“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Welcome to a new week and welcome back to in person learning. There is a lot of information included in this update to remind us of the health and safety protocols we have already been following 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 8. Your child’s teacher 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. 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.
For the first week back to school recess activities will be limited as we reacquaint all with our health and safety protocols and our cohort zone rules. This means that outdoor recess equipment like balls will NOTbe permitted. We will reevaluate after the return from family day weekend.
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 outer wear 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 8:40 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 is 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 fences area, 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.
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, facing forward and not talking 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 movies etc so students have something to entertain them.
Paper bags, baggies or containers are suggested as a safe space for students to store masks while they are eating.
We want our community to be good stewards of the earth by reducing waste and using reusable water bottles and containers where possible. Students can consider boomeranging their waste by bringing it home and reduce trips to the garbage and recycle bin while students are unmasked and eating.
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!
Return of Technology:
For families that borrowed technology if you could please drop it off at the main office during the first week back, it would be greatly appreciated. Many devices were borrowed from classrooms and are instrumental in classroom learning. Please ensure you return chargers and power cords too. If you have questions, please reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to express love and gratitude to our loved ones and celebrate our friendships. Just a reminder however at school we cannot distribute Valentine treats due to life-threatening allergies and our current health & Safety protocols. We are discouraging the distribution of Valentine Cards this year for health & safety reasons. However, if this tradition is important for your child, students will be permitted to bring in Valentine’s Day Cards on Friday, February 12. We will be following the latest recommendations from Public Health and they will be sent home on Tuesday, February 16 with your child after the cards have been quarantined. Thank you for your patience & understanding as we strive to keep everyone safe!
Promoting 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:
Once again, 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 in person.
Stay safe and be well!
Remember to follow us on Twitter @SetonSt to see all the amazing happenings at St. Elizabeth Seton.
With our current health & safety restrictions, we will not be able to provide students with pancakes this year. Enjoy some pancakes at home if you can~ Lent begins with Ash Wednesday tomorrow.