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Weekly Update – October 19-23

“Believing talents can be developed allows people to fulfill their potential.” ~ Carol Doweck

Welcome Back and See you Soon!
Welcome back to our students who are returning from the Virtual School setting this week ~ we are excited to see you in person! Please know we will greatly miss our students who are transitioning from the conventional learning model to remote virtual school setting ~ all of you are a very special part of Our House!

Public Health Protocols
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is a community effort. By working together to follow Public Health measures, we can ensure a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for all. Sincere thanks to the St. Peter CES community for the support and trust that you place in us each day. Special thanks for respecting physical distancing, not using the school parking lot, avoiding congregations, and modelling physical distancing when waiting to pick up your children. Your partnership is appreciated and valued!

As you know, the Halton Region Public Health Department is working closely with our Board and school to implement provincial standards for reopening schools safely during COVID-19. Public Health provides up-to-date guidance and support on the safe reopening and operation of schools to protect students, families, school staff and visitors to schools during the pandemic.

To learn more and review the most up-to-date protocols, please visit:

Daily Screening & Symptoms Protocol
Parents/guardians are reminded to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in your children and to complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool for Schools each morning before sending your children to school.

What to Do If Your Child Has COVID-19 Like Symptoms
When a child is sick with new or worsening COVID-19 like symptoms, parents/guardians must follow one of the following three options:

Have your child tested for COVID-19 and keep them home to self-isolate until the test results are revealed – test results will indicate the next steps.


If your child has an alternative diagnosis provided by a health care provider, they may return to school once it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms have started improving.


Keep your child home to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. They may return to school after the 14-day period once it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms have started improving.

The updated screening tool offers a more comprehensive checklist of the type and number of symptoms needed for a child to stay home for a period of time and seek medical advice.

Please note that the COVID-19 School Screening Tool is not to be used as a clinical assessment or intended to take the place of medical advice; a diagnosis or treatment.

The online COVID-19 Screening Tool will be updated soon to include these new revisions.

In the meantime, you are asked to keep screening your children for COVID-19 each day using the updated guidelines in the link below:

October 1st Update – COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children

Safe Arrival Student Absence Reporting
The safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority. Please use the automated student attendance management system SafeArrival to report your child’s absence.

The SafeArrival system is available 24/7, allowing you to report your child’s absence in one of three ways:

  1. using the SchoolMessenger® mobile app
  2. by logging into the SchoolMessenger® web site
  3. by calling into an interactive toll-free phone line

SafeArrival enhances our existing student attendance procedure, making it more convenient for parents to report a child’s absence, and more efficient for our school office staff to follow up sooner on unexplained absences.

Halloween Boogie-a-thon Update
The following email was sent to all families last week:
In consultation with our St. Gabriel Catholic School Council, we will be keeping with our traditional fundraiser, the Halloween Boogie-a-thon! Although the parameters and procedures around this fun experience will look much different this year, both School Council and Administration feel the Boogie-a-thon is an event that students, staff, and parents look forward to each year! The Boogie-a-thon will be held on Friday, October 30th, 2020 with some changes:

  • Students will be dancing with their class cohort either in their classroom, or outside if the weather/temperature permits
  • If indoors, students will dance in their classrooms wearing cloth masks. If outdoors, students are permitted to dance without their masks while maintaining proper physical distancing within their designated Zones
  • Students will be permitted to wear costumes for Halloween this year – please see the section on “Costume Considerations for a Catholic School”
  • Traditionally, the Boogie-a-thon has been our major fundraiser for the school year. Although we are looking to raise funds for the school, it will be considered a minor school fundraiser for the 2020-2021 school year
  • We will not be using the customary pledge sheets this year for the Boogie-a-thon as students cannot be expected to go door-to-door for donations, and we want to reduce the use of paper and subsequent contact points between home and school
  • Our staff will be taking photos and video of the day’s events and posting them on both our St. Gabriel Twitter and Instagram pages

Contributions for the Boogie-a-thon will be accepted through our HCDSB Donation System ONLY this year. Families will have the ability to donate in an amount of their own choosing and are reminded they will receive an income tax receipt for any donation over $25.00. Please keep this in mind when considering a donation. The link below can be shared with friends and family.    

Donating is easy!

  2. Enter your donation amount
  3. Under “Fund Destination” please ensure you select St. Gabriel
  4. Under “Tribute Information” please select “In honour of”
  5. Under “Honoree Name” indicate Student Name – Halloween Boogie-a-thon
  6. A tax receipt will be emailed directly to you.

The deadline for donations is Monday, November 2nd, 2020.

Costume Considerations for a Catholic School:
All students are encouraged to wear costumes. Students may decide not to wear a costume but may choose to wear black and orange as an alternative.                                                                                                    

Costumes must not:

  • Impair vision or breathing – therefore no masks
  • Present a trip hazard to the wearer or the bystander
  • Be too revealing or suggestive
  • Include weapons or replica weapons
  • Contain blood, guts, or gore of any kind
  • Be inflatable

    Costumes must:
  • Allow the student easy, independent access to the washroom. This is especially important for students from K to grade 2.
  • Allow the student to wear sufficiently warm clothing over or under the costume as weather/temperature dictates for the outdoors

The following are suggested questions to reflect on when choosing a costume to avoid being disrespectful or offensive:

Is my costume making fun of a group of people, their culture or religion?

Does my costume reinforce jokes and stereotypes about certain groups, cultures, or religions?

Am I altering my skin color, facial/body features to make it darker or like a particular race, ethnicity, or cultural group?

Am I dressing up as a culture or borrowing from a religion that is not my own or is not part of my background?

Do I understand and respect the history or tradition of the culture that I am borrowing my costume from?

Despite the restrictions we are under due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to a fun and engaging Halloween Boogie-a-thon event. The monies raised will be put towards the purchase of more technology for our students. As always, we thank our families for their continued support during these unique times.

Minds Up – Update
This week the primary students will be continuing to learn about their brains and how it controls their feelings and actions. They will be learning strategies to calm to the amygdala.  Deep breathing teaches the students to focus their attention and relax for a minute, a few times throughout the busy school day.  You can encourage your  child to use deep breathing at home when they transition home from school and before they start their homework.  When our brain is calm, we are able to make good choices! 

Virtual Curriculum Night – Save the Date!
We thank our families for their patience and understanding after postponing Curriculum Night. We have established Thursday, October 29th at 6:00 pm as the date and time for our Virtual Curriculum Night. More information on the content and details of this evening will be shared in the next two weeks.

First Communion – Students in Grade 3 – Save the Date!
Parents of students in Grade 3 that were to complete their Sacrament of First Eucharist last year are reminded to save the date of Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:30 pm. Our Grade 3’s will be making the Sacrament of First Holy Communion on that date. Further information from the parish to follow.

Due to COVID 19 restrictions to interior capacity, St. Gabriel Parish can only allow 4 people per family, including the student receiving their First Holy Communion. 

Please note that present Grade 2 students will have their sacraments in the new year of 2021. Dates TBD. 

We look forward to our Grade 3 students continuing their preparation of the Sacraments and being witnesses to their faith journey. 

Virtual Bus Safety Presentations
During the week of October 19-23, teachers from K-Grade 8 will be sharing bus safety presentations with all students provided by Halton Transportation. In normal times, the presentations would take place at school however, the bus company has provided age-appropriate digital presentations for our students. An annual review of bus rules and protocols is a continued best practice at St. Gabriel CES.   

Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, and Announcements
Beginning at the end of this week, Opening Exercises will be held virtually on Fridays. Students from Grade 3-8 will be leading Prayers, O Canada, and Announcements using Microsoft Teams. The entire school will be able to listen and participate in Opening Exercises from respective classrooms.  

Notre Dame Grade 8 Information Night
Parents of students in Grade 8 interested in attending Notre Dame CSS for the 2021-2022 school year are asked to view the flyer below for important information:

Equity & Inclusivity Education: Halloween Costume Selection
Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun with costumes. There are endless possibilities for what children (and adults) can be for Halloween. A shark, a wizard, a clown, a crime-fighting cartoon puppy, a banana, a giant hot dog, a Minecraft character, even a velociraptor!  However, another person’s culture should never be our costume.

St. Gabriel CES is a place where students not only learn about diversity but also experience it. We strive to ensure that our students see themselves and their classmates reflected in their studies. Our students and families should expect their interactions within our school community to leave them feeling accepted for who they are.

As you select a Halloween costume, we encourage everyone to reflect critically, be mindful of cultural appropriation and create welcoming school environments for all. For more information, please visit the following link:

Halloween Treats
A reminder that we encourage our students to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, however we cannot accept any food or candy items at school. Thank you for your understanding.

Student Corner – National Days

The National Days for this week are…

October 18th: International Legging Day and National Chocolate Cupcake Day

October 19th: National Seafood Bisque Day

October 20th: National Youth Confidence Day

October 21st: National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day and National Reptile Awareness Day

October 22nd: National Make a Dogs Day

October 23rd: National Boston Cream Pie Day, National TV Talk Show Host Da and National iPod Day (it was introduced 19 years ago today!)

October 24th: National Food Day, National Bologna Day, National Make a Difference Day, and United Nations Day

Have an amazing week everyone!

St. Gabriel Tips
Did you know that a growth mindset can dramatically improve a child’s academic performance and motivation to learn? Our intelligence isn’t fixed, it can change. It can get stronger or weaker depending on how much effort we are willing to apply. One way to encourage a growth mindset is to tell your own stories about achievements that resulted from hard work. Make sure to always praise the process and not just the results. Try using some of these phrases: (a) I see that you have been trying so hard at…; (b) I like the way that you….; (c) I see that you are trying again, great thinking; and (d) the steps you took must have really helped you…

Promoting Well-Being: Practice Healthy Thinking
Good mental health does not mean that we only ever have happy thoughts. Sad or upsetting things are part of life. Problems are also part of life. Good mental health means looking at the situation for what it really is.

Watch for thinking traps:
The way we think about something has a big effect on the way we feel. If we feel like we can handle a problem, we often feel good. If we do not think that we can handle a problem, we often feel bad. Sometimes, we think that something is bad, even when it is not true. These thoughts are sometimes called “thinking traps.” They are traps because they are easy to fall into and can get us stuck and feeling bad.

Here are some common thinking traps:

Thinking that bad things always happen to you. “I wanted to go to the beach, but now it is raining. This always happens to me! Now my day is ruined!”

  • Thinking that something can only be all good or all bad. “I did not do as well as I wanted on that last test. I am not smart enough for this course.”
  • Focusing only on the negative part of a situation. “My team won, but I cannot believe I missed that shot. I must be very bad at soccer. Maybe I should stop playing.”
  • Jumping to conclusions before you know what really happened. “My friend did not call me back. She must not like me very much.”

You can challenge your thinking trap by looking at the facts. The next time you notice yourself falling into a thinking trap, ask yourself questions to find the facts. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is there any proof to back up this thought?
  • Have I thought about all sides of the situation? Is there anything I missed?
  • Have I been in this position before? What happened then?
  • If my friend was in the same situation, what would I say?

Once you have looked at the facts, you can replace the thinking trap thought with a more balanced thought.

General Information
We will continue to share information and updates with parents directly through email. Updates will also be posted on the Return to School Plan website and through the Board’s social media channels:  

You can also review our FAQs online for more information about the return to school.

Social Media

Follow us on Instagram st.gabrielhcdsb

Follow us on Twitter @stgabrielhcdsb

Virtual School Bus Safety Presentations
Oct 19 – Oct 23 all day
Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, Announcements
Oct 23 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 24 all day
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 25 all day
Virtual Curriculum Night
Oct 29 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Halloween Boogie-a-thon
Oct 30 all day
Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, Announcements
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Oct 31 all day
Oct 31 all day
All Saints Day
Nov 1 all day
Grade 3 First Communion – Inscription Promise Weekends
Nov 1 all day
All Souls Day
Nov 2 all day
Grade 8 Parent Information Night – Notre Dame CSS
Nov 4 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Virtual Prayers, Opening Exercises, Announcements
Nov 6 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Remembrance Day Liturgy and Ceremony
Nov 11 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am

Tilley, ChristopherWeekly Update – October 19-23