Monthly Archives: August 2020

Active travel to school……

Hello Families,

Busses are operating with the typical schedule. Questions about busses can be directed to Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR).

Exercise, fresh air and being outside have shown to be safe and beneficial during the pandemic. We hope that you will consider walking, biking, scooting or skating to school this year.

Our parking lot and surrounding streets cannot accommodate additional vehicles for families choosing not to use the busses and for students who are walkers, but who are still driven to school.

To help keep our parking lot safe and everyone appropriately distanced, we are asking you to consider dropping your kids off a block or two from the school where they can safely travel the remainder of the way. Take some time over the next week to plan your route. Get out and practice the new routine with your kids.  

With increased screen time, we must find ways to get active and stay safe. Walking, biking, scooting and skating to school are healthy and active options. In all kinds of weather, walking is an active and safe way to get to and from school.

 

There are environmental benefits with less cars out….

There are social benefits when walking safely in groups with family and friends….

There are safety benefits with less traffic in our busy parking lot and local streets…..

Exercise has mental health benefits above and beyond the physical benefits……

The health benefits, they are simply undeniable……

Staying healthy is once of the best ways to keep safe from any virus or illness. Active travel to and from school is an easy way to work in some exercise each day.  

Please consider walking, biking, scooting or skating to school by planning out your route now, and by practicing with your kids so they know how to stay safe.

Thank you,

St. Anne School Staff

WCDSB BYOD information……

Hello Families,

WCDSB has made significant investments to ensure our students and staff have access to a variety of current technology.

When we return to school, chromebooks will be cleaned by staff and students before and after use. However, you may feel more comfortable if your child has their own device. Personal phones are not to be used during school time for social media, texting, and entertainment purposes. Personal devices, such as a chromebook, can be utilized for learning and education. If you bring your own device, you do so at your own risk. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged devices. As well, students must follow teacher and staff direction for when and how to use technology in the classroom.

As students have engaged more with the technology that is available in their classrooms, many families have expressed interest in purchasing a device for their child to use at school and at home. WCDSB families have reached out, seeking advice about which technology would best support their child’s learning, is reasonably priced, yet durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily use as it’s transported back and forth to school each day.

Devices for Families in Need: Free learning device/computer offerings for low income families:

http://rcto.ca/programs-rctech-outreach.asp

Visit our web site to learn more about the programs and devices that available for purchase through STAPLES and Dell.

https://www.wcdsb.ca/programs-and-services/elementary-programs/byod/

Thank you,

St. Anne school staff

Re-Opening – St. Anne School……

Hello Phoenix Families, 

We hope that everyone is well, and you have been able to enjoy some of the beautiful weather this summer. 

While information on re-opening schools is continually being updated, we know you have numerous questions so we will share some of what we know at this time.  

NewsWire will be our main communication tool. Please encourage friends and neighbours to sign up on our web page if you know someone who is not getting updates. Register in the bottom left corner on our main page: https://stannecambridge.wcdsb.ca/ 

Beginning this year, we will also be sending some communications over School Messenger. These will be voice messages sent to your phone or e-mail. You may have already received some messages reguarding the re-opening survey.  

For a full update on re-opening and to seek answers to many questions; visit the board web site and take the time to review the information posted. Most of what you need to know is here: https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/ 

The school board has also posted the Operational Guidelines. These guidelines go more in depth about the safety protocols being implemented.   https://www.wcdsb.ca/operational-guidelines/ 

In addition to the information provided by the school board and Ministry announcements, there is some “site specific” information for our school. 

The first days of school will look a little different. Unfortunately, we will not be able to gather on the yard as a community like we have done in the past. For those families returning to the traditional classroom, the school board has communicated a staggered entry plan: 

  • Kindergarten is already staggered – you will get a phone call from the teacher with your day and time 
  • Grades 1 and 2 students will start on Tuesday, September 8th, and attend each day from then on.  
  • Grades 3 and 4 students will start on Wednesday, September 9th, and attend each day following.  
  • Grades 5 and 6 students will start on Thursday, September 10th, and attend each day following.  
  • Grades 7 and 8 students will start on Friday, September 11th, and attend from then on. 

Wwill be sharing your child’s classroom teacher assignment over SchoolCash. We also hope to have each classroom teacher give you a call, in advance, where possible.  

For those families who opted for the remote program – school will begin on September 14. Someone from the remote school, St. Isidore, will be in touch about who your teacher will be. 

Our start and end times will remain the same. Upon arrival at the school, yard supervisors will ensure personal space is maintained by directing students to remain in their designated areas, as per their divisions. When the bell rings, students will go to their class’s designated location on the yard and will be required to maintain personal space while in line. Teachers will spend time in the first few days of school teaching student’s the safety guidelines.   

Busses are operating with the typical schedule. Questions about busses can be directed to Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR). Our parking lot and surrounding streets cannot accommodate additional vehicles for families choosing not to use the busses. We are asking that you drop your kids off a block or two from the school where they can safely walk the remainder of the way. Plan your route now and practice with your kids.   

We are encouraging walking/biking/scooting, etc. to school as a healthy and active option. In all kinds of weather, walking/biking/scooting is an active and safe way to get to and from school. There are environmental benefits with less cars out, social benefits when walking safely in groups, safety benefits with less traffic in our busy parking lot and local streets, and the health benefits are simply undeniable. Please consider walking/biking/scooting by planning out your route now, and practicing with your kids. 

Classes will be assigned an entry point and will be escorted into the school, one class at a time, to avoid congestion. Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the classroom.  As outlined by the school board, students from to 12 will be required to wear masks.  

In grades 1 to 8, desks will be set up in rows to ensure personal space. Students will eat their lunch at their own desk and will help ensure that surfaces are kept clean and sanitized throughout the day. Individual teachers will establish wipe down procedures with their students. Each class will adopt a sign in and out procedure for students who need to use the washrooms or go to the main office in order to minimize students in common areas of the school. JK and SK students have their own washrooms located in their classrooms.  

Outdoor learning will be encouraged whenever possible. It is important your child comes to school properly dressed each day to spend time outside. Even on some slightly colder or wet days – learning may occur outside so please dress for all possibilities.  

The school board is providing every student with learning kits/bags that will be packed by staff with basic school supplies, based on grade level. These kits/bags will help minimize the sharing of items which could put some students at risk. 

In FDK classes, tables will be staggered and student occupancy at the tables will be minimized. Students will use their individual cubbies to ensure that their items are kept individualized. Staff will ensure that washroom facilities are kept clean and sanitized. Items that cannot be sanitized safely by wiping down, such as plush items, play-doh, etc., will be removed from the classroom. When dropping off students in the FDK yard, parents will be encouraged to maintain personal space as they wave goodbye to their child. 

Unfortunately, visitors and volunteers are discouraged at this time. Should a parent need to drop off or pick up a child during the school day, masks must be worn. Sneeze guards have been installed in the main office as well as the Learning Commons. You will be asked, as usual, to wait outside the main office and your child will be called down.  

All students will receive information and orientation from staff regarding our protocols. Frequent reviews throughout the day will take place as students will need reminders to get into our new routines. Signage will be placed throughout the school to remind students of our protocols.  

All staff will be required to engage in a daily self-assessment before coming to work to ensure that they are well and ready to perform their full duties. All students, with assistance from parent/guardian, are asked to perform a daily self-assessment before heading off to school. The self-assessment information can be found at the following link, COVID-19 Self Assessment ToolShould the self-assessment indicate the possibility of having the virus, protocols set out by public health are to be followed. In short – if you are not feeling well, stay home.  

Staff will be vigilant throughout the day with students and report any student who shows symptoms of feeling unwell. As per school board protocols, the student will be sent down to the office to our health room. The student’s parents will be notified to come to the school to pick up their child. The parent will then be encouraged follow public health directives and keep their child home for 24 hours to monitor symptoms.  

We look forward to seeing all our students return to us in September. We will do all we can to provide a safe and healthy re-entry for all staff and students at St. AnneWe are all in this together. 

We will share further details, or any changes needed should new information come from the Ministry, the board or public health. If you have any questions, please refer to https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/ for clarification, this will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available. 

We can’t wait to see the kids back at school. We are hopeful this will be a great year of learning together. 

Kindly, 

Mr. J. Noonan (School Principal) 

Ms. S. Rellinger (School Vice-Principal) 

 

 

 

 

Re-Opening Letter from the Director

Hello Phoenix Families,

Please review this important information from the Director of Education………..

August 27th, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

The start of school is now just around the corner and it is our most sincere hope that while you may have some questions or apprehension about the return, that there is also an equal measure of joy and celebration to be returning just a little bit closer to life and learning as we previously knew it.  Throughout the summer planning has been taking place and as we have said before, at the forefront of all our thinking has been a concern for Health and Safety. As you may know, frequent announcements and clarifications continued to be received by WCDSB senior staff and as a result, our plans did continue to be refined and did evolve.  We have done our very best to not deviate too greatly from those plans upon which you based your decisions back in early August regarding your learning preference for your child as we return to school.

There is a fair bit of information contained within this letter, but I know you will agree that it is important to communicate what we know and to ensure you understand the plan.  With that said, I would like to offer a few very important updates.

The Parent Survey:

We thank you for responding to our survey – we have heard from the greater majority of all families, but we must account for every student, so if you have not completed the survey – you MUST do so through your local school.  We would ask that if you have completed the survey that you do NOT revisit the survey.  The survey has been removed from our Board website.  We can no longer allow parents to change their mind without compromising the safety of our students.  We are planning based on survey responses and the information that informed your choice has not substantively changed since we launched the survey.  We appreciate your understanding in this regard.  We have approximately 13% of families who have selected to begin the year in our virtual school, now called St Isidore (the patron saint of the internet).

Virtual School versus Home School:

If your family/child has selected to begin the year learning virtually, then the student becomes shared between their home school and St Isidore.  For full clarity – the student is no longer assigned to their home school teacher, but to their teacher in the virtual school, and all communication during that time will be with the virtual school teacher and administration.  Should the decision be made to return to face to face learning – the student returns to their home school and is placed in a class with space.

Secondary Model:

 As you know, our secondary model begins with 150 minutes of face to face instruction in the morning, by cohort.  The afternoon features a synchronous (live learning with a teacher) period everyday for every student, followed by a 75 min asynchronous (not live) period everyday for every student.  The model remains similar to what we previously published, but the addition of the 75 minute asynchronous learning period, which will follow their every afternoon synchronous class of 75 minutes, is new.  This will mean that each student experiences a full 300-minute learning day.  This 75-minutes of asynchronous learning will flow from the previous synchronous lesson.

Transition Dates:

We previously published that changes could be made from virtual learning to face to face learning (or vice versa) at 4 week intervals.  The deeper we have gone into the planning and with the number of students to schedule in our virtual school, we have had to make an adjustment.  To that end:

In Elementary:  families/students may transition after the first 4 weeks of instruction (Thanksgiving – accounting for the staggered start), but after that it will be only at Progress Reports in November and first Report Card in January.

In Secondary:  families/students will be confined to transferring between learning modalities at the end of the term (November and thereafter end of January)

Staggered Start:

We know that there will be many new routines for our students to learn.  And we are continuing to work hard to prepare our schools and to prepare our staff to welcome our students.  We feel it is prudent and critical to a successful start to stagger the start of school for our students.  We are also challenged to fully schedule and staff our virtual school(s).  To that end, the following is the start up schedule for September:

Kindergarten

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
  Year 1 visits All Year 2 students attend and continue to attend everyday All Year 2 students attend school and half of the Year 1 students attend

 

All Year 2 students attend school and the other half of the Year 1 students attend

 

Grades 1 and 2 Sept 8th
Grades 1, 2,  3 and 4 Sept 9th
Grades  1, 2, 3, 4,  5 and 6 Sept 10th
Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  7 and 8 Sept 11th
Secondary Cohort A Sept 8th
Secondary Cohort B Sept 10th
Elementary Virtual School Sept 14th
Secondary Virtual School Sept 17th

 Accessing my cohort and schedule:

All information relevant to cohorts and student schedules will be available as of Wednesday Sept 2nd.  We apologize that this is a little late, but in addition to all the challenges that come with preparing for this unique new reality, as a board we are also transitioning to a new Student Information System – a decision made long before COVID has become a reality.

Therefore – all students may log into their WCDSB student email cloud account, where you will find 2 emails with cohort and schedule information which will be available to you.

Bussing:

 Students need to be reminded that seats on the bus are assigned and they are not to sit anywhere other than their assigned seat.  Masks are required by all students to ride the bus.  There will be masks on the bus available for a child who may have forgotten their mask.  Secondary students should only report to buses on the day that their cohort is experiencing face to face learning.

Health and Safety/Masking:

As we all know, life for each of us has evolved.  Masks are now part of our daily reality.  Masks are a way of both containing the virus and protecting us from the virus.  Per provincial direction and the public health authorities, masking will be mandatory for all students in grades 4-12.  If a child needs to be exempted from wearing a mask, an exemption form must be completed and approved by the principal.  The policy on masking will be found on our website shortly and the exemption form will be linked.  Masks are also required by our students in grades K-3, but no form is required for an exemption if a child cannot wear a mask.

Students are encouraged to have their own refillable water bottle, to be encouraged to wash hands frequently and parents are asked to ensure that a self-assessment is completed everyday before coming to school.  https://covid19checkup.ca/

Those students attending our Extended Day program must login to complete the digital (self) assessment form each morning before arriving at the program.

Operational Guidelines:

WCDSB has now published on its website our Operational Guidelines.  They make clear the expectations for all members of our WCDSB community, as well as giving insights into the protocols required in our various program areas.  While lengthy, I encourage you to review them, and in particular any area that is relevant to your child and their learning.

https://www.wcdsb.ca/operational-guidelines/

 Outbreak Protocol:

On Tuesday August 26th, the province outlined its Outbreak Protocol.  It will be available on our WCDSB website in our Operational Guidelines, and the Minister has also referenced it in his letter to you.  Rest-assured that there will be a prompt and transparent response anytime we are dealing with a staff or student member who has tested positive for COVID.  We will coordinate that response with Waterloo Region Public Health.  We do ask all students and parents to ensure a self-assessment has been done each and every day before coming to school.  We also ask students to stay home if you are not feeling well.

A reminder that our plan for re-opening schools is available on our website and that we continue to update both the FAQ section and any other material as need be.  Reviewing the plan and the Operational Guidelines when you have any questions is a great place to find answers.

https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/

https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/#faq

Student Kits:

Every year we think about preparing a student’s backpack.  This year we have many more considerations as we prepare our students for their return.  We want to ensure that we get off to a strong start and so we are currently preparing a personal learning kit for each and every student in our system.  It will have all the basic learning materials a student needs for their learning and will ensure there is not sharing of those everyday items.  And as outlined in our Operational Guidelines, we will have protocols to ensure we are not sharing/breeching safety when dealing with other items within our classrooms.  The Learning Kits will not leave the classroom, for those students learning face to face.  Contents of the kit can be seen within our Operational Guidelines.

So as I said – lots to process – and certainly a great deal more on our website, but the most important message is this:  we cannot wait to welcome our students back!  We have missed you and there is going to be great joy in being reunited, in hearing chatter and laughter in our classrooms and playgrounds once again.  We are rooted in a faith that reminds us at every turn that we are people of hope.  We know that we are a community that is strengthened by Christ and He teaches us to love unconditionally.  We may stumble at times on our path, but if we pick each other up, if we walk side by side, if we show mercy and grace while seeing the face of Jesus in all whom we encounter, we will have a great year of learning.  We are ready to welcome you back!

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

Last Chance……

Hello Phoenix Families,

Please complete the survey: https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/

This survey should be completed to help us determine who is returning to the regular classroom setting, or the remote learning option. You will need your child’s OEN number that is found on their report card.

Please review the letter from the Director:

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community – 

We hope that you are well and finding ways to enjoy the summer, albeit a very different one. At Waterloo Catholic we have missed seeing our staff and students in our schools – and we think that you would agree. We also know however, that all of us feel very strongly that if we are to return to our schools, we have to do so in a very safe and thoughtful manner. In the attached package, you will find a high-level introduction to all of the factors that we have been considering as we plan for the return of students. We know that we all want good learning to happen, but we are equally motivated to ensure that all our staff and students are feeling both safe and healthy, in mind, body and spirit.

There are some discussions that are ongoing and which may cause minor adjustments to our models or plans, but in the main, the attached document should give you a solid start in understanding our plans for the fall. Our new collective reality under COVID has tested all of us, and we know that things are evolving daily and understanding about best practices and the disease itself also continues to grow. Our commitment is to be informed by new knowledge and learning as it is presented.

In June we outlined that there were three possible scenarios under which a return to school might happen, and yesterday the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education declared that all students of the province would be returning to schools for face to face learning.   The provincial decision has been informed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well as the leading medical and health experts in the province. At Waterloo Catholic we have been preparing for this announcement and have engaged in thoughtful planning to ensure that health and safety of our staff and students remains a top priority. We are also prepared to “pivot” to any of the three scenarios, if we have to and remain confident that learning continuity will be possible.

We know that for elementary aged students the provincial announcement signaled a “conventional return”, which means attending school 5 days a week, full time. To the extent possible, “cohorting” will be observed, which means that every effort will be made to limit the number of contacts any one staff person or student comes into contact with, in the course of their day. Similarly – masks will be worn by students in grades 4 to 8, and remain an option for students in JK to grade 3, and to the extent possible physical distancing of 1 meter will be observed.

For secondary aged students, the province has indicated that all Waterloo Region schools will open under an “adapted return”, which means that students will attend face to face classes 50% of the time. Waterloo Catholic has committed to a “quadmester model” which means carrying only 2 courses at a time (it is a 4 term model instead of a 2 semester model). We have devised a model where students only see one cohort of students face to face on a given day, and access their second class remotely – from home. We have built this model to ensure both 300 minutes of instruction per week, while still giving maximum consideration to the health and safety of our staff and students. The attached document will provide you with more information. https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/ 

It is currently the end of July and we are all heading into a long weekend. We still have five full weeks until the start of school and our planning will continue – at the board level and at the school level. We want to offer our assurances that we will be prioritizing health and safety, learning continuity and equity of access for all our students. Nonetheless, for some of our families, you may choose to have your child learn from home. That is an option for you. Please read the attached document carefully and then complete the survey that follows. We need EVERY family to complete the survey for EACH child, as that is how we will prepare properly for the fall. Please complete this SURVEY

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health. This has been a year and a summer unlike any other – and one we will all remember for some time to come. Continue to enjoy a restful and rejuvenating summer, but let’s stay safe and healthy. May our faith that grounds us as people of love and people of hope give you strength in these times. We remain grateful for your trust in us to provide quality, faith-based, inclusive education.

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

We need all families to complete this board survey……

Hello Phoenix Families,

Please complete the survey: https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/

Please review the letter from the Director:

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community – 

We hope that you are well and finding ways to enjoy the summer, albeit a very different one. At Waterloo Catholic we have missed seeing our staff and students in our schools – and we think that you would agree. We also know however, that all of us feel very strongly that if we are to return to our schools, we have to do so in a very safe and thoughtful manner. In the attached package, you will find a high-level introduction to all of the factors that we have been considering as we plan for the return of students. We know that we all want good learning to happen, but we are equally motivated to ensure that all our staff and students are feeling both safe and healthy, in mind, body and spirit.

There are some discussions that are ongoing and which may cause minor adjustments to our models or plans, but in the main, the attached document should give you a solid start in understanding our plans for the fall. Our new collective reality under COVID has tested all of us, and we know that things are evolving daily and understanding about best practices and the disease itself also continues to grow. Our commitment is to be informed by new knowledge and learning as it is presented.

In June we outlined that there were three possible scenarios under which a return to school might happen, and yesterday the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education declared that all students of the province would be returning to schools for face to face learning.   The provincial decision has been informed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well as the leading medical and health experts in the province. At Waterloo Catholic we have been preparing for this announcement and have engaged in thoughtful planning to ensure that health and safety of our staff and students remains a top priority. We are also prepared to “pivot” to any of the three scenarios, if we have to and remain confident that learning continuity will be possible.

We know that for elementary aged students the provincial announcement signaled a “conventional return”, which means attending school 5 days a week, full time. To the extent possible, “cohorting” will be observed, which means that every effort will be made to limit the number of contacts any one staff person or student comes into contact with, in the course of their day. Similarly – masks will be worn by students in grades 4 to 8, and remain an option for students in JK to grade 3, and to the extent possible physical distancing of 1 meter will be observed.

For secondary aged students, the province has indicated that all Waterloo Region schools will open under an “adapted return”, which means that students will attend face to face classes 50% of the time. Waterloo Catholic has committed to a “quadmester model” which means carrying only 2 courses at a time (it is a 4 term model instead of a 2 semester model). We have devised a model where students only see one cohort of students face to face on a given day, and access their second class remotely – from home. We have built this model to ensure both 300 minutes of instruction per week, while still giving maximum consideration to the health and safety of our staff and students. The attached document will provide you with more information. https://www.wcdsb.ca/plan-for-re-opening-schools/ 

It is currently the end of July and we are all heading into a long weekend. We still have five full weeks until the start of school and our planning will continue – at the board level and at the school level. We want to offer our assurances that we will be prioritizing health and safety, learning continuity and equity of access for all our students. Nonetheless, for some of our families, you may choose to have your child learn from home. That is an option for you. Please read the attached document carefully and then complete the survey that follows. We need EVERY family to complete the survey for EACH child, as that is how we will prepare properly for the fall. Please complete this SURVEY

Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health. This has been a year and a summer unlike any other – and one we will all remember for some time to come. Continue to enjoy a restful and rejuvenating summer, but let’s stay safe and healthy. May our faith that grounds us as people of love and people of hope give you strength in these times. We remain grateful for your trust in us to provide quality, faith-based, inclusive education.

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. #WCDSBTogether.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

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