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Welcome back weekly update: September 7th

“The love of Christ, welcomed with an open heart, changes us, transforms us, and makes us able to love.”

 Pope Francis

Welcome back to a new school year for all our friends returning and welcome to the St. John community for all those who are joining us this year for the first time! Although things are looking a little different, I assure you we cannot wait to see the smiling eyes of all our students!

I’d like to take this opportunity to extend congratulations to Mrs. Carubba who retired over the summer. May your days be filled with blessings as you embark on this new journey. I’d like to welcome Mrs. Zinkann to our kindergarten team and Ms. Khader to our junior division. We welcome Mrs. Gayne and Ms. Drotar to our educational assistant team. It’s going to be an awesome year!

A huge thank you to all the staff who have been working hard getting ready for this upcoming year. There has been lots to do and I am happy to say we are going to be ready on Wednesday when our first group visits.

Thank you to our planning re-entry committee, comprised of staff and members of our Catholic School Council, who have been working hard to make sure that the transition back to school will be the safest one possible. Your contributions are invaluable!

Lastly, thank you to all of our St. John families for your patience and understanding! We know that these are extraordinary times that call for flexibility and resiliency and you have shown that in spades!

Important Reminders:

The First day of instruction for students in Gr. 1-8, is a gradual return to school and will be based on Alphabetical Order, as indicated in the following chart. Please note, this gradual return to school 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.  

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. 

On your child’s first day we will have all classroom teachers standing in a designated place outside with a sign. We would ask that your child make their way independently (without a parent) to their teacher once they have entered the school playground. Please be reassured we will have additional staff to assist your child in finding their teacher/location.

I know this is going to be hard but I kindly ask that parents do not congregate at the gate. We need to maintain proper social distancing at all times and this is not possible if parents are staying. I will be at the gate to greet your child and assist them in finding their class.

Our KDG students will also have a staggered start.  All Year 2 (SK), both new and returning, will start school on Thursday September 10th and will continue to come to school everyday thereafter. Our Year 1 (JK) students, have had some changes to the staggered entry dates. Our Educator Teams will be phoning or emailing you directly with an invitation for a Virtual Meeting.  Please note, if your child’s original staggered entry date was scheduled for Thursday September 10th, your child will now attend on Monday September 14th and every day after that.  If your original staggered entry date was Friday September 11th, this will remain the same; however, they will not attend school again until Tuesday September 15th.

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

Wearing of Masks at School 

Medical masks will be worn by all 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). 

Students will have ‘Mask Breaks’ during outdoor time and lunch. Students will wash their hands before removing their mask for outdoors and will leave them in an appropriate container on their desk (we will provide paperbags). Upon reentry to the class students will be asked to sanitize hands and immediate place their mask back on. We would ask that parents take some time to review and practice this routine with your child to make sure they are comfortable with it.

Use of Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings in Schools – Tip Sheet  

Exemptions for Wearing Masks  

Reasonable exceptions to mask wearing will be considered. 

An exemption may be requested for a student in Grades K-8 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.  

School Bells:

Our recess bell times have been changed to allow for smaller groupings outside. Cohorts (your child’s class) will be assigned play zones outside. These will change daily so students have a variety of activities to do. Cohorts will not be permitted to play together. All classes will have a variety of nerf balls they can use at recess. These will be disinfected between recesses.

Morning Recess:

9:55-10:10 am Gr. 4/5-8

10:15-10:30 Gr.1-4/5

Lunch Recess will take place from 11:30-12:30  

Gr. 4/5-8, will eat from 11:30 to 12:00 and then go outside for from 12:00-12:30

Gr.1-4 will go outside from 11:30-12:00 and then come inside to eat lunch from 12:00-12:30.

Afternoon Recess:

1:50-2:05pm Gr. 1-4

2:10-2:25pm Gr. 4/5-8

*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. No students will be permitted to leave for lunch unless they are accompanied by a parent. Parents must preform the COVID 19 student assessment before dropping off their child at the end of lunch.

Visitors are not permitted to enter the school unless they have been previously cleared by administration and deemed essential to the day. This means 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. Water refilling stations are open for student use but water fountains are not.

Thank you for your understanding as we limit the number of visits and contacts to our school community to protect the health and safety of our students and staff. 

Emergency lunches and grab and go snacks are available thanks to the generosity of Halton Food For Thought.

Drop-off and Pick-up 

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). 

Morning Yard Supervision begins at 8:15 am. For the safety of your children we request that your child NOT be on school property until a supervisor is on duty. Children arriving late for school must first report to the office using the doors located at the main office area. All students should be in their line with their class at 8:25 am as our day begins at 8:35am.Students will have a designated place to line up upon arrival. We would ask that once your child arrives on school property in the morning that they go directly to their “line up” area. Students will not be permitted to play through out the yard. Please note that the YMCA before school care has use of the play area until 8:15 and are not considered supervisors to other students. All Teachers will be outside the first week of school to meet your child and bring them into the building. We will be implementing an entry plan to limit the number of students in our hallways at one time.  

Kindergarten students will enter the school immediately upon arrival in the morning by way of the gate at the natural playground. Educators will be there to greet your child. 

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.  

At the end of the day teachers will walk their students out to their designated spot on the playground. Students in grade 1-3 must be dismissed to a parent or guardian (only one is permitted). Please either wait beside your vehicle or appropriately distanced at the fence for your child to be sent to you. We are asking parents picking up students in grade 5 and up to designate a meeting spot on Courtland Drive (directly behind our field). This will ease congestion and bottlenecking at the main gate area and provide for a safer exit.

The YMCA has use of the school for after school care and we kindly ask that all families exit the school grounds immediately after school is dismissed. Hopefully we will be back to regular play schedules by next September!

School Parking Lot

Please be advised, that the main entrance is for bus pick up and drop off only

We will be using a kiss and ride system this year for morning drop off. If your child is old enough to enter and exit a car independently, you may pull up to the sidewalk, past the natural playground and your child can exit your car on the passenger side. They will be escorted to the gate by a staff member. Should you need to escort your child you are asked to park, walk your child through the parking lot to the main gate. You are to immediately return to your car.

During “pick up and drop off” for arrival and dismissal, we ask all parents/caregivers to be mindful of our students’ safety and to remain behind the gate and do not enter the playground area. We kindly request that parents not bring pets on to school property, either before or after school. Please note that this is a Board Direction. Thank you for your attention & cooperation with this matter!

Please consider walking your child if possible, the first few weeks of school are typically very busy in all school parking lots. We would ask for you patience and understanding during this exciting time for your child!

Students are permitted to bike to school and lock their bikes in the bike rack area. We kindly ask that scooters and skateboards stay home at this time to ease tripping hazards in the classrooms.

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.  

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.  

Safe and Caring School

School staff will review the school routines and expectations with your child. Please know that these expectations are to help keep everyone safe and learning at St. John.The Code of Conduct is in the front of the student agenda for gr. 1-8. We would ask you to review and discuss this with your child(ren). Virtual Code of Conduct assemblies will take place the first full week of school.

School Communication

Each Sunday a Weekly Update will be posted to our website and emailed to parents. The website will be updated frequently, including the Announcements page, where we will share good news stories. The calendar on the website can be subscribed to, so notifications can be received as dates are added.

Visitor Protocol 

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 book an appointment and 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.  

Catholic School Council Nominations

Role of Catholic School Council:  Ontario Regulation 612 states that every school must hold elections for the School Council within the first 30 days of each school year. The term of office is one year.  We want to encourage every parent to consider volunteering to sit on the Catholic School Council this year.  The school needs active and interested parents to maintain the quality of the school community we enjoy and to address the challenges the community will face in the future.  Nomination forms are available via email. Please contact me at to obtain one.

If Elections are required, then the names of candidates and a one-page information biography sheet, if available, will be posted on the School Community Bulletin Board located in the front entrance of the school.  This year, elections for our 2019/2020 Catholic School Council will take place in September according to the following timelines:

Nomination Forms Due:   Monday, September 14th  

Profiles Due (if required): Tuesday, September 15th

Council Elections (if needed): Thursday, September 24th

First Council Meeting:  Monday, October 5th at 6:30 pm

Meetings will be held “virtually” (using Teams). Dates & times will be posted on our school web page. 

Medical Perils

Please ensure you have returned the necessary medication & forms for any medical perils (anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes, etc.) to the office along with any updated information for our files. We are aware that Allerject is now available in Canada, and if this your choice of auto injectors please indicate this on the Student Plan of Care.

Please be aware that St.John strives to be a nut free environment. We have students with life threatening allergies to nuts and other allergens. No peanut butter or other nut products are allowed. Please check labels before sending items in school lunches and for snacks. Even a trace of nut oil from one child’s fingers to a desk surface can cause a deadly reaction. Please note that Wow Butter (soy product) is not allowed as we cannot distinguish between it and peanut butter. Your support and attention to this matter is greatly appreciated as we have many students with life threatening allergies.  

Student Accident Insurance

The Halton Catholic District School Board does not provide accident insurance coverage for student injuries that occur on school premises or during school activities. Since accidents can happen, and some injuries result in medical, dental or other expenses that are not covered by provincial health care or employer group plans, as a parent, you may wish to consider purchasing student accident insurance.  

Student accident insurance can provide you with financial peace of mind against the possible expenses that can be incurred if a child is injured at school.  

The Board makes available an Accident and Life Insurance Program for students exclusively through Old Republic/Reliable Life Insurance Company. Participation is voluntary, and the costs for the program are paid by the parent or guardian. The program offers a variety of plans and benefits, which can be tailored to suit your needs. The coverage provided by the policy is comprehensive and reasonably priced ($17.00 to $33.00 per year, depending on the plan chosen).   

The insurance agreement is between the parent or guardian and the insurance company. If you wish to subscribe or for more information, please visit:  or call 1-800-463KIDS (5437)

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!

First day of school for students A-F
Sep 9 all day
First Day of School for SK Students
Sep 10 all day
First Day of School for Students G-N
Sep 10 all day
First Day of School for Students O-Z
Sep 11 all day
First Day of School for all Students Grade 1-8
Sep 14 all day
First Day for all Kindergarten Students
Sep 15 all day
Terry Fox Walk- Red and White Non-Uniform Day ($2 donation)
Sep 25 all day
Orange Shirt Day: Non-Uniform Day
Sep 30 all day
Elementary PrincipalWelcome back weekly update: September 7th