Monthly Archives: March 2020

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

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

 

Faith In Action Team’s Lenten Liturgy for Week 4

Dear Panther Families,

Despite the challenge, our students still gathered to create a prayer service for lent and to share their faith with the world.

Please see below and share with your children.   We hope that you are all staying safe and healthy.

 

News Re: Extended School Closure

Dear St Boniface family and friends,St. Boniface Logo

Let me start by saying “WE MISS YOU!!!” There is nothing that our staff would enjoy more than to be hearing about your March Break adventures, sharing stories of visits and family fun and continuing our learning journey together. Our hearts are missing a very important part right now – and that is YOU!

As you know, we will not be returning to our classrooms on April 6th as anticipated when we parted ways. Your classroom teacher will be reaching out to you in the next couple of days if she hasn’t already – to touch base and connect in whatever means available. We are gathering some information to determine the best possible next steps for learning as a board and as a province. We met virtually as a staff yesterday and everyone is working hard to gear up for continued Distance Learning opportunities. As you know, the Ministry has shared a Learn at Home resource and our board is offering STEAM learning days. Please have a look at these resources and use whatever you deem helpful in continuing your child’s learning journey.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-helping-students-learn-from-the-safety-of-their-own-home.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p

https://www.wcdsb.ca/STEAMDays/

As the Ministry, in conjunction with our board, continues to develop a plan for the days following April 6th we will update you and keep you informed. For now, this is new territory for all and we are approaching this with the spirit of “With God, all things are possible”.

I will provide another update on Wednesday of next week. Our faith, our hope in the Lord and our belief in the power of love will be great supports as we continue this journey. Your child can share with you the practice of Christian Meditation as a wonderful form of prayer and comfort. Take this time to reflect on your faith, connect more deeply as a family and seek the comfort of our ultimate Peace-Giver.

May God bless you always,
Marylin Dawson

Special Message from the Chair of the Board & Director of Education

March 24, 2020

Dear Parents / Caregivers –

Since last we reached out to you, the global situation in relation to COVID-19 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 the 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, including mail, phone, email or other channel.  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.

Finally – we encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo 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

IMPORTANT: WCDSB Closures & Cancellations Due to COVID-19

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.

Notes from the Office

Attention Parents/Guardians, tomorrow, March 12th, is “Summer Vibes – Hawaiian Day”.  Panthers are invited to dress up in their “school appropriate” summer attire.

 

Also, in Community News…

Euchre Tournament: Sunday, March 15th – euchre tournament

Maryhill Easter Egg Hunt: Sunday, April 5th –  Easter Egg Hunt

 

 

 

Labour Update from WCDSB

Labour Updates

All Waterloo Catholic District School Board Schools Closed on Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) has announced that all of its members will be engaging in a one-day strike on Thursday, March 5, 2020. This decision affects all Catholic district school boards in Ontario.

As a result of this strike, all Waterloo Catholic District School Board elementary and secondary schools will be closed on March 5.

In addition to the closure of all WCDSB elementary and secondary schools on March 5, please note the following:

Some programs offered at the WCDSB’s St. Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centres will be cancelled on March 5 —  they are:

  • Hairstyling will be closed
  • Culinary Arts will be closed
  • Secondary School Credit Day School will be closed
  • Correspondence services will be closed
  • Guidance services will be closed.

All other St. Louis Adult Learning & Continuing Education Centres programs will be running as per their normal schedules.

All WCDSB extended day programs will be open for the day as usual (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for students currently registered in the program.

Community use of schools activities will continue as scheduled.

OECTA’s previously announced job actions will remain in effect before and after March 5.

As before, we remain hopeful the two sides will return to the bargaining table quickly and will come to a fair and respectful agreement that serves the best interests of our students.