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Weekly Update: September 20, 2021

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

~ Malcolm X

Return to School Plan Daily Self-Screening

All staff and students must self-screen every day before attending school. The province will continue to provide a screening tool for use by all school boards and may update this throughout the school year. All staff and students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 as identified in the screening tool, must not attend school and should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool, which may include seeking appropriate medical attention as required, and/or getting tested for COVID-19.

If a child experiences symptoms at school:

Please be advised, under the Direction of Halton Region Public Health, if your child and/or an individual living in your household has acknowledged that they are experiencing at least one (1) COVID-19 symptom:

  • Fever and/or chills
    Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Cough or barking cough (croup)
    Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing (not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, or other known causes or conditions you already have)
  • Shortness of breath
    Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply (not related to asthma or other known causes or conditions you already have)
  • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
    Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders, or other known causes or conditions you already have
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
    Not related to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, menstrual cramps, or other known causes or conditions you already have

What should you do next?

Seek medical advice for your child, and have your child tested for COVID-19 as appropriate or advised by your health care provider.

Your child must stay home and not leave except to get tested or for a medical emergency.

Siblings or other people in the home who are fully vaccinated do not need to isolate and can leave the home.

Siblings or other people in the home who are not fully vaccinated must stay home until your child:  

  • tests negative for COVID-19; OR
  • are cleared by your local public health unit; OR
  • are diagnosed with another illness

When can your child(ren) return to school?

If your child gets tested for COVID-19 and tests NEGATIVE:

Your child can return to school/childcare when ALL the following apply:

  • they do not have a fever (without using medication)
  • it has been at least 24 hours since the symptoms started improving (or 48 hours if they have had nausea/vomiting/diarrhea)
  • they were not in close physical contact with someone who currently has COVID-19
  • If your child gets tested for COVID-19 and tests POSITIVE:
  • Your child can return to school/childcare only when cleared by Halton Region Public Health


If your child does not get tested for COVID-19:

Your child must isolate for 10 days. They may be able to return earlier if ALL the following apply:

  • a doctor diagnosed them with another illness
  • they do not have a fever (without using medication)
  • it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms started improving (or 48 hours if they had nausea/vomiting/diarrhea)

If you do not seek medical advice:

Your child must isolate for 10 days. They may be able to return earlier if ALL the following apply:

  • they do not have a fever (without using medication)
  • it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms started improving (or 48 hours if they had nausea/vomiting/diarrhea)

Parent Consent Forms

Emails were sent last week regarding completing the Family Information/Consent forms electronically.  Thank you to all parents/guardians that have already completed the form.  If you have not yet completed the form, we ask that you please do so as soon as possible.  The electronic form can be accessed HERE. The form should take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

Please be advised we are now kindly requesting that parents complete the electronic consent form for each child, to allow all information to be uploaded correctly.

Important Notes Before Completing the Form:

If you have more than one child enrolled in an HCDSB school, please complete a separate form for each child.

Only one parent/guardian is required to complete a form for each child.

You will need your child’s Ontario Education Number (OEN) to submit this form. The OEN can be found on a recent report card.

Please ensure you are submitting your child’s preferred name or the name you provided at registration.

The form can be completed using a computer, smart phone, or tablet.

Information Access and Protection of Privacy
The Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) is committed to protecting the right to privacy for students, staff, and families. Personal information is collected under the authority of the Education Act and in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). For more information, visit our HCDSB website.

Technical Issues
If you experience a problem submitting a form, please use a different browser or different device. If you have tried a different browser and device and are still experiencing issues, please send an email to records@hcdsb.org

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. Please email comitod@hcdsb.org and a nomination package will be sent to you electronically to complete by Friday September 24th. Thank you to those who have already expressed interest.

If Elections are required, then the names of candidates and a one-page information biography sheet, if available, will be posted on our school website. This year, if required, elections for our 2021/2022 Catholic School Council will take place in September according to the following timelines:

  • Nomination Forms Due: Friday September 24th
  • Profiles Due (if required): Tuesday September 28th
  • Council Elections (if needed): Thursday September 30th
  • First Council Meeting:  Monday October 4th at 7:00 pm

Meetings will be held “virtually” (using Teams). Dates & times will be posted on our school web page.  All parents are welcome to attend regular Council meetings.  The meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be held virtually via Teams online.

Virtual Curriculum Night

We kindly request that you save the following date for our Curriculum Night, which will be held on Wednesday, September 29th between the hours of 6:30-7:30pm.  Please note, this event will be held virtually as directed by Public Health. More information will follow.

Family Paint Night in Recognition of Orange Shirt Day

HCDSB families, students and staff are invited to participate in a virtual family paint night in recognition of Orange Shirt Day.

The online session will be hosted by Indigenous Artist, Moses Lunham, who will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create the painting at home. No prior artistic experience is necessary to get involved. However, those interested in participating can prepare for the art session by collecting the following art supplies.

Save the Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2021   6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

A link to the live event will be available on the scheduled time and day of the presentation on the Grandmother’s Voice YouTube Channel.

For more information, visit the HCDSB website.

If you have any questions, please contact Sherry Saevil, Indigenous Education Advisor at: saevils@hcdsb.org.

Terry Fox School Run/Walk

We are excited to announce that our school will be proudly taking part in the 2021 Terry Fox School Run/Walk, scheduled to take place on Friday, October 1.  While this year’s event might still look a little different form previous years, we are excited to share that we have developed a safe way for all of our staff and students to take part, while following all covid protocols.  We hope that we can continue to show the great strength and resiliency of our school community with your support of one of our greatest Canadian heroes, Terry Fox. We are asking each student to bring a “toonie for Terry” on the day of the walk to help support cancer research. You will also be able to make your donation through school cash online beginning tomorrow. 

We are very excited to be a part of this year’s Terry Fox event. Please join us to support cancer research while building incredible school spirit for all of our students.  Thank you in advance for your support!

School-based Immunization Program Gr. 7-12

The Ministry of Health has provided a school-based immunization program for students (Gr. 7-12) that is delivered by the local health departments. Due to pandemic-related disruptions, students have missed the opportunity to receive these vaccines over the past two school years.

Halton Region Public Health will be offering theschool-based vaccines by appointment to eligible students in Grades 7-12 (born in 2004-2009) at community clinics throughout Halton. There will also be appointments available for students born in 2002-2003 to catch-up on vaccines that they may have missed.

The following vaccines will be offered at community clinics:

  •       Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  •       Meningococcal Disease
  •       Hepatitis B

Please note: COVID-19 vaccines are separate from the School-Based Immunization Program.

Book an Appointment

To book an appointment, or learn more about clinic eligibility, locations, and schedules, visit Halton’s Grade 7 School-based Immunizations web page or call 311. 

Please bring any immunization records you may have for your child to the appointment, where Public Health staff will fully assess their vaccination history and obtain consent.

Important Letter to Parents from Bishop Crosby – HPV Vaccination
Attached to your correspondence is a letter to parents from His Excellency Douglas Crosby, Bishop of the Hamilton Diocese, in regard to the HPV vaccination.

Please take a moment to read Bishop Crosby’s letter and carefully review all of the information available to assist you in your determination as to whether or not you wish your child to participate in the voluntary HPV vaccination program.

Additional Information

For more information about the school-based immunization program, you may contact the Halton Regional Health Department by calling 311, or visit their website at: www.halton.ca/immunize

How to Support a Mentally Healthy Back to School for Your Child

This past year has been anything but usual! We know that while many students and families are eager to return to a “more normal” school experience, some will be worried about starting back, and what this new school year will look like for them. Remember as parents/caregivers you know your child best!


Understanding stress

The last year has affected everyone in unique and varied ways. Many families have experienced financial, employment, social and health challenges. Some have experienced significant disruptions and losses. We have also all witnessed inequities, systemic prejudice and the impact of racism in our society during this time. Even as society returns to more normal social interactions with fewer restrictions, we are aware that different children will be approaching the new school year with many different feelings. Some children maybe excited, others are perhaps nervous and some children are still quite worried and anxious. All of these feelings and emotions are natural responses to what our children have experienced over the past 1½ years.


Anxiety can show up in different ways. Your child may tell you that they are feeling fearful or overwhelmed. Or you might notice things like frequent headaches, trouble sleeping, irritability or emotional outbursts. Your child might seem withdrawn, or overly tired or restless. Being watchful for signs of anxiety can help you to provide support early, before the problem worsens.

There are two main ways we can help young people who are experiencing stress:
• help them to find ways to cope with feelings of anxiety
• find ways to help reduce the stress itself
Not all stress can be avoided, but sometimes we can reduce it. Having tools and strategies ready to cope with stress is important, so that we and our children can be less negatively affected.


Ways to support your child as they head back to school

Take care of you, so you can be your best to support your children.
This has been a very difficult time for everyone. It’s especially hard on parents and families who have been managing so many things these past several months. That includes supporting your children’s learning at
home, often while trying to manage work demands, staying on top of household responsibilities, caring for
elderly relatives, etc.

Try to take time each day to do something just for you that helps you to feel well and happy. You know best what that is. Taking care of your own health and well-being during uncertain and difficult times is a powerful tool to support your children.
To get you started, here are few ideas that parents and caregivers have told us can be helpful:
• Try to take time for the basics – choose foods that give you good energy, establish a sleep routine that leaves you feeling refreshed, and enjoy some fresh air and exercise.
• Pay attention to your own stress levels and notice when you are starting to feel overwhelmed. Use this as a cue to take a break. Take small breaks throughout the day to just “be,” or to engage in something you like to do.
• Take a few deep, slow breaths when you start to feel anxious or upset.
• Try just listening to your thoughts, and practice noticing them without judging or denying them. Even five minutes of this sort of quiet reflection can have a positive impact.
• Be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself a break; you’re doing the best you can.

Talk to your child about the return to school. Take some time to think through what the return to school might look like for your child and talk to your child about what to expect. Children may feel nervous about returning to school for any number of reasons. It is important to allow space for them to express their concerns, and also to help them to remember the parts of school that they enjoy and are looking forward to the most.


Check in regularly with your child, as their emotions and feelings will likely change from day to day or week to week. You can normalize any fears as a response to the uncertainty, and can reassure them. Even though things are different, they can manage and there will be adults there to help. It can be helpful to remind your child of the positives of going back to school, such as seeing their friends again. Perhaps make a list together about what they are excited about. Remind your child that when school starts they will be supported and safe, regardless of whether this return is full, virtual or a hybrid.


Pay attention to special transitions

The return to school has special meaning and challenges for those who are experiencing other big transitions this coming school year. For example, our youngest learners who started kindergarten last year, will be having a different experience this year as they return to in person learning. Talk with them about what might be different, such as more opportunities to play with friends and different chances to ask questions about their learning.
Similarly, students starting high school, or moving to a new school, may be more nervous than normal because they have missed the usual transition experiences, like visiting the school in advance. Take up any opportunities from your board to do virtual or live start of school visits. For older children, look through the school or board website together, or review information sent home, to learn more. Reassure your child that there will be many caring adults at school to help them to navigate their new school.
Finally, some students will be returning to school for an extra year because their grade 12 was interrupted by the pandemic. If you have a child in this group, you know about the losses they have experienced and the changes to their plans. Your child may need a little extra reassurance and support, as they likely didn’t plan on going back to school and may have a range of feelings about this unexpected return.


Conversation starters for the return to school


In discussions with your child, consider asking these questions:
• Who are you looking forward to connecting with this school year?
• What is one thing you’re hoping to do during the school year?
• What are the strategies that really worked for you during remote learning? Are there things we can build on?
• How are you feeling about this school year?
• What’s one thing you feel excited for?
• Is there anything you feel a bit worried about?
• How can I help you to feel comfortable about school?

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Comito, DianaWeekly Update: September 20, 2021