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Weekly Update: September 21st

“When I am merciful, I am a true child of the Father, because the Father is merciful”

 Pope Francis

Thank you:

Thank you to our entire community for another GREAT WEEK! We had a fabulous week with all of our students back in the school!

Thank you parents for all of your support in ensuring that your child is wearing their mask when they enter the school yard each morning!

Thank you to our students for following our protocols both inside and outside the building ~ you have been doing an AWESOME JOB!

Thank you to our virtual learners and their parents for your continued patience with the launch of the virtual school!

Thank you to our AMAZING staff for thinking outside the box to ensure our students have a great sense of community & belonging!  

Gentile Reminders:

St. Paul the Apostle Parish Update: First Holy Communion

If your child was supposed to participate in the Sacrament of First Holy Communion last Spring, please refer to the following link from the Parish containing important information about Make up Dates:  First Communion Make Up Information

Daily Self-Screening

UPDATE: On September 16, 2020, the Ontario Government released a new COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool for Schools.

COVID-19 Symptoms/Exposure Protocol

UPDATE: As of September 16, 2020, household members and close contacts of a symptomatic individual are no longer required to self-isolate. Siblings of a symptomatic student do not have to be sent home or miss school while awaiting test results for the symptomatic student.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, Halton Region Public Health will notify the individual, the close contacts and the school.

Parents are able to access the Daily Self-Assessment for HCDSB students HERE.

What happens if your child feels unwell at school? 

It is important for your son or daughter to let their teacher know if they are feeling unwell at school.  

Students who show signs/symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day will be taken to our school’s ‘isolation room’ and we will contact the parent or guardian to come and pick them up. 

It is very important that we have current contact information for all of our families so that we can get in touch with you quickly. Please contact our school office if there have been any recent changes to your contact information.  

When can a student or staff with symptoms return to school/work?

If the student or staff member is assessed by their health care provider and cleared to return to school, he/she can return to school 24 hours after symptoms have resolved. Medical notes are generally not required for return to school.

If the student or staff member is recommended for COVID-19 testing by their Health Care Provider, and the tests come back negative*, he/she may return to school after symptoms are resolved for at least 24 hours, providing:

  • before returning to school.

*Proof of negative tests should not be required for return to school.

Lunch Time:

For the health and safety of our students and school community, it is strongly recommended that all elementary students remain at school for the full duration of their lunch periods. 

As we limit visitors to our school throughout the day, lunch drop offs will not be permitted during the school day.   We would ask that parents and guardians provide their child(ren) with lunch in the morning before students enter the school building.  

Spirit Day ~ Friday, September 25th “We Love Our School Day”:

On Friday, September 25th we are encouraging all of our students and staff to wear RED, BLACK & “HEARTS” to demonstrate that we LOVE being back together as a school community!

Orange Shirt Day- Wednesday, September 30th

Students are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on Wednesday, September 30th.  Orange Shirt Day annually in recognition of our indigenous community. It is an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters. Our Catholic Social Teachings call us in Solidarity with our indigenous sisters and brothers to honour the human dignity in all.

Visitor Protocol 

This school year, in an effort to minimize contacts and help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, we are limiting visitor access to our school.   

All visitors, including parents and HCDSB staff who are not assigned to our school, will require approval and pre-screening before entering our building. Only visits that are deemed absolutely essential will be approved – e.g. visits by the Fire Marshal’s office or by public health. Where possible, meetings or visits will be conducted virtually.  

Visitors who are granted approval will be required to book an appointment and complete an online screening form prior to arriving at our school. Once inside, all visitors will be required to wear masks.   

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we do all we can to ensure a safe and healthy return to school for all.  

Promoting Well-Being: Back to School Transition

The back-to- school transition is always an important one for working parents and families. But this year’s return to classes, amid the safety questions and uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be like no other in recent memory. The specific concerns and decisions facing individual families across the nation will vary depending on numerous factors. But one factor all parents will be dealing with is the extra stress of uncertainty. The Psychology Foundation of Canada has been at the forefront of efforts to acknowledge and address the stress of children and families for over 20 years. Please refer to the following for some words of advice and strategies developed by experts on how to manage the stress of this year’s transition to school.

Learn to accept uncertainty and be prepared to learn and adjust as the year progresses
Challenging situations feel less stressful when we think that we understand what is going on. That helps us prepare and figure out what we can do to make a situation less stressful. Right now we cannot possibly understand all the implications of this year’s return to school this fall. While it is a good idea to be well-informed, recognize the possibility that trying to eliminate uncertainty may actually be stressful. We are all going to learn and adjust as we go along and that is just the way things are right now for communities world-wide.

Problem-solving won’t always be the answer

Another of our go-to ways of managing stress is to solve the problem that is causing the stress. Solve the problem and our stress goes away. Right? Not so much in this case. While there are decisions and actions you will need to take, parents cannot solve all the problems related to re-schooling children in the midst of a pandemic. This fall it may be more helpful to focus on coping with, and recovering from the stressors we are unable to avoid.

Try to decrease your stress
When we are overstressed, some of our responses to stress can actually increase our stress in the long run. So, in a quiet moment, reflect on what you are doing in response to stress. Might any of them be increasing your stress in the long term? How do you come across to your loved ones? 

Be mindful of how you think about stressors
The stressors that bother us are, almost by definition, negative. But when we dwell excessively on negative thoughts about the stressor we can get into a pessimistic loop that feeds our bad feelings, and interfere with our communication with others. Changing the way you think about a stressor involves learning to:
•           accept and adapt to stress you can’t change, without giving up
•           recognize when negative thoughts are increasing our feelings of stress
•           challenge our negative thoughts, so we can think about stressors in less negative and more flexible ways
•           plan small steps for self-care
•           remind yourself of your blessings amidst the daily challenges 

Try not to add to the stress of others
Let us keep in mind that everyone else is experiencing extra stress these days, especially front-line workers in schools. You can be sure your child’s teacher and principal are doing their best to handle a lot of pressure, new demands, and new worries. When communicating with educators, remember that your partnership will help your child’s transition back to school. 

Help your kids cope
Most parents do this instinctively. But there is more to it than just getting kids to act bravely, or trying to explain things in ways that ease their worries. It is important to give kids constructive ways to “reset” into a more relaxed and happy state. Play is one of the best coping mechanisms for children (and not just electronic play). Kids need unstructured, active, and outdoor play. Play with them age appropriate family games. Recreational activities are good for you, too, and help you stay connected with your children.

Be a role model
Given the unknowns of the current situation, it is natural for parents to have some worries about sending their kids off to school. However, whether you choose in-school or at-home learning, it is important to model confidence and optimism to your children. Kids pick up on and pay attention to parents’ facial expressions and non-verbal cues. Our anxiety can affect them, but so too can our confidence and courage.

Keep doing things you enjoy

One of the most important ways to manage the negative impacts of stress is to do enjoyable, healthy things that make us feel good. Coping with stress requires energy. Doing things we enjoy, even in small steps, helps us get back into a positive frame of mind and replenishes the energy we use in coping with stress.

Practice a stress-busting lifestyle
Lifestyle habits like getting enough rest, physical activity, good nutrition and social contacts bolster our ability to manage stress.

Reach out for support
Getting (and giving!) social support from others is an important strategy for relieving stress. In fact, our brains are wired for this coping strategy. But some kinds of social contact can add to our stress. Focus in getting support, in safe ways, from people who understand and care about you and can help you feel hopeful and more calm. 

Most important of all: the parent-child connection
Positive daily relationship with a parent is one of a child’s best buffers against stress. So with everything else you have to attend to this fall, be sure to do things to stay connected with your kids in order to help them strengthen their resiliency.

The Psychology Foundation of Canada has many free online stress resources including: 

Resources for Parents

 Stress Strategies: our interactive, online stress management tool

Thank you to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for their support of 24/7: A resource for working parents.

The Psychology Foundation of Canada


Please follow us @CMartyrsHCDSB , to view learning in our community as well as some great community and parent information.

Looking Ahead:

Catholic School Council Meeting #1
Oct 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
First Communion Make-Up Date
Oct 10 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Thanksgiving Day~ No School
Oct 12 all day
First Communion Make-Up Date
Oct 17 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Halloween Spirit Day
Oct 30 @ 2:59 pm – 3:59 pm
First Communion Make-Up Date
Nov 7 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Progress Reports Go Home
Nov 24 all day
Student Led Conferences/ Parent Teacher Interviews
Nov 26 @ 3:30 pm – 8:30 pm
PA Day – Student Led Conferences/Parent Teacher Interviews
Nov 27 all day
Elementary PrincipalWeekly Update: September 21st