Monday, April 6

Hi students!

I hope that you and your family are in good health, and are staying safely socially distant.

Since in-class learning is suspended indefinitely, I will be using Teams to communicate with students in my classes. Teams can be accessed from www.office.com. Your username is [email protected], and the password is the password you use to log onto school computers.

If you are having any problems accessing Teams, please contact me by email to let me know.

I am still waiting to hear exactly what requirements and expectations there will be around classes, assignments, and homework. Once I know that information, I will send it out to you on this channel (“General”) in the class Team.

If you would like to chat or publicly ask a question, you can do so in the “Chit Chat Café” channel. If you type @ followed by a name, you can notify students and teachers that there is a message for them.

Stay safe,

Mr. Renwick

Thursday, April 2

Current Status

Over the past couple of days, everyone should have been contacted by their homeroom teacher, so that Templeton has an email address where we know that teachers can contact you.

You should reply to the email as soon as possible, and by Friday (tomorrow) at 9 a.m. by the latest.

The VSB has put up a video about a day in the STEM 9 classroom. Check it out! The VSB is also still providing lunches, so if you need a lunch you can still get a bagged lunch to go.

Next Steps

Everyone at the school has been working hard all week to figure out how to deliver online classes. Today, we received a set of broad instructions, which stated that we “should  not try to replicate what we do in our schools and classrooms”. This is a relief to me, because I do not know how science students would be able to run experiments and collect data without access to any of the necessary tools and materials. Furthermore, “continued learning opportunities” is only the 4th most important principle guiding the VSB’s response. In order, the priorities are:

1. Ensure the health and safety of students, staff and communities

2. Communicate thoughtfully, transparently and in a timely manner

3. Provide connections to ensure students feel valued and have a sense of belonging and community

4. Continued learning opportunities so that all students can successfully transition to their next phase of learning

What class looks like will vary from teacher to teacher. The VSB has been providing training to teachers with giving assignments in Microsoft Teams.

Lastly, we have been told to keep in mind that students “may have less time to do their schoolwork, not more”, and that we should “not expect students to do the same amount of work they would have done if you would have
had them face-to-face with you”.

COVID-19 Update

BC’s Provincial Health Officer (PHO) says there is evidence that our social distancing measures have begun to “flatten the curve” of infection, but the number of cases is still increasing daily.

March 30, 2020

There is an important message from Suzanne Hoffman, Superintendent of the VSB, where she says that we are “going one week at a time, as circumstances evolve”. Some important quotes:

Hoffman hopes on Wednesday and Thursday (April 1 and 2), staff will begin to touch base with students and families about what resources parents will need, and whether anything should be picked up from their child’s school.

“We will then arrange for times – in small groups – for individuals to come into schools to pick up what it is that they need in order to have learning resources at home and at their fingertips,” she adds.

Hoffman says teachers will then start to plan, which will take time. School staff will also begin reaching out to students who usually access basic nutrition through meal plans at schools. Those students, who are amongst the most vulnerable, will be able to pick-up a meal at their school.

The Templeton School staff had an online staff meeting today using Microsoft Teams, and discussed a bit about how we can teach our classes online.

If you have a device with Internet access, you may want to get familiar with Teams, because it looks like it will be a big part of how teachers at Templeton will be sending/receiving assignments to/from students.

Mass communication to parents will be done through MyEdBC, and also available at the Templeton website.

Update: Here is a link to Microsoft’s documentation to help students use Teams.

March 22, 2020

COVID-19 update:  Mike Judge, creator of King of the Hill, demonstrates social distancing. It has been nice to see people in Vancouver mostly following the guidelines, staying at least 6 feet away from each other, in checkout lines and walking around on the sidewalk. It is important to remember that the effect of social distancing won’t be seen for about 2 weeks, as most of the people who are testing positive today were likely infected one to two weeks ago.

Italy is now the epicentre of the pandemic, with over 700 new deaths yesterday. They are locking down the country even further, including the following measures:

But the Italian government appears intent on making more or less everyone stay in doors as much as possible at any cost.

Police squads in Rome were checking documents and fining those outside without a valid excuse.

Those who were out shopping were forced to wait in line at the entrance to make sure the store was filled with only a handful of people at a time.

Those who were out jogging were asked to limit their runs to laps around the block.

And those who were out for a walk were fined if they broke the rules and wandered into a park or stopped to take pictures of historic scenes of a city without any people.

In the UK, the PM is saying that they are only a “matter of weeks-two or three-behind Italy”.

Canada is likely on a similar trajectory, although we have more warning, so our social distancing and health care system preparations have more time to work.

Wednesday, March 18

The VSB has an update describing the current situation. Be sure to read both letters that are linked, as they have valuable information from the provincial Ministry of Education and the local VSB superintendent.

The most relevant parts of the letter are that BC schools must “immediately suspend in-class instruction until further notice” and that “it is expected that schools will implement a variety of measures to ensure continued learning for students”. The VSB says that they “are looking at how to continue to meet the needs of students who rely on enhanced supports at their schools such as nutrition/food programs”.

For grade 12 students, here is the relevant information:

“Every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate. The only graduation assessment required for current Grade 12 students is the Grade 10 numeracy assessment. The Ministry of Education will ensure Grade 12 students who have not yet completed this assessment and who are otherwise on track to graduate are able to meet this graduation requirement.”

In Seattle, people are observing a 6-foot-rule for social distancing while waiting in line.

Social Distancing at Dick's

 

Monday, March 16

I am sick again with a cough, headache, and runny nose – but no fever. The BC CDC has a very useful self-assessment tool that told me I do not need COVID-19 testing. However, it also informed me that “the BC Ministry of Health strongly encourages any individuals experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing) to stay home from work and/or school, and avoid going out in public where possible”, so I am stuck at home.

On the outside, the COVID-19 pandemic is advancing quickly. Italy is the hardest hit country outside of China, with 2,158 deaths and 27,980 confirmed infections. Due to the steepness of the infection curve, the health care system is overwhelmed, and doctors are being forced to make triage decisions.

The Washington Post has a very good animation demonstrating how diseases spread through the population. Keep in mind that this is a model, and does not perfectly reflect how COVID-19 is spreading. As one example of the limitations of the model, one researcher noted that “some of the dots should disappear”.

Since I am at home, I decided to look at the number of COVID-19 cases in BC and Canada more closely. I used information from Wikipedia and CTV News, which agree with each other very closely.

Using March 1 as Day 0 (Day 29 is Monday, March 30, when we should return to school), the exponential curve looks like this:

Note how well the data fits the curve – an R² value of 1.0 would means that the data matches the exponential growth trendline perfectly. The fit did not change much depending on what date I chose for Day 0.

In BC, I chose March 9 as my Day 0 (Day 21 is Monday, March 30, when we should return to school). I chose this date because it is where the data starts to become less noisy. The trendline is very similar to the trendline for all of Canada.

According to this simple exponential model, on March 30, BC will have about 1,025 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and Canada will have about 4,214 confirmed cases.

It is important not to extrapolate too far out into the future – at some point the growth will slow, and the number of cases will no longer follow the exponential growth model I have used here.