“We all need to be healed, and we can all heal others if we are humble & meek; with a good word, with patience, with a glance.”
Our staff is thrilled to welcome back your child to in person learning on Monday February 8th! Please take some time to carefully review our Weekly Update for very important information about our Return to School.
Thank you to ALL of our students, their families and our staff for participating in Beach Day! It was wonderful to see all of the creativity in welcoming some sunshine & happiness into our day!
A BIG SHOUT OUT to our entire community ~ WE DID IT- 5 weeks of Remote Learning! Each one of you- students, parents, grandparents, staff are true HEREOS!
A Message from Director Daly – In-Person Learning Resumes at HCDSB Elementary Schools on Monday, February 8th
As a follow up to the email you received yesterday, I am writing to provide some additional information students and families will need as we prepare to reopen our HCDSB Catholic elementary schools forthe in-person learning on Monday, February 8, 2021.
What does this mean for elementary students?
- All HCDSB Catholic elementary schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, February 8th.
- Students will return to the learning format that was in place prior to the Christmas break. This means, that if your child was attending their home school and learning in-person, they will return to that format. If your child was enrolled in the Virtual Elementary School before Christmas, they will remain in the Virtual School.
Transition in Learning Formats
At the end of November 2020, parents and guardians were invited to request a change in learning format for their children. The changes were originally scheduled to take effect on January 11th, however, were delayed due to the closure of our schools and the move to teacher-led remote learning.
For students where a change in learning format was requested, the transition to the new format will now take place on Tuesday, February 16th.
This will offer a coordinated transition to ensure that student transportation is in place for all eligible students and provide teachers with an opportunity to complete Term 1 assessments (report cards) for their current students.
Before and After School Program
- All Before and After School Programs will reopen on Monday, February 8th.
- Childcare centres will remain open.
Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols
As we prepare for a safe and healthy return to in-person learning, families are reminded to review with your children the Health and Safety Protocols available on our Return to School website.
An important reminder to continue monitoring your children for symptoms of COVID-19 and complete the Ontario School Screening Tool for each child each morning, before sending them to school: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/.
In addition to the protocols that have been in place all year, the Ministry of Education has also implemented additional health and safety measures.
As you know, all HCDSB students must wear a mask at all times when at school. Up until the Christmas break, students were not required to wear masks while outdoors for recess or lunch break. The Ministry now requires that masks be worn outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
As we cannot ensure physical distancing is being maintained while students are outside during recess, effective Monday, February 8th, all students will now be required to wear their masks when outside at recess and outside after lunch. Your child’s school will ensure that mask breaks are provided throughout the day.
You may want to consider sending your child to school with multiple masks so that masks can be replaced when they become wet during outdoor use. You are encouraged to read this tip sheet created by Halton Region Public Health on the Use of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings in Schools.
To help minimize the spread of COVID-19, we have received Ministry direction to continue to follow physical distancing measures both inside our schools and in outside areas. School staff will be monitoring to ensure that children are not gathering in groups before school starts and after school. Please review with your children about the need to follow physical distancing guidelines and remind your older children to refrain from congregating in groups before and after school.
As a reminder, parents are also asked not to gather during drop off and pick up times, and to refrain from carpooling if physical distancing and the use of PPE (masks) cannot be maintained.
Targeted asymptomatic testing
The Ontario government has indicated that it will offer targeted asymptomatic testing for school communities that receive higher rates of positive COVID-19 cases. This testing would be offered on a voluntary basis. Halton Region Public Health is currently developing a plan for Halton schools and details will be shared at a later date.
Halton Student Transportation Services (HSTS) will resume for eligible students on Monday, February 8, 2021. Students who ride the bus must be wearing masks, and for contact tracing purposes, students must adhere to their bus seating plans.
Technology & Devices
Your school principal will provide further information about the return of any borrowed devices.
Mental Health Supports
I recognize that the shift from remote to in-person learning can be a very stressful time for many families. As a reminder, parents are welcome to visit our website for Mental Health & Well-Being resources and support. School Mental Health Ontario also has a number of excellent resources to help our HCDSB community navigate through this difficult period: www.smho-smso.ca.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available, and will share information in the following ways:
- Email to Parents/Guardians and Staff
- Updates to our Return to School Plan website
- Twitter: @HCDSB
- Instagram: @HaltonCatholicDSB
Thank you for your ongoing understanding and support as we work with the Ministry of Education and our Public Health officials to keep our school communities healthy and safe.
We look forward to welcoming our students and staff safely back to school for in-person learning on Monday.
~ Pat Daly, Director of Education
Halton Transportation Reminders
Please confirm your child(ren)’s bus stop times through our Parent Portal here: https://www.haltonbus.ca/sign-in/
Important COVID-19 transportation safety information can be found here: https://www.haltonbus.ca/covid-19-return-to-school-transportation/
Canadian Martyrs’ Tech Return- please look for an email this coming week with further information.
On Friday February 12th we will be having a Spirit Day – Local Love Day! Our students and staff will be encouraged to wear RED, WHITE & or PINK. We will also be supporting our local United Way. This year’s campaign theme, “Local Love,” focuses on helping meet the needs of those right here in our community. That means that your donation goes directly to those organizations closest to your heart, closest to home. We kindly request that our families consider making a $2.00 donation per child, either using cash on line or if preferred bringing toonies in person to school. The past few months have tested all of us in ways we could have never imagined. But for our friends and neighbours who were already experiencing poverty and related issues—struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table – it has been an exceptionally difficult and, sometimes, heartbreaking time. As we begin to recover from this crisis, people and families across our community are going to need your help more than ever. That’s because demand for social services has skyrocketed. In fact, almost 40 per cent of non-profits in Ontario have seen increased demand for their services. The need for vital supports, including mental health counselling and the need for food hampers, has risen sharply.
Together, we can help improve the lives of those who are struggling in our community!
Thank you for your consideration & support!
Friendship Liturgy – Friday, February 12th @ 1:10 via Teams. There will be a link sent out during the week if parents would like to join us. A special thank you to Ms. Makariak & Ms. Dobson’s class for organizing this for our community!
Students will be permitted to bring in Valentine’s Day Cards on Friday, February 12th. We will be following the latest recommendations from Public Health and they will be sent home on Tuesday, February 16th with your child, after the cards have been quarantined. Thank you for your patience & understanding as we strive to keep everyone safe!
Promoting Well Being: How to overcome 5 common roadblocks that get in the way of winter play
Kristi York January 18, 2021
During the winter months, it’s tempting to hibernate inside, even when we know outdoor fun and fresh air are just what we need. You can overcome some of the common roadblocks to getting outside with these simple tips and strategies.
Roadblock #1: “It’s too cold”
The first step to enjoying winter play is to bundle up. Here’s my game-changing tip: warm up your children’s snow pants and mittens in the dryer (on a medium-low setting) for a few minutes before you go play outside. Even on very cold days you’ll stay positively toasty if you slide into pre-warmed gear!
Here are a few other ways to stay warm in cold weather:
- Invest in good-quality winter outerwear for the whole family. This gear can be pricey, so you can look online and in secondhand sports stores to find used clothing. Water-resistant fabrics are a must, especially for mittens and gloves. (While fuzzy and cute, polar fleece mitts will be soaked after the first snowball.)
- Choose function over fashion. Earmuffs and headbands may look stylish, but won’t retain the all-important body heat that will be lost through the head. Instead, wear a winter hat that’s well-insulated, fits properly, and covers the ears. After all, what are Canadians without their toques, eh?
- Close up openings where snow can get in and/or heat can escape. Zip the jacket right to the top, secure cuffs with Velcro wrist straps, and pull snow pant legs fully down over each boot.
- Apply sunscreen or moisturizing lotion to cheeks, and use lip balm if desired. Tuck a few tissues in a pocket in case of a runny nose.
- Depending on your location, there may be extreme wind chill days that really are dangerous, but during typical winter conditions, enjoying time outside is entirely doable as long as you’re wearing enough layers. Check the weather and our handy infographic [PDF] to help you dress warmly.
Roadblock #2: “It’s too much hassle to put on all that gear”
True, it’s annoying to search for a misplaced mitten or discover still-damp snow pants shoved in the back of a closet. A few simple changes to your closet or mudroom can help:
- Designate a cubby or hook for each family member, so that everything can be found easily. Teach older kids to put things away in the same place each time, and assist younger siblings to do the same.
- Label kids’ belongings if mix-ups are common.
- Create a drying system that works in the space you have. Try placing a drying rack above a vent or clipping wet hats and mittens to pants hangers.
Roadblock #3: “There’s nothing to do outside”
If you need inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. The Active for Life team is always brainstorming new and creative ways to have fun outside. Maybe your family needs a sense of purpose, such as walking to check the mail, deliver something to a neighbour, or return a book to a Little Library. Perhaps a large-scale backyard building project is in order, such as a mega snow fort or sledding track.
Here are some of our best ideas for outdoor winter family fun:
- 29 fun games to play in the snow
- Try this active winter bucket list
- Outdoor winter activities for toddlers
- 5 tips for family winter hikes
- The many benefits of daily family walks
- How to make neighbourhood walks more interesting
Roadblock #4: “It gets dark so early”
Even as we’re yearning for the late sunsets of summer, we need to look for ways to maximize winter’s limited daylight hours. Walking to and from school is an effective strategy, or if schooling from home, break up the day with some outdoor time around noon.
Another idea is to schedule kids’ recreational screen time in the evening, when outdoor time is less practical. Or, you can embrace the darkness and take the crew out for a short after-dinner “adventure walk” with headlamps and flashlights. Remember to admire the stars along the way.
Related read: 13 fun activities to play in the dark
Roadblock #5: “I hate winter”
It’s not all bad, we promise. Keep trying a variety of winter sports, games, toys, and activities until you find something you truly enjoy.
Any outdoor time is a good thing, so adopt a “quality over quantity” approach. Go for a solo walk and enjoy the quiet time. Take pictures of pretty winter scenery. Or listen to music or a podcast while shoveling the snow.
Best of all, you can look forward to returning rosy-cheeked to a steaming mug of your favourite warm beverage. Cheers to winter resilience! This is Canada, and this is our season!
Please follow us @CMartyrsHCDSB , to view learning in our community as well as some great community and parent information.