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Update September 18, 2020

 Spread love everywhere you go.

Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

~ St. Teresa of Calcutta

Thank you to our entire community for a great first full week of school! We had a fantastic week with all our students back in the school!

Thank you to our parents for all 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! 

Happy Retirement Mrs. Schneider! We wish Mrs. Schneider all the best on her retirement as of August 31, 2020. Any students or parents wanting to send a note or card are welcome to send them with their children to the attention of their homeroom teacher and we will ensure Mrs. Schneider receives them – Thank you!

Well wishes to Mrs. Pitt as she takes on the new role of Vice Principal of Virtual Learning as of Friday September 18, 2020. We thank her for her time at St. Bernadette CES and know she will be a welcome support to this new opportunity this school year! All the best Mrs. Pitt!

NEW COVID-19 SCHOOL SCREENING TOOL

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, the Ontario government released to school boards an online screening tool available for families, school staff and essential visitors to meet their obligation to screen themselves or their children for symptoms of illness each day before going to school. School boards and local health units have been asked to align the criteria in their screening tools with this new screening tool for schools. 

The COVID-19 School Screening tool has been posted on our Return to School (RTS) website under Daily Screening, and is accessible here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Parents or guardians (and students 18 years of age or older) must complete this new COVID-19 School Screening tool before leaving for school each day. Please use this screening tool moving forward, as the one that was provided at the start of the school year is no longer applicable.

Based on the new criteria in the school screening tool, the following changes to our previous screening protocol will now apply:  

  • Household members and close contacts of a symptomatic individual are no longer required to self-isolate unless they have symptoms. This means that unless otherwise directed by Public Health or a health care provider, siblings are not required to stay home or miss school while awaiting test results for the symptomatic student. 
  • However, if a household member (including siblings) has COVID-19 symptoms, they are required to self-isolate while awaiting test results.   
  • In cases where an individual tests positive for COVID-19, all close contacts and household members (including siblings) will be required to self-isolate and will require clearance from Halton Public Health before returning to school.

The attached chart (Return to School Protocol for Students with COVID-19 Symptoms.pdf) outlines the revised Return to School Protocol for Students with COVID-19 symptoms. 

COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD
The HCDSB has posted a COVID-19 Advisory Board on our Return to School site that provides the number of active confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in connection to HCDSB schools. Please note that this chart will track any active confirmed positive COVID-19 cases connected to one of our school communities, but it does not necessarily mean the individual was exposed in our school. 

A link to this advisory board has been posted on the landing page of each of our school websites, and you may also access it directly through this link:  https://learnathome.hcdsb.org/covid-19-advisory-board/.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding as we navigate through this period of time. The health and well-being of our students, staff and families continues to be our highest priority as we work closely with our Public Health Officials to ensure a safe school year for all. 

MEDICAL PERILS

Please ensure you have returned the necessary forms for any medical perils (anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes, etc.) to the office along with any medication needed so we can update our files. 

DOGS NOT ALLOWED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY

Though we love our four-legged friends, some of our children have severe allergies and are frightened by an encounter with a dog. Our school board prohibits dogs on school property for the protection of your children as well as for the protection of your pet. Please be advised that from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm our students may be out and about with the YMCA and after-school activities in the yard, so we ask your cooperation in NOT walking your dog through the property during these hours.

ORANGE SHIRT DAY – SEPTEMBER 30

Students are encouraged to wear an orange shirt (they are to wear uniform bottoms) 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.

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

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Wishing you a peaceful weekend ~ the Staff of St. Bernadette CES

Sep
23
Wed
Catholic School Council Nominations Due
Sep 23 – Sep 24 all day
Sep
24
Thu
Safe and Caring Schools Virtual Assemblies
Sep 24 all day
Sep
30
Wed
Concussion Awareness Day
Sep 30 all day
Orange Shirt Day
Sep 30 all day

Students are encouraged to wear an orange shirt (they are to wear uniform bottoms) 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.

Oct
5
Mon
World Teachers’ Day
Oct 5 all day
Peace & Justice Virtual Meeting
Oct 5 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Catholic School Council – Meeting #1
Oct 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Oct
9
Fri
Thanksgiving Liturgy
Oct 9 all day
Elementary PrincipalUpdate September 18, 2020