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Weekly Update Sept 7-11

Message From Bishop Crosby

Please click on the following link to hear a back to school message from Bishop Crosby HERE

Gradual Return to School for Elementary Students 

As you know, the first day of instruction for students (originally planned for Tuesday, September 8, 2020) has been delayed until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. We will transition into the new school year by bringing Grade 1-8 students back to school in smaller groups on September 9, 10 and 11th.   All Grade 1-8 students will be in school beginning Monday, September 14th. Remote learning will also begin for students learning from home on Monday, September 14th.   A gradual return to school for our elementary students will help alleviate some of the anxiety in students by providing a calm environment to help students learn the new health and safety routines at school and practice our entry and dismissal procedures in smaller groups.  

NOTE: Students registered for remote instruction will not be attending our school in-person on the gradual return days that have been scheduled between September 9 -11, 2020. These days are set aside for students who will be returning for in-class instruction, to review the health and safety protocols that will be in place in our school.  

The first day of instruction for students learning from home will be Monday, September 14, 2020. 

The following schedule will apply to Grade 1-8 students:  

Date Schedule 
Wednesday, September 9th Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters A-F will come to school 
Thursday, September 10th Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters G- N will come to school 
Friday, September 11th Only students in Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters O-Z will come to school 
Monday, September 14th ALL students in Grades 1-8 attending in-class instruction will come to school. Remote learning will begin for students learning from home. 


The following details must be noted, and procedures followed on the first day of school for your Gr. 1-8 child (either September 9th, 10th or 11th).  Please remember that parents who do not model and follow the rules lead to children who don’t follow the rules – and this year, more than ever, we need EVERYONE’S COOPERATION

  • Staff will be in the yard assisting with getting students to their correct locations
  • Only one parent will be permitted to enter onto our main school yard to assist their child in finding their teacher on your specific day one only
  • Teachers will be holding up a sign with their name on it
  • Once your child has found their teacher the parent who entered the main yard area with their child must leave this area immediately
  • Parents are reminded to MODEL and encourage social distancing expectations
  • Parents are asked not to congregate
  • Parents are asked to leave the school property immediately after their child has found their teacher and line up area
  • Once the teacher has all his/her alphabetical group for that first staggered day they will lead the class into the school and immediately conduct hand hygiene upon enter the classroom

We know that this will not look like a NORMAL first day of school that many of you are used to.  The best thing that you can do to prepare your child for this “different” looking first day is to tell them that once the one parent has them to their teacher that they will be immediately leaving as instructed by the Principal.  We want to make sure that we can keep all students, staff AND parents healthy.  After this first staggered entry day, parents are NOT permitted on the main school yard.  When students arrive prior to our 8:45 bell, they will immediately be heading to their line up areas and lining up socially distanced with the peers from their class/cohort.  There will be no free walking or play in the main yard prior to school.  These procedures will be reviewed with students on their first school day.  We very much need the cooperation.


As we prepare to welcome students back to school next week, we wanted to review the drop-off and pick-up protocols that will be in place to help minimize contacts and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school community.

  • Only one parent or guardian will be permitted on school property to drop off and pick up children
  • Parents and guardians will remain outside and will not be permitted to enter the school (unless there is an extenuating need, and prior approval has been obtained as per the Visitor Protocol)
  • We have established designated entry and exit doors for your child’s class (cohort)
  • Your child’s Kindergarten teacher or your child’s teacher will inform you and/or your child(ren) about specific pick up and drop off locations
  • Students will line up to enter our school, and we will be implementing a staggered entry into school to limit the number of students in our hallways at one time.  This will mean that entries and exits by the children will take longer
  • Kindergarten students will enter the school immediately upon arrival in the morning
  • Parents and caregivers are asked to leave the school property as soon as they drop off their child(ren). No gathering or congregating will be allowed on school property

Thank you for your understanding and assistance as we work together to protect our students, families and staff so that we can ensure a safe and healthy return to school for all.


A reminder that our warning bell rings daily at 8:40 am with a final bell at 8:45 am.  There will NOT be teacher supervisors on the yard prior to 8:30 am and so no student should be on property prior to this time.  Once again, as mentioned above, when students arrive on property after 8:30 am daily they must immediately go to their line up area and line up socially distanced from those within their class/cohort.


To help our youngest students make a smooth entry into SJOA, we have a staggered entry for Kindergarten:

  • Year 1 and 2 orientation will take place on Tuesday, September 8th, and Wednesday, September 9th.
  • Year 2 students will begin on Thursday, September 10th.
  • Year 1 staggered entry will take place on Friday, September 11th, and Monday, September 14th.
  • All Kindergarten students in school beginning Tuesday, September 15th.
  • Orientation interviews will be set up by the Kindergarten educators either virtually or in-person (outside in the Kindergarten Yard) for all students, regardless if you have opted for the online learning. 
  • Parents of students entering their first year of Kindergarten (Junior Kindergarten) and students in their second year of Kindergarten (Senior Kindergarten) will have a short interview with the classroom educators on Sept. 8 or Sept. 9. 
  • Thursday, Sept. 10th is the first day of school for all returning second-year students (Senior Kindergarten).
  • All first-year Kindergarten students (Junior Kindergarten) will have a staggered entry which will begin on Friday, September 11th.  Your entry date will be given to you during your scheduled interview. 
  • All Kindergarten students will be in school for a full day on Tuesday, September 15th.


Lockers will not be available for use by students this year.  Students are encouraged to bring MINIMAL items with them to school daily to reduce the clutter in the classrooms.  Less clutter means more space to distance our students apart from one another.  Backpacks will be kept on the backs of student chairs.  Even though we are encouraging minimal items at school, there may be some items that you may want to ensure that your child has (as items cannot be shared from one child to the next).  Your classroom teacher can provide you with some suggestions during the first week of school. The attached Tip Sheet outlines suggestions on – What to bring and what not to bring to school.  SJOA Tip Sheet


Our library will not be available for students in a conventional format this year.  Staff will be able to safely access resources for their classrooms from this space and our library technician, Mrs. Chong Tai , will be exploring options that will enable us to bring the library to the students!  The gym will not be in use until further notice.  All physical education lessons will be conducted outside while students remain in their same classroom cohorts.  We are busy working through procedures for safe gymnasium use for when the weather starts to turn more wet and cold.  In the meantime, outdoor physical education time will be a great opportunity for both physical exercise and a mask break. 

Lunch Time Routines

Our lunch hour for grades 1-8 will remain same this year from 11:40-12:40 daily.  The students will receive roughly half of this time outside playing in their cohorted yard zones and the other half of this time will be spent inside of their classrooms eating their lunch with students only from their class/cohort.  While half of our school will be inside eating, the other half will be outside playing.  In this way, we are reducing the number of students on the yard during out lunch recess outdoor break time. 

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

Parents and guardians are asked to provide their child(ren) with lunch in the morning before students enter the school building.  

Considerations for Lunch Prep: 

  • Lunches should be prepared as individual meals and snacks.  
  • Sharing food items will not be permitted. 
  • Reusable water bottles are encouraged. 

Allergies and Anaphylaxis

As we begin our new school year, we remind all members of our community that we strive to minimize allergens that pose life-threatening symptoms for students. Keeping our students safe is paramount and we ask that parents carefully pack their children’s lunches.  We have several students in our school who live with severe life-threatening allergies to peanuts, nuts, seafood and other foods (anaphylaxis). All snack and food items should be nut free, as well as any particular items that are identified by the classroom teachers (i.e. sesame seeds). Likewise, we ask that that no substitute nut spreads (peabutter, wow butter, etc.) be sent to school as they smell and look exactly like peanut butter. Please continue to choose items carefully when sending lunches and snacks (from home and restaurants) to school, keeping in mind specific allergies in your child’s classroom. Please be extra vigilant to avoid sending treats from home for the class.  Thank you for your continued cooperation in ensuring the safety of all students.  For the health and safety of our students and school community, it is strongly recommended that all elementary students remain at school for the full duration of their lunch periods. 

Water Bottles 

Students and staff will be able to bring reusable water bottles and refill them at designated refill stations in our school. For the health and safety of our students and school community, the use of water fountains for drinking will not be permitted.  

Water Fountains and Reusable Water Bottles: 

  • Each student is required to bring their own drinking bottle to school that is labeled, kept with them during the day, and not shared with other students.  
  • All water fountains will be wrapped and/or made inoperable.  
  • Although bottle filling stations will be in use, students and staff are not advised to touch any filling station apparatus.  

Mandatory School Uniforms

St. Joan of Arc is a full uniform school.  All students must be in full uniform as purchased from our uniform provider InSchoolWear.  Please visit their website for information or for booking your shopping appointment:

Parents and Visitors in the School

This school year, in an effort to minimize contacts and help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, we are limiting visitor access to our school.   All visitors, including parents and HCDSB staff who are not assigned to our school, will require approval and pre-screening before entering our building. Only visits that are deemed absolutely essential will be approved – e.g. visits by the Fire Marshal’s office or by public health. Where possible, meetings or visits will be conducted virtually.  Visitors who are granted approval will be required to complete an online screening form prior to arriving at our school. Once inside, all visitors will be required to wear masks.   We appreciate your patience and understanding as we do all we can to ensure a safe and healthy return to school for all.   Please understand that you may be refused entry into the school.  We encourage you to call the school AND to leave a voicemail if no one answers the phone right away.  The voicemail is checked throughout the day.  This is the best way to get information to our office staff and/or your child’s teacher.  Teachers will be providing you with their email addresses early in the school year and this too is an effective form of communication between parents and staff. 

Daily Self Screening 

Parents and guardians must perform daily screening of their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms BEFORE leaving for school using the COVID-19 Self-Assessment. 

  • Check your child’s temperature to ensure they do not have a fever (temperature greater than 37.8oC) 
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms (including atypical symptoms) of COVID-19 
  • If any signs or symptoms, student and other household members must stay home, and school must be contacted. 

Please note that if a student or staff member shows signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or has come into close contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, they cannot come to school. They must self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19.  ​ 

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

Use of Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)​ 

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the measures we will have in place in our schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

PPE is protective clothing or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. PPE can include gloves, masks, face shields, gowns, safety shoes etc.  

Wearing of Masks at School 

  • Medical masks will be worn by all teachers and other school staff.   
  • All HCDSB students (K- 12) are required to wear non-medical masks/ face coverings at school. Reasonable exceptions to this requirement will be put in place (see below Exemptions for Mask Wearing).  

Exemptions for Wearing Masks  

Reasonable exceptions to mask wearing will be considered. 

An exemption may be requested for a student in Grades K-12 for the following reasons: 

  • A pre-existing medical condition. 
  • A diagnosis or learning profile that would limit a student’s ability to tolerate or safely wear a mask, including whereby a mask would affect essential communication for a person who is hearing impaired. 
  • Other, as detailed by a healthcare practitioner. 

If any of the above conditions apply to your son or daughter, please contact our School Office.  

What happens if your child feels unwell at school? 

It is important for your son or daughter to let their teacher know if they are feeling unwell at school.  Students who show signs/symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day will be taken to our school’s ‘isolation room’ and we will contact the parent or guardian to come and pick them up. It is very important that we have current contact information for all of 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. You could call our main office number or email our Secretary, Mrs. Freeze, at

School Messenger App

Downloading and using the School Messenger App is the FASTEST and EASIEST way to report your child’s absence to the school.  If you have not downloaded this app already, we ask that all parents please do this before the start of this school year.  The instructions can be found by clicking on the following link

Upcoming Events:

Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters A-F 
Sep 9 all day
Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters G- N 
Sep 10 all day
Grades 1-8 with surnames beginning with the letters O-Z 
Sep 11 all day
ALL students in Grades 1-8 attending in-class instruction will come to school. Remote learning will begin for students learning from home.
Sep 14 all day
All Kindergarten students in school Tuesday, September 15th.
Sep 15 all day
Orange Shirt Day
Sep 30 all day
Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion — Gr. 2 @ St. Matthew Parish
Oct 7 @ 6:30 pm
Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion — Gr. 2 @ St. Matthew Parish
Oct 8 @ 6:30 pm
Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion — Gr. 2 @ St. Matthew Parish
Oct 9 @ 6:30 pm
Confirmation Information Meeting
Oct 14 @ 6:30 pm
Confirmation Information Meeting
Oct 15 @ 6:30 pm
Confirmation Information Meeting
Oct 16 @ 6:30 pm
Celebration of Confirmation @ St. Matthew Parish
Jan 27 @ 7:00 pm
Celebration of Confirmation @ St. Matthew Parish
Jan 28 @ 7:00 pm
Celebration of Confirmation @ St. Matthew Parish
Jan 29 @ 7:00 pm

Elementary PrincipalWeekly Update Sept 7-11