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School Update – Last of 2021

Thank you to all our Guardian Angels families for your ongoing support and patience over the last several months ~ we ALL made it safely to the Christmas Holidays. Thank you also to our INCREDIBLE STAFF for all of your efforts, energy, and commitment in making this school year safe and engaging!

FUND-RAISING

We wanted to share the results of our recent Advent fundraising efforts:

1) Candy Cane sales that were run by Mrs. Mills and her Grade 8 class resulted in a profit of $1140 that was distributed to the local St. Vincent de Paul Society as well as families in our school community. Thanks to Megan C, Hailey H, Brooke R, Maja B, Sarah R, Kaden R and Kayla C for leading the efforts in this initiative!

2) Gift cards totaling $165 were collected and distributed to families in our school community.

3) Our Christmas Spirit week raised $2690 for the Halton Catholic Children’s Foundation which supports students and families in need across the Halton Catholic District School Board.

4) Our food drive collected over 50 boxes of food that was given to the Food 4 Kids organization to support local families.

PRIMARY CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Filming has been completed for the Kindergarten to Grade 3 Christmas Concert, and the elves are busy compiling this into a finished product. Look for a email coming next week with the completed version and enjoy the show!

ADVENT LITURGIES

Thanks to Ms. Sankey’s Grade 6 class and Mrs. Cilia’s Grade 4 class for presenting the liturgies for the 3rd and 4th week of Advent for the school.

VOTE FOR THE KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS CONTEST

Last year we had Lilian Nadhim and Megan Centeno win the HCDSB Christmas Card contest and this year we have entries from Josias Sewlal (Grade 3) and Samantha Jones (Grade 8) who have submitted entries. Vote to keep Guardian Angels representing the Board with our Christmas spirit!

Voting is open until Sunday, December 19th at 11:59 PM. Links to vote are available on the Keeping Christ in Christmas official contest page: https://www.hcdsb.org/students/keeping-christ-in-christmas/

Vote #4 in the K-3 section and #4 in the Grade 7-8 section.

Winners will be announced at the December 21st Regular Board Meeting, which will be live-streamed on the HCDSB Youtube channel here

PROMOTING WELL-BEING OVER THE HOLIDAYS

Changes to holiday traditions can keep everyone safe. Try some of these fun activities this winter season:

  • Plan virtual holiday gatherings or events with family, friends or coworkers. Spread holiday cheer, not COVID-19. Make a tasty hot chocolate hack to drink while you’re chatting.
  • Build a snowman, go on a sleigh ride with people you live with or try another outdoor activity you can only do while it’s cold. If you live near an Ontario Park, consider exploring the outdoors in the park.
  • Visit Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or their elves outdoors or take photos with fun cardboard cutouts. Remember to maintain 2 metres physical distance from other visitors to Santa’s workshop.
  • Watch a holiday or winter movie with the people you live with. If your kids are under 17, try a made-in-Ontario activity or video to help everyone learn at home.
  • Decorate your doors or put up lights around your home. Take a walk or drive around your neighbourhood to check out other peoples’ decorations. Be a wildlife detective while you’re out and about.
  • Bake holiday treats at home. You could even try a new recipe.
  • Donate to your favourite holiday charity or toy drive. You can make a difference this holiday.
  • Send cards or gifts in the mail and give the gift of good health.

RED CROSS

Please see the attached flyer for 1st Aid courses being offered virtually for students.

DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE ABOUT RETURN TO SCHOOL

Please see the following message that was sent out to all families on Thursday, December 16th, from the Director of Education for the Halton Catholic District School Board, Mr. Pat Daly:

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

I am writing to share a few updates and reminders for families as we head into the Christmas break.

As you know, tomorrow (Friday, December 17th) is the last day of instruction for students before we begin the Christmas break. Our schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday, January 3, 2021. Although the Ministry of Education has not provided any direction about a possible move to remote learning after the break, as we have learned throughout this pandemic, we need to be prepared for all possibilities. As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb across the province and across our region, and in particular in light of the increase in cases with the variant of concern, Omicron, we may see additional changes to the measures that have been put in place to keep everyone safe.  

In the event we need to move to remote learning, we will be reaching out to families to determine technology needs and make arrangements to provide devices and/or WiFi, as required.  We encourage students to take home all personal belongings and any other materials that they may need before they leave school for the Christmas break.

A New Update from Halton Public Health

As a follow up to the Letter to Parents and Guardians from Dr. Meghani we shared with you on December 13th, the Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region has provided another letter to parents and guardians with additional recommendations.  Read the letter HERE.

A Few Important Reminders

  • As indicated in the email you received on November 18, 2021, for the first two weeks of school following the break (January 3 – 14, 2022), all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students will be required to show daily confirmation of successful completion of the COVID-19 school screening tool
  • The Ministry of Education has provided Rapid Antigen Testing Kits for all students learning in-person. Participation in this testing is voluntary and not required for return to school. Additional information, including an instructional video about these testing kits was provided in the Letter from Minister Lecce and the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health that we shared with you on Monday, December  13th.
  • Families travelling outside of Canada over the Christmas break are reminded to monitor updates to federal travel directives and mandatory isolation periods for students. Please refer to the Government of Canada’s instructions for travellers from outside Canada for more information. 
  • I would also ask that you continue to monitor your emails, as in the event we need to communicate any information regarding the return to school, we will share this information through email, as well as on our school/board websites and through social media.

Communication Throughout the Break re. COVID-19 Cases  

Over the Christmas break, our school board staff will continue to work with Halton Region Public Health to inform families and staff about confirmed cases of COVID-19 where the individuals were at school during the period of communicability (when the virus can spread to others). Families are encouraged to check their email regularly.

Stay Healthy and Safe
The ongoing collaboration of our staff and families has been instrumental to helping us manage the spread of COVID-19 in our school communities and maintain safe learning environments for our students.  I want to thank you for your ongoing support and understanding during this challenging school year.

Please continue to follow the COVID-19 safety measures recommended by Public Health. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a community effort, and as we head into the break, it continues to be important that we work together to follow public health measures so that we can ensure a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for all students and staff when schools reopen in the new year.  

Mental Health Support and Resources
Christmas is a difficult time for many in our community, and the challenges of living in a pandemic has further compounded the difficulties that many are facing. 

School Mental Health Ontario have posted a number of resources to support the mental health of students, families and staff during this time. I encourage you to explore the information and tip sheets available on the SMHO website at: https://smho-smso.ca/covid-19/parents-and-families/

And as we look after ourselves and our families, let’s also remember to reach out to friends and neighbours who may be alone and/or struggling at this time. 

I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas break. For those who may be celebrating another faith tradition, I wish you the peace and joy that this time of year brings. I continue to hold all of our students, families and staff in my thoughts and prayers. May God keep you safe and healthy as we welcome in a new year.

Pat Daly
Director of Education

Hawken, ChristopherSchool Update – Last of 2021