Monthly Archives: March 2020

Latest Update from The Board and Province

March 31st, 2020

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We hope that you and your family are well and staying healthy. Today we learned, that as a key part of the Government of Ontario response to the COVID19 crisis, that the closure to schools is extending to May 1st, 2020. The government will continue to monitor the situation and further extensions or updates may occur. We reiterate, that these decisions are being informed by a concern for preserving the health and safety of all, and in this regard we know that each of us shares a common goal. Realizing that this extension of the closure was likely, and as previously communicated, both the provincial Ministry of Education and locally here at Waterloo Catholic, we have been preparing for remote teacher-led learning. Today the Ministry released a memo that provides explicit guidance to all of us about expectations for learning. It provides an outline of the number of hours teacher and student should engage in learning – based on their grade level. To be clear – the suggested hours reflect both the time a teacher might use in providing formal instruction or guidance, as well as the time the student will spend completing the learning task or activity. There is not a firm expectation that all students have to be “online” at the exact same time, although in some cases that might happen on occasion.

Both Waterloo Catholic and the Ministry of Education have been thoughtful about matters of equity, as they apply to access to technology, to internet, language barriers, students with special needs and varying home environments. All to say – this is not a “business as usual” learning environment but at Waterloo Catholic we will strive to do our very best to ensure each student feels valued and is connected to learning. One thing we are doing in this regard is working on Chromebook distribution to those families who indicated the need for a learning device. Your local school will provide more detail if you are an affected family. Deployment is happening this week. That said – at Waterloo Catholic, our number one priority will be ensuring that each child experiences connection and that they know their teacher cares.

We would also like to draw attention to the fact that while there will be consistent expectations for students in the same grade, that optional, additional activities will also be made available to all students. On our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WDCSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found. https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca We also encourage you to continue to follow the #STEAMDays hashtag where lots of fun and engaging activities are being posted.

We understand that there is added anxiety for students who are in senior grades of high school or in graduating years. This too is something to which we are very attuned. The Ministry has provided some direction today and there will be ongoing conversations and plans that will be communicated in relation to these students. Certainly there is an intent that no student on track to graduate – or any student – should be negatively impacted by the current public health crisis. They remain a high priority.

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health. As a global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago. We wish your family good health as we look ahead to Holy Week. Please continue to remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community. Our faith will be a source of comfort and strength, as will the sure knowledge that after the pain and heartache of Good Friday, comes the hope, joy and new life of Easter.

Sincerely,
Loretta Notten                         Bill Conway

Director of Education            Chair of the Board

Nutrition For Learning Snack Truck coming on April 3rd

The Nutrition for Learning Pop-up Snack Truck will be back in our neighbourhood this Friday April 3rd at the following places and times – go meet them and grab some free healthy snacks:
St. Dominic at 9:30 am
AR Kaufman at 10 am
St. John’s at 11 am
King Edward at 11:30 am

Parent/Student check in calls and info

Good Evening Parents,

I wanted to share some information with you as things are changing rapidly and I want to keep you informed.  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

As we move to teacher-led distance learning, our teachers have been working to contact students and families to find out who may need a Chromebook. There are still a few families that the teachers have not been able to reach. If you did not hear from your child’s teacher, please contact the teacher(s). Emails are found on Staff List section of our website: https://stjohns.wcdsb.ca/staff-list/

We are expecting an announcement from the Ministry of Education with more details about the remote learning plan and timelines for the school year. Last Friday an announcement introducing WCDSBLearn@Home! took place. Click the link for more information: https://www.wcdsb.ca/introducing-wcdsblearn-home/ I would also suggest that you continue to monitor announcements teachers are posting on your child(ren)’s classroom web page.  More resources and information to help keep the learning process moving forward – including a link to all of the outstanding resources and ideas that are provided is at: https://www.wcdsb.ca/introducing-wcdsblearn-home/

Many of our planned events for the remainder of the school year have either been postponed or cancelled. We will let you know when we get the information. The opportunity to receive sacraments through the Church is on hold for now. They will definitely happen at a later date.

Father Cruz continues to post lots of information on the church website for our parishioners. https://www.stjohnskitchener.ca/  Father is even offering a live streaming of mass on Sundays.  Our diocese has set up a web page with helpful resources so Catholics can remain in touch with their faith while churches are closed:   https://hamiltondiocese.com

Nutrition for Learning has mobile locations set up, including times at St. John’s school, for food and snacks. Here is the link for the schedule updates :https://www.nutritionforlearning.ca/popupsnacks/

Please stay tuned to Newswire for any school updates, and to the local news for any updates from the Government, Minister of Education or Minister of Health.  Things are changing fast and we will do our best to keep you informed.

Please remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk as a hope-filled community of faith toward the season of Easter.

Stay Strong Thunder!

Mr. Gladding

 

 

Video greeting from St. John’s staff

Happy Saturday everyone,

Please click on the video link for a message from us to you.  Stay safe and enjoy this extra time with your families!

We hope to see you soon,

Mr. Gladding

 

Update letter from our Director and Chair

The following is the latest update and information from our Director of education and the Chair of the Board

March 23rd, 2020

Dear Parent / Caregivers –

Since last we reached out to you, the global situation in relation to COVID19 has continued to worsen and here at home we have seen unprecedented actions taken by our federal and provincial governments.  As you know, schools are now closed and it would appear that this will stretch beyond the Easter weekend, although exactly when we might return to face to face learning is not yet clear.  These decisions are being informed by a concern for preserving the health and safety of all, and in this regard we know that each of us shares this common goal.  Nonetheless, the news that students will be home indefinitely may be disconcerting to you and your child.

We want to assure you that at Waterloo Catholic District School Board, we will be working to the best of our ability and in collaboration with the province, to ensure that your child is connected to learning opportunities.  We will use the initial two weeks for the board to support our teachers in establishing at least an initial contact with all of their students through the most appropriate means possible.  We will try to use this time to establish what is needed to support teacher-led learning and to aid you as families, to the best of our abilities under the circumstances.

We also want to acknowledge that this could be a time of great uncertainty and anxiety for our students.  We would encourage you to visit our board website where a number of resources can be found that may be helpful to you or your child, as you navigate this time.  We are also truly blessed to have our faith and prayer to aid us at this time.  Our God walks with us always and the Holy Father reminds us that prayer is a sign that we are not alone.

While we are in the process of “gearing up”, we would remind parents that WCDSB has launched #STEAMDays, a fun and interactive way to be connected to activities that have a daily focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics.  Further, the Ministry of Education has launched the website “Learn at Home”  and you are encouraged to visit that site for learning activities.  https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Waterloo Region Public Health.  As a global community – we have never been more connected by an event or issue and now is the time to do everything we can to ensure we can soon return to life as we knew it not so long ago.  We wish your family good health.  Remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk as a hope-filled community of faith toward the season of Easter and the re-birth it brings.

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                            Bill Conway

Director of Education                                                Chair of the Board

Nutrition For Learning Snack Truck will be around again on Friday!

The Pop-up Snack Truck from Nutrition for Learning will be back in our area on Friday March 27th
Stop in and check them out for some free healthy snacks! Here are the locations and times:
St. Dominic Savio 10 am
A R Kaufman 10:30 am
St. Johns School 12 noon
King Edward School 1 pm

Free Snacks for students on Tuesday!!

The great folks from Nutrition for Learning are coming around with a pop-up snack truck; families are encouraged to meet them and take healthy snacks home. The truck will be in our area on Tuesday Mar. 24th at:
King Edward School – 11:00 am
St. John’s -11:30am
AR Kaufman -12noon

Covid 19 update

Good evening everyone,

We hope that you have had a great March Break with family. We are in unprecedented times for sure; it is hard to believe that we are asking kids to not come to school. Please do your part by staying home. We will continue to update you on our website, Twitter and via Newswire. The following is a letter from the Minister of Education, regarding school closures.

 

Ministry of Education
Minister 315 Front Street West Toronto ON M7A 0B8

Dear Ontario parents,

I am writing to you in unprecedented times.

The foremost priority of the government is to keep all Ontarians safe, including our students and educators. Working with our partners and all levels of government, we will do whatever it takes to deliver on this imperative.

Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been diligently monitoring the developing situation to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians. We have also taken decisive action to ensure the province is positioned to be ready for any scenario.

That is why on March 12, 2020, based on the advice of Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, I issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly-funded schools in the province until April 6, 2020. Our government took decisive action — one of the first jurisdictions in the industrialized world to have closed schools — with the aim of preventing the spread of COVID-19.

We are also the first province in Canada to declare a state of emergency. This declaration under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act enhances the province’s ability to support our heroic frontline workers as they continue to confront this challenge fully.

While this period is marked by uncertainty, I hope that this letter can, in some part, provide answers to some of the questions I know many parents have.

Although this virus has been characterized and spoken about largely in terms of physical impacts, I believe we need to acknowledge and respond to the sense of fear and concern that your children may be feeling, especially for our younger learners. We have heard from many of them and their parents directly that these reactions come from a place of uncertainty and heightened media exposure that leads to more questions than answers. During this time, I encourage you to continue to have open conversations with your children about COVID-19 and acknowledge that their reactions to this period — however emotional — are understandable and normal. There are many resources available to you and your children, notably Kids Help Phone, which is Canada’s only 24/7 national support service. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French. Please visit their website: www.kidshelpphone.ca, call: 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

While the health and safety of your children is my priority, I also know many of you are wondering how we will ensure students continue their journey of learning while out of the classroom.

As a first step to ensure the continued learning of your children, our government has launched an online portal dedicated to curating and providing access to a wide variety of educational resources, for all students from Kindergarten through to Grade 12. This online portal, which is available at Ontario.ca/learnathome, enables students at every grade level to continue learning while away from school. These resources are developed by Ontario educators, and resources for all grades are informed by leading instructional guidance. For those students who are in secondary school, we are providing access to online courses directly based on Ontario curricula. Although publicly funded schools are ordered closed until April 6, the fluidity of developments around COVID-19 means we are preparing in the event the closure period is further extended. Specifically, we are working to ensure that students will be able to continue their coursework and credit accumulation, even when we aren’t able to be in a classroom setting. Ontario is a leading jurisdiction in the availability and richness of online courses, so we will be continuing to leverage these tools and other resources to promote students’ learning and development. We are working with school boards to ensure students that currently do not have access to computers gain the technology needed to participate. We know for those with children in a graduating year, there may be uncertainty about whether these students will be able to graduate. We want to make this clear: no graduating student will have their ability to graduate impacted by the two-week closure and the COVID19 developments. For example, I have cancelled EQAO assessments for this school year. I have also approved a change in graduation requirements so the completion of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is not a barrier for students on track to graduate. We are also working with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to ensure students can apply to post-secondary education (including Apprenticeship, College and University), regardless of the situation this semester. In this time, it is more important than ever that we take every precaution to ensure that, when students return to class, they return to a safe and healthy learning environment.

The Ministry of Education is providing all school boards with access to funding for the deep cleaning of school facilities, childcare centres, and school buses. Following the closure period, we will minimize any risks to students, learners and our educators. And for those of you who are returning from travel outside of Canada, it is critical that you follow the strong recommendations of Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and self-isolate for 14 days when you and your family return. This means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of disease to members of your family who may not have travelled with you or to your community.

If you think you or a family member have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, in addition to self-isolation, please take the selfassessment test on ontario.ca/coronavirus to help determine how to seek further care. This site will also provide you with all the information you need to keep you and your family healthy and safe.

The Government of Ontario is committed to ensuring all Ontarians remain safe and secure during the challenging time. As the Minister of Education, I assure you I will make decisions based on scientific facts, the best advice of public health professionals, and always with the health and safety of your child at the top of mind.

While our work continues, we will continue to keep you informed along the way.

Stay safe.

The Honourable Stephen Lecce

Minister of Education

COVID-19; School and Program Closure Memo

March 13, 2020

As a result of the Government of Ontario’s order for all publicly funded schools in Ontario to remain closed from March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 (https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/title.html), the Waterloo Catholic District School Board is taking the following actions to further assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19:

  • Effective March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 all WCDSB schools (including all St. Louis Adult Education campuses) are closed.
  • Effective March 16 all Extended Day programs are cancelled. Families registered in WCDSB operated programs will not be charged fees during this time period.
  • Effective March 14, 2020 to April 5, 2020 all Community Use of Schools permits are cancelled.
  • WCDSB Co-op placements, Dual Credit and SWAC programs are cancelled.
  • The March 23, 2020 public meeting of the Board of Trustees is cancelled. Any delegations pertaining to the St. John CES Boundary Review will be received as planned on Monday, April 6 at the regularly-scheduled Board Meeting, and again at a Special Public Board Meeting on Monday, April 20, 2020.
  • The March 26, 2020 Blessing & Dedication ceremony for the newly-renovated Waterloo Region Catholic Education Centre is postponed to a later date to be determined.

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is always our top priority, and we will continue working with local Public Health staff to ensure our schools remain clean, safe and welcoming in anticipation of the resumption of school in April. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant regarding hand hygiene and cough / sneeze etiquette and to follow all Public Health guidance and directives.

We ask all WCDSB stakeholders to continue monitoring our special COVID-19 web page for up-to-date information (https://www.wcdsb.ca/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/)  — and our prayers continue for all those around the world who have been or will be affected by COVID-19.

 

 

Buses are running late

Good Morning,

The winter wonderland we are seeing this morning is pretty but it is slowing down the buses. All transportation is running, but are 30 – 45 minutes late.

Paul