“If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Welcome to the second week of school. I want to thank everyone for doing such a great job in learning to live in our new normal. I know that a great deal has changed in the day to day operations of the school but it has been amazing to see how well the students have acclimated to the new expectations. Below are some important reminders for all to follow to make sure we all stay safe and healthy at St. John!
- Virtual Curriculum Night on Wednesday has been postponed. More information to come in the following weeks.
- Supervision at school does not begin until 8:15 AM. All students in grades 1-8 are expected to enter the playground masked and proceed directly to their cohort line. Caregivers are kindly asked to leave the gate area immediately to make room for others dropping off. Caregivers are asked to wear masks while dropping off and picking up to maximize safety on the playground when social distancing could be compromised.
- At the end of the day students will be brought out by their teachers between 2:50 and 3PM. Caregivers are asked to stay at a safe distance (beside their car if they have driven) until you see you child. Teachers in grade 1-3 will dismiss students directly to caregivers when they are spotted. Students in grade 5 and up are encouraged to set up a meeting spot behind the school on Courtland to lessen the congestion in the parking lot.
- Students who wish to leave school to go home for lunch must be released to a parent and they must administer the COVID self-assessment before returning to school (please see link below). Reminder that lunches etc are not to be dropped off during the school day and students are not permitted to visit outside vendors at lunch time.
- Students brought home student information forms, physical education forms and policy sign off forms last week. Your prompt return of all forms is greatly appreciated. Please pay close attention to contact numbers as we need to have a reliable way to contact caregivers in the event a student is feeling ill at school.
- This Friday (September 25th) will be our Terry Fox Walk Day. Thank you to Mr. Keenan and his class for organizing this important event. This will be a PAID NON-UNIFORM Day. Students are encouraged to wear red and white in celebration of Terry. Toonie donations are encouraged and all proceeds will be donated to Canadian Cancer Society.
Catholic School Council Members for 2020-21:
Susan Petruccelli (Teaching Rep)
Colleen Taylor (non-teaching rep)
Our first council meeting will be held virtually on Monday, October 5th at 6:30 PM via TEAMS. I look forward to another productive year!
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 board has posted a COVID-19 Advisory Board on their 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 our school website, 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.
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 is celebrated 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.
Mental Health and Well-being:
While being back at school is amazing it would be wrong to assume that all is back to normal. The stress and anxiety of living through a pandemic weighs on all of us, including our students. It’s important for us to recognize that some of the usual ways we deal with stress do not work in our current restricted atmosphere but this doesn’t mean that we can’t try new ways to cope. A number of initiatives are in place to support even our littlest learners in protecting their mental health and well-being. Christian meditation, sharing circles, restorative justice practices, kindness journals, check in/check out systems and zones of regulation are just a few ways we help students identify their emotions, set goals, practice empathy and support self-regulation.
While at home you can support your children by validating their feelings, practicing gratitude, helping them understand that restrictions aren’t forever and helping them find healthy outlets to destress (family walk or bike ride, cooking together, playing a board game). It’s important that we recognize that we cannot solve all their problems but we can help them find solutions they can live with.
Support resources can be found here or you can reach out to the school if you are in need of more support. We are all in this together and it’s important that we do our very best to take care of each other!
Have a wonderful week! Stay safe and be well. Remember to follow us on twitter @stjburlington to see all the amazing happenings at St. John. We will be using twitter to post student prayers, liturgies and announcements so that the community can be together virtually!