Ian Forsyth Elementary

Health & Safety

School Closures
Student safety is the first priority of the Halifax Regional School Board (HRSB) when making school cancellation decisions.  HRSB staff starts to gather information from various sources beginning at 4:30 am.  Staff consults with Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) staff on road conditions, local weather services, and Stock Transportation.  By 5:30 am, staff makes a recommendation to the Superintendent based on the information gathered.  If it is safe to have students on the roads and sidewalks, then schools will be open.  If not, all or some schools may be closed depending on the weather and road conditions in different areas of the board. Parents and guardians always have the right to keep their child home from school if they believe that the travelling conditions are unsuitable.

Winter is coming!  Do you have a childcare plan in place in the event of a school closure?

For full day closures of all or some schools, the decision will be announced as close to 6:00 am as possible. In the event schools are closed by family, our school is part of the Prince Andrew Family of Schools. If schools are open, but busses are cancelled, this cancellation applies to the full day even if road conditions improve.  For parents whose children attend the Boys & Girls Club, keep in mind that when school busses are cancelled so is the B & G Club.

Announcements will be:
• Posted on the HRSB’s website www.hrsb.ca.
• Posted on the HRSB’s Twitter account www.twitter.com/HRSB_Official.
• Recorded on the HRSB’s School Cancellation Information Line 464-INFO (4636).
• Shared with subscribers to the board’s email and text notification system.  You can sign-up at http://www.hrsb.ca/about-our-schools/parents/subscribe-notifications.
• Communicated to local media outlets.

If conditions deteriorate throughout the day, the Superintendent may close schools early when weather or road conditions are considered to be a threat to the safety of students. In the event of an early school closure, the announcement will be made by 11 am in the same way as a 6:00am closure (see above).  All parents will be contacted by school staff to confirm dismissal routines before students are released.  School busses will be dispatched to schools two hours earlier than their normal regularly scheduled pick-up for the afternoon dismissal, walking students will be dismissed at the start of their regular lunch time.

On school days when weather conditions exist that it is not safe to open schools at the          
regularly scheduled time, but it is predicted that conditions will improve, a 2 hour delayed opening may be considered. Delayed openings would be considered when a severe weather event has concluded, but snow clearing or other operations require additional time.  Delayed opening may also be considered when the physical plant is experiencing an issue (power, water) and additional time is required to prepare the facility for opening.

In the event of a delayed opening the following will apply:
• School opening will be delayed by 2 hours.  Our classes will begin at 10:45 and follow the regular schedule for the remainder of day.
• School bus pick up times will be delayed by 2 hours.
• Lunch times will not change.
• Afternoon class schedules will not change.
• Dismissal time will not change.

Life Threatening Allergies
As with most schools, we have a number of children who have life threatening allergies, in particular to nuts and nut products, so we ask that parents cooperate by insuring that their children do not bring nut products to school for recess or lunch. We really appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all families as we continue our efforts as a nut smart school.

About Scents
There are several students and staff in our building who are extremely sensitive to scented products (for example: perfumes, colognes, etc.) and chemical sprays. When these scents are present in our school, these individuals become ill and their health is threatened.

When visiting, volunteering, or working in our school, we ask that you not wear scented products.

Safe Arrival
As an additional safeguard for our students, we ask parents and caregivers to contact the school in the event students will be absent or late for school.  Please leave a message on our 24 hour message machine dedicated to Safe Arrival (902-435-8333). If you do not alert us, it will be necessary for us to contact you. Don’t forget to update the office with any changes to your phone numbers throughout the year.

We are always very concerned about the safety of our students and have several important requests regarding vehicular traffic.  At arrival and dismissal times the street in front of the school can become congested with traffic which can pose a risk to student safety and has the potential to prevent the passage of any emergency vehicles. Please respect the designated parking areas and observe the no parking and bus stop signs posted on Glencoe Drive. In addition, at no time are vehicles permitted to drive onto the school grounds. Only staff vehicles are permitted to access or park on the school grounds. Please respect the pylons positioned in the driveway to restrict traffic on the school grounds.  Encourage your children to use the sidewalk, crosswalk and caution them about walking between parked cars.

Our students are also protected by HRM Cross Walk Guards throughout the neighbourhood. Please note the following places and times:

Montebello Drive/ Venice Court 8:20-8:35 11:45-12:05 12:20-12:40 2:15-3:05
Caledonia Road/ Dunbarton 8:20-8:35 11:45-12:05 12:20-12:40 2:15-3:05

Supervision/Early Entrance
The staff of Ian Forsyth has the best interests of your child at heart. We want your children to be safe, happy and enjoy their educational experiences. For these reasons we want to bring the following matters to your attention, and request your cooperation. Walking students are not supervised on the playground prior to 8:25 am; therefore, it is requested that students not come to school early.  In addition, supervision is not provided after the children are dismissed at 2:35 and your children are asked to walk to their home or to after school childcare immediately in a safe manner.

Bikes, Rollerblades & Scooters

Bicycles, rollerblades and scooters are fun to take to school, but they do pose a safety hazard if they are not used properly. Helmets should be worn at all times. To ensure the safety of all students walking in the school yard, students are not permitted to use these modes of transportation once they enter the school grounds. Bikes must be walked to the racks and locked and scooters must be folded and locked or carried into the school if a storage arrangement has been made with individual student's teacher.

Head Lice

Each year, head lice can be a nuisance for many of our students and their families. The best prevention in the spread of head lice and nit is by teaching your child not to share personal items such as combs, brushes, hats and helmets, to store their belongings such as hats and scarves in their backpacks while at school, and by making a ‘head check’ part of your weekly routine.  We cannot stress enough the importance of promptly notifying the school if your child contracts head lice; effective communication between home and school significantly helps to reduce the spread.

For further information on the prevention and treatment of head lice, please refer to the Nova Scotia Department of Health pamphlet:  How to Prevent, Find, and Treat Head Lice

We also do not want your children to be victims of theft in the school, so we ask that they keep valuables such as iPods, cameras, tablets and other electronic valuables at home unless students are bringing them to school for educational purposes.

The office telephones are use by office staff only. In cases of emergency, illness, or extenuating circumstances, students are able to call home. We encourage students to come to school prepared with all necessary belongings and to make after-school arrangements in advance.

School Visitors and Volunteers

Our school benefits greatly from the support of parents and the community.  We encourage you to become an active participant in your child’s education at school whenever possible.  We would appreciate any time you are able to contribute to being a class parent, re-shelving library books, the breakfast program, safe arrival, chaperoning class trips or simply reading to a child.  Please let us know if you are able to volunteer.

In the interest of student safety we request all parents, visitors and volunteers stop by the office to sign in and pick up a visitor ID tag when arriving at our school.

The HRSB Student Protection Policy specifies that prior to volunteering at any HRSB school you must provide school administration with two recently completed documents:  Child Abuse Registry check and certified true Criminal Record check. Both of these checks will remain on file with the school and must be updated every three years. It is responsibility of any volunteer, after completing the screening process, to contact the school principal should they be subject to an investigation or conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Information and Child Abuse Registry forms are available form the Dept. of Community Services at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/coms/families/abuse/ChildAbuseRegister.html

For information on completing the criminal record check process through the Halifax Regional Police can found at https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/police/criminal-record-check There will be a $30.00 processing charge for volunteers.  We greatly value your support; however the school does not have the funds to assist volunteers in completing this check. It is highly recommended you submit the forms to the local police and NS Department of Community Services well in advance of volunteering, as it can take several weeks to have both checks completed. Detailed information on completing these checks can also be obtained from the main office.