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Weekly Update – September 14 – 18

I’ve always loved the first days of school better than the last. Firsts are best because they are beginnings. ~ J. Han

Administrator’s Message
Thank you to all our families for supporting us this week as we re-entered school for the first time since March. We appreciate your understanding, support, and cooperation as we adjusted to our new routines. As a team, we are confident that we will work together to ensure that students have the best educational experience possible this year while remaining safe and healthy.

We would also like to acknowledge our outstanding staff members that have worked tirelessly to prepare, organize and set-up a safe and meaningful learning environment for our students. We are truly fortunate to have such a dedicated group of individuals that put students first and demonstrate a love of learning daily. Thank you for your unwavering dedication, support, and innovation. The school may have a new look and feel to it this year, but it will always be OUR HOUSE!

Staffing Updates
We would like to welcome some new staff members to St. Gabriel. Ms. Jessica Martinac -LTO will be joining our staff as a Kindergarten Teacher. We also welcome Ms. Burrows – LTO teaching Grade 4, and Ms. Kellie Vuksani – LTO who will be our Itinerant Teacher of the Arts. Ms. Francine Kelly will be joining our Special Education Department as a 0.5 SERT. To all new staff we say, “Welcome to OUR HOUSE!”  

Remote Learning – Update
Some of our families have opted to keep their children home to participate in remote (online) learning.  Remote learners will be part of a virtual classroom, in a virtual school. Online classes are currently being finalized. Over the next couple of days, parents with students in virtual classrooms will be receiving direct communication with details about their children’s virtual classroom, including the name of the teacher, and a link to the online learning platform.  

The first day of instruction for students learning from home in our virtual classrooms will be Monday, September 14th, 2020. 

Switching Between Remote Instruction and In-Class Instruction:

Families will have the opportunity to switch between in-school instruction and remote learning at three identified points in the year:

  • After Thanksgiving
  • After Christmas
  • After March Break

The application process to switch from in-school instruction to remote learning (and vice versa) will be available as of September 21st, 2020.

School Reorganization Update
As more families choose remote online learning – virtual school, further school reorganization may need to take place during the month of September. If changes are necessary, student class placement and staffing changes may be required. In that case, families will be communicated to promptly via email this week.

Entry and Dismissal Procedures
Our new entry and dismissal procedures will come into effect this Monday, September 14th. Both plans with visuals are attached below. Please remember the following:

Morning Entry – Students in FDK – Gr. 4/5 will begin entering the school and going directly to their classrooms beginning at 8:05 am. Students will enter the building at their designated door. Gr. 5 – 8 students will go to their designated Zone beginning at 8:05 am. They will remain within their cohort Zones until classroom teachers meet them at 8:20 am to bring them in the school.

Afternoon Dismissal – Parents of FDK students can begin pickup of their children at 2:40 pm from the naturalized play area and from Door 5. Our students that are within walking distance of the school will be dismissed at 2:45 pm and will leave via Door 4 (Main Entrance) to meet their siblings in front of the school. Bus students will be dismissed at 2:50 and will be walked out onto the yard by their teachers. Those students being picked up by parents will be walked out by their teachers and will exit the school grounds via Gates 2 and 3.

Student Agendas – Updates
Families will not be charged for the cost of student agendas this year. A charge was posted in error on our School Cash Online system last week and has since been removed. Any families that paid for agendas will be reimbursed. Our apologies for any confusion.  

Essential Visitor Protocol
Currently, we are limiting the number of visitors to St. Gabriel CES. Essential visitors will be permitted only. Any individuals, aside from employees and students should call ahead for approval to enter the school. Consideration for the use of electronic alternatives and/or other non-physical means as alternatives to on-site visits will be prioritized.

Please note that parents/guardians will not be allowed to drop-off items during the day unless it is an emergency, nor will they be able to pick up their child/ren up at the Main Office unless arranged in advance. 

Lunch drop off will be suspended until further notice. Please ensure that your child/ren have their lunch and a labeled water bottle packed in the morning prior to the start of the school day. Thank you in advance.

Kindergarten Staggered Entry Schedule:
All Year 2 students will begin class on Thursday, September 10th, 2020.

Year 1 staggered entry will take place on Friday, September 11th and Monday, September 14th, 2020 as per the previous email communication that was sent last week. Families of Year 1 students will be notified as to which day they are to attend at their Kindergarten Orientation Meeting.

All Kindergarten students attending school will begin instruction on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020.

Family Information Packages
Family Information Packages, Consent Forms and Student Registration Verification Forms will continue coming home this week. Please complete/update and return them to your child’s classroom teacher by Monday, September 21st, 2020 as we require up to date information to contact you in the case of an emergency.

Daily Screening
One way to ensure the safety and well-being of all is to ensure that the virus does not enter our building in the first place. To this end, parents/guardians and staff must perform a daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms before leaving for school using the COVID-19 Self-Assessment.

Parents are able to access the Daily Screening Checklist for HCDSB students HERE.

What if my child has cold or flu-like symptoms?  

Any student or staff with signs/symptoms of COVID-19 should:   

  • Stay at home  
  • Self-isolate. NOTE: siblings and other household members must also self- isolate)  
  • Be referred for testing for COVID-19  
  • Remain excluded from school until test results are received  
  • If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, Halton Region Public Health will notify the individual and the school

If a student or staff has COVID-19 like symptoms and COVID-19 testing is not done, there are two options:   

  1. Follow up with primary health care provider to get documentation that illness is not due to COVID-19 and student/staff can return to school  
  2. If no documentation is available from health care provider, then the student or staff must self-isolate for 14 days from symptom onset date and have no fever (or elevated temperature) 

Important: If there are symptoms of any kind, please ensure that the appropriate follow up and assessment by a health care provider occurs.

What happens if your child feels unwell at school?

It is important for your son/daughter to let their teacher know if they are feeling unwell at school.

Students who show signs/symptoms of COVID-19 (including any of the following: fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, lack of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion – in absence of underlying reason for these symptoms such as seasonal allergies – chills, headaches, fatigue or malaise) during the school day will be taken to our school’s ‘Isolation Room’. Parents/guardians will be contacted, and the student/siblings will be picked up.

It is very important that we have current contact information for all our families so that we can get in touch with you quickly. Please contact our school office if there have been any recent changes to your contact information. All families must provide an Emergency Contact who is available during the day if parents/guardians are unavailable.

Medical Concerns
If your child has a medical condition, the existing Student Plan of Care will be sent home for you to review and update. If there are any changes to the Student Plan of Care, please notify Mrs. Mulligan – before school begins. If your child has an epi-pen/puffer/medication, please ensure that you provide one to the school on or before the first day of school.

Lunch Hour
For the health and safety of our students and school community, students are expected to remain at school for the full duration of their lunch periods. Students will not be permitted to leave school property during the lunch hour unless the school has been notified in advance and they are accompanied by a designated caregiver.

Important: As we limit visitors to our school throughout the day, lunch drop-offs will not be permitted during the school day.

Due to enhanced safety protocols, there will be no lunch or milk programs running until further notice. Parents/guardians are asked to provide their child/ren with lunch in the morning before students enter the school building.

Lunch Time Supervisor Position
Our school requires additional lunch time supervisors. This is a paid position that involves supervising our students, inside and outside, from 11:25 am to 12:25 pm daily. If you or someone you know is interested in a part-time employment opportunity, please contact the Main Office as soon as possible.

Catholic School Council Update
If you interested in joining our Catholic School Council please complete and return the CSC nomination form sent home with your child/ren. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, September 18th, 2020 at 9:00am. Please note that no further nominations will be considered after this date and time.Should a vote be necessary, the community will be invited to do so via electronic ballot the week of September 21st, 2020.

Our Catholic School Council plays an active role at St. Gabriel CES by determining school priorities and budgeting. We meet approximately one evening per month and it is important to know that we need committed members able to attend meetings. At this time, meetings will be held virtually through an online platform.

School Cash Online
To maintain our safety protocols, we are no longer accepting cash payments. Please be sure to sign up or update your Cash Online account to be ready for any school activities or fundraisers. You can access the Cash Online system from our school’s website.

No Pets on School Property
For the safety of all students, pets are not permitted on school grounds. If you are walking your pet, please plan to drop off and meet your child/ren at the end of the day on our city sidewalks.

This also includes allowing pets in our fenced off play area before and after school.  Please be respectful that students do use this area and for health and safety concerns it should not be used as a leash-free area.

Attendance Matters
St. Gabriel CES is dedicated to helping your son/daughter develop the spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social, and physical capabilities to live fully and to meet the future challenges of adult roles and responsibilities. The school can best contribute to your child’s education and development when you form a partnership with them.

As parents/guardians you have many responsibilities towards your child. One responsibility is to ensure that your child is in school every day, ready to learn. In fact, it is the law. The Provincial Education Act states that every child between the ages of 6 and 18 years is required to attend school every day from the first school day in September until the last school day in June.

Concussion Protocol
Recent research shows that a concussion can have very serious implications on a child`s cognitive and physical abilities. Parents and guardians are reminded that a comprehensive protocol, based on current research and best practices, has been developed to help parents, students, and staff prevent, recognize, and respond to a concussion. More information, including a Parent Fact Sheet, can be found on the Board`s website at: Fact Sheet for Parents.pdf

Promoting Well-Being – Back to School During COVID-19 – Tips for Parents and Caregivers

  • Leave earlier than usual. Whether you are driving, or simply dropping off your kids at the bus stop, this will give you more flex time
  • Establish a good-bye ritual. When it’s time to say goodbye to your child, give them a final hug, kiss, say goodbye, and talk about when you’ll see them next. Don’t just say “Goodbye!” but bridge the separation by talking about when you will see them next
  • Have you dropped off your child? Try to take some time just for yourself, whether it’s going for a walk, to the coffee shop, having tea with a friend, or just going home to nap. Breathe a sigh of relief and savor this time
  • Check in with your children about how the day went. If your child isn’t ready to talk, then ask them later when they are ready. You might ask: “How did your day go?” “How did it go with wearing your mask and keeping away from people and all that?” “What was hard, what was easy?”
  • If they are sad, validate the sadness: “I can see you are feeling sad and it’s ok to cry. I’m going to miss you too.” Offer comfort like a hug or offering a tissue. Crying is good because it helps the brain.

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Full Entry – Grades 1-8
Sep 14 all day
Half of Year 1 FDK Students Attend
Sep 14 all day
Virtual Learning Begins – Grades 1-8
Sep 14 all day
Full Entry – FDK (Year 1 and 2) to Grade 8
Sep 15 all day
Virtual Learning Begins – FDK
Sep 15 all day
Catholic School Council Nominations Due
Sep 18 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Autumn Equinox
Sep 22 all day
Feast Day of St. Gabriel
Sep 29 all day
Orange Shirt Day
Sep 30 all day
St. Gabriel CES Virtual Curriculum Night – TENTATIVE
Oct 1 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
St. Gabriel Catholic School Council – Meeting #1 via Microsoft Teams
Oct 8 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Thanksgiving Day – No School
Oct 12 all day

Elementary PrincipalWeekly Update – September 14 – 18