Lifetouch) must be inserted into the envelope portion of the flyer and given to the school photographer on the child's appropriate Picture Day.

For Tips on preparing for photo day visit if you have questions, please call Lifetouch at 1-866-457-8212.

Religious Exercises and Discovery Time

The latest news regarding Religious Exercises and Discovery Time is that we should be able to offer these programs soon. Some details regarding volunteer access are still coming. Once the details are worked out, we will look at when we could begin. We will keep you posted as soon as we have the final approval to move forward. Thanks for your patience!

Student Accident Insurance

The Student Accident Insurance brochures will not be distributed this year as that program is now electronic. This insurance is for around the clock insurance coverage. Hanover School Division has student insurance coverage for accidents that occur at school during school hours or at school sponsored events. Information can be found at

Odds and Ends . . .

* During Strong Connections, parents are reminded that only half of the grade 1-4 students will be at school each day. Because some parents make arrangements for their child(ren) to regularly walk/bike to or from school with friends, alternate measures may need to be taken on those days; the students regularly accompanying the children may not be in school for Strong Connections on the same day.

* If students are late coming to school they are asked to first go to the office and report to the school secretary before heading to their classrooms. She is then able to change their attendance record for that morning or afternoon from "absent" to "tardy."

* Due to allergies and other eating issues which are carefully monitored, food is only eaten in classrooms at South Oaks. Further, food is not traded or shared with students in other classrooms.

*Details about the hot lunch program will also be coming soon. Stay tuned!

* If your child is normally a bus student or walker, but you will be picking him/her up in a vehicle on a certain day, please send a note or call before 2:30 pm., so s/he can be brought by the classroom teacher to the "pick-up exit." It is necessary that adequate time is given in order for the messages to get to the various classrooms in the building.

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