Black history isn’t just for Black people – Black history is Canadian history.”~Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine
Welcome to a new week and welcome back to in-person learning. There is a lot of information included in this update to remind you of the health and safety protocols we have already been following this school year and those that we are being asked to update to support a renewed call to maintaining schools as safe places for both students and staff.
Reminder that students who were scheduled to switch platforms or classes on January 11 will do so on Tuesday, February 16. All students are to report to the class they were in as of December on Monday.
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.
Changes to Recess and Masking
New public health directions are that students must remain masked outdoors when they cannot maintain physical distance. A decision has been made that all students will remain masked while outside at recess times, as it is impractical during those large gatherings to maintain physical distance. This masking protocol applies to all students K-Gr.8 starting on February 8th. Your child’s teacher will ensure that mask breaks are provided throughout the day.
Please send your child to school with multiple masks so that masks can be replaced when they become wet during outdoor use. Cloth masks should be laundered daily to provide proper protection. 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.
In reference to outdoor masking for Kindergarten students, if a class cohort is outside in their play area and they are able to maintain physical distancing under the supervision of staff, then they can treat this as a mask break similar to the older grades. This would only be done in the case where one single cohort is outside in a designated play area.
Please make sure students are coming with appropriate outdoor wear as they will be spending more time outside even on cold and wet days. Hats, mitts, boots are all necessary items.
Lockers will continue to be used to store only outerwear for students. Teachers will continue to follow safety protocols for lockers put in place in December. Indoor shoes are important and can be stored in lockers overnight.
Health and Safety Reminders:
Everyone entering school grounds before and after school must be masked. This includes parents and caregivers doing drop-offs and pickups. Before and after school are busy times and we cannot guarantee that physical distancing can be maintained. Your support and adherence to this is greatly appreciated.
Students and parents are asked not to congregate before and after school. Students coming before 8:30 will go directly to their cohort line as before and remain there until teachers bring them inside. Parents are asked to drop off and immediately leave the premises.
Our Kiss and Ride drop off areas are perfect for making sure that your child is dropped off safely and leads to less congestion in our parking area. After school pickups will remain the same as they were previously. Please remain behind the fence areas, pickup your child and immediately leave the premises. Do not allow your children to play on the school ground or go to the park to play. Milton Bi-law officers will be patrolling the area before and after school to ensure congregating does not occur.
Students and staff will continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene throughout the day and anyone feeling unwell will be immediately sent to our isolation room and sent home. Parents are reminded to make sure the office has a current phone number to reach you at throughout the day. If your child is feeling unwell and will be away please report the absence through our safe arrival program on School Messenger.
COVID School Assessment:
Parents are to complete the daily COVID screening assessment before sending their children to school. Please follow the guidelines within the assessment. The link to the assessment can be found here.
To see an updated list of our board health and safety protocols please follow the link here.
Students will continue to be unmasked during eating times in the classroom. Teachers and lunch supervisors will strictly enforce they are seated, and facing forward while eating and unmasked. Once they are done eating they will sanitize their hands and put their mask back on. To support the “no talking” teachers may run videos etc so students have something to entertain them.
Thank you for your support in reviewing this information with your child(ren) and understanding as we try to minimize every risk we can to ensure a safe learning environment!
Guardian Angel’s iDARE Committee is pleased to introduce our Gr. 7&8 Black History Month Initiative called the Notable Black Canadians Video Series. A very special thank you to Jeremiah Gyles (Gr. 8) who created a video to share the purpose of the initiative at GA and to Janae John who submitted a VERY special video featuring an exclusive interview with the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, the woman who secured unanimous legislative support to pass the historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada.
These videos are shared with students during the morning announcements. During the closure, we shifted to posting the daily morning announcements on our website so that they could be easily accessed by all classrooms and with the larger GA community. They can be viewed under the calendar tab on our website and by clicking on the + sign on the right-hand side of the date. Stay tuned to the calendar for more exciting news, videos and information!
Valentine’s Day Dance and Fundraiser
This Friday we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day (and our return to school) with a video dance party! Students from each classroom will have an opportunity to dance in the gym. Please click the link below for the dance schedule.
Friday is also “Local Love Day for the United Way”- a rebranded version of our annual Paint the Town Red Day. Students are invited to wear red and support the United Way by donating a toonie. Making a contribution to the United Way is easy and can be done through School Cash Online. Parents were notified this past week via a School Cash Online email notification.
Valentine’s Day Card Giving
St. Valentine’s Day is on Sunday this year and while the week leading up to Valentine’s Day is a time when students typically enjoy sharing Valentine’s cards and treats with one another, this year in light of COVID-19, we will need to be extra cautious to ensure we are following the health and safety protocols that are in place to protect our students, families and staff.
If your child would like to bring something in to share with classmates for St. Valentine’s Day, please ensure:
- that the items are non-edible, such as a traditional Valentine’s card or a pencil;
- that there are enough items to share with everyone in the class so that all students are included; and
- that the items are sent to the classroom teacher no later than Tuesday, February 9th.
In accordance with the Halton Public Health COVID-19 Guidance for Handling Materials, materials that are not able to withstand disinfection should be stored for a period of 1-3 days to ensure any virus that may be on the material is inactivated.
Your child’s teacher will hold onto the Valentine’s items for three (3) days to ensure that they are virus-free, and they will be distributed on Friday, February 12th.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we continue to adapt our practices to keep our students, staff and families healthy and safe.
Catholic School Council
Our next Council meeting is Monday, February 8th from 6:30-8pm. If you’re interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.