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Special Message Regarding Emergency Child Care

April 13, 2021

Dear WCDSB families,

Subject: Targeted Emergency Child Care is being offered effective April 19th, 2021

On Monday, April 12, 2021, the Province announced that elementary schools will be shifting to remote learning following the spring break for an unspecified length of time. During this time, all before and after school programs will be closed.

In support of health care and other frontline workers whose children are in school, the Ministry of Education will implement the targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) program for school-age children. This emergency child care program is available at no cost to eligible parents, starting April 19th, 2021.

To determine if you are eligible to access emergency child care, please check the  Ministry of Education’s list of eligible workers.  If all parents/guardians in the household are required to work outside of the home and one (or more) parent/guardian is on the list of eligible workers, you can begin the application process for Emergency Child Care through OneList Waterloo Region.  Families are being asked to apply to one location only.  If your child care needs cannot be accommodated at your priority location, that program will assist you with accessing care at another location.

For more information, please go to the Region’s Emergency Child Care webpage. You can also email ECC@regionofwaterloo.ca.

Sincerely,

Barbara Cardow

Director, Children’s Services

Regional Municipality of Waterloo

 

April 14th, 2021|

Upcoming “Virtual” Board Meetings – Monday, April 19, 2021

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. — Monday, April 19, 2021. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting will be streamed live on Youtube:

WATCH HERE

Agenda

General Information About WCDSB Board Meetings

Information About the Board of Trustees

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The WCDSB Committee of the Whole meeting will be followed immediately by a joint meeting with the Waterloo Region District School Board, concerning the 2021 Education Development Charges Review.

LINK (Meeting 1 & 2): https://www.youtube.com/c/WRDSBVideo/live

Meeting #1 –Policy Review Public Meeting – Joint Public Meeting (WCDSB/WRDSB)

Date: April 19, 2021, 7:30pm

Agenda: 2021-04-19 EDC Policy Review Agenda (1)

Meeting #2 – Successor By-Law Public Meeting – Joint Public Meeting (WCDSB/WRDSB)

Date: April 19, 2021, 8:00pm

Agenda: 2021-04-19 EDC Background Study Agenda (2)

For more information please visit:  Planning (wcdsb.ca)

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, representing more than 96,000 Catholic school supporters, operates 48 schools and five adult education facilities serving more than 40,000 elementary, secondary and continuing education students in Waterloo Region – continuing a 185-year tradition of quality, inclusive, faith-based education. Follow us on Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire – #WCDSBAwesome.

April 14th, 2021|

Special Message from the Director of Education Regarding the School Shutdown

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

As you know we have commenced our well-deserved April Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances.  No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school after the April Break will be remote.

That is, on April 19th both our elementary and our secondary students will begin their continued learning virtually.  The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution.  Experience has shown us that our schools are generally quite safe.  Our protocols have served us well and the cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they generally spreading, in our schools, but we are a reflection of the community.  We have also seen an increase in the variants, and they are proving more concerning.  Closing the schools to in person learning for the remainder of April will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.

We do not yet have a firm return date for in person learning but we know that we will pivot to virtual for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Once we have a firm return date for in person learning we will be in touch.

Just before we left for the break, out of an abundance of caution, we did make a “best efforts” attempt to send home Chromebooks with all those students for whom we had a prior request through our comprehensive survey.  If there are outstanding orders that were missed, they will be deployed upon our return on April 19th.   Schools and Extended Day programs currently remain closed and unavailable to staff, students and parents.  All school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions and updates as of April 19th, 2021.

The move to remote learning will be similar to January.  The school day will follow the bell times of your individual school and if not already received, you/your student will be given a clear indication of the daily schedule your child is to follow through your local school.  The first day back, April 19th, will look a little different – we will treat it similar to a snow day where work will be posted to the class site.  Students will work independently.  This is to allow our staff to prepare their virtual lessons and we will start full synchronous days on Tuesday April 20th.   This will apply to St Isidore as well.

Thank you for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.  This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large.  During the April Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings.

Once again, we encourage you to visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website https://www.wcdsb.ca/living-learning-looking-forward/ and Region of Waterloo Public Health website https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/2019-novel-coronavirus.aspx as they contain helpful resources and supports.  If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know upon their return on April 19th, 2021.

I will also take this opportunity to once again point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.

Vaccination does continue to roll out and while we are in the darkest of days right now, there is reason to believe there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  Let us continue to be an Easter people, anchored in faith.  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.  #InThisTogether  #WeGotThis

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                                       

Director of Education 

April 13th, 2021|

Additional Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Staff & Students During “April Break”

The Ontario government has announced several opportunities to access COVID-19 testing for staff and students during the upcoming April Break.

Asymptomatic targeted testing expansion

The following options will be available to staff and students in the community.

In-Pharmacy Testing:

Existing Pharmacies

  • For the week of April 12-18 only, pharmacies that currently offer asymptomatic testing for education staff, will now accept appointments from students.
  • Children attending child care located within schools will also be eligible to access this testing. Please check with your local pharmacy on minimum testing age.
  • While students/children can access testing in pharmacies for April 12-18 only, this testing will continue to be available for all staff.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “pharmacy” as your location type, with the booking details requested.

New Pharmacies

  • In addition to these pharmacies, Shoppers Drug Mart is also able to offer additional in-pharmacy Rapid Antigen Screening for students and staff beginning April 14, 2021
  • Please see the accompanying list of participating stores
  • To book an appointment, please contact the store directly.

Assessment Centres

  • For the week of April 12-18, students and staff will also be able to access asymptomatic testing at local assessment centres.
  • Children attending child care located within schools, and child care staff, will also be eligible to access this testing.
  • This testing is only being offered to students, children and staff from April 12-18.
  • To book an appointment, visit the Covid-19 Testing Locations website, and select “assessment centre” as your location type, with the booking details requested

Participating Shoppers Drug Mart Stores

April 9th, 2021|

Special Message from the Director of Education – “April Break”

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

I sincerely hope this email finds you well and having enjoyed a safe and hope-filled Easter weekend.  Today I am writing to you with some updates as we prepare for our much anticipated April Break.  It is absolutely essential that we follow the guidance of Public Health and the province in order to ensure a safe return to learning by all.

As you know the province is now in a province-wide shutdown.  For you and your family during the break, this mean only socializing within your own home, taking advantage of testing opportunities, screening everyday for symptoms and staying home if you or anyone in your family feels at all ill.  Please take this very seriously as part of our collective responsibility to each other.

As of the writing of this letter, we are expecting to be back to in person learning on April 19th.  That said, we know the landscape continues to evolve so we will send students home with Chromebooks for those who require them.  Similarly, we encourage students to take home personal belongings so school cleaning can be facilitated.  We will certainly be in communication if anything changes about our status for return on April 19th, 2021.

Yesterday we were able to communicate that a small portion of our staff, specifically our special education staff can begin vaccination.  This is a hopeful sign and it has energized us for the journey forward.   This is a critical time.  The end is in sight, but we must do our utmost to follow all guidance at this critical time so that we can have a safe, happy and healthy return to school for all.

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.  #InThisTogether 

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten                                                                       

Director of Education 

April 8th, 2021|

Vaccinations for Staff Providing Direct Personal Support to Students with Special Education Needs

April 7, 2021

For immediate release

Waterloo Region, ON — As the result of ongoing collaboration between Region of Waterloo Public Health, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, and the Waterloo Region District School Board, staff providing direct personal support to students with special education needs will now be eligible to receive their initial COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination plan prioritizes vaccines for those at greatest risk of severe illness and those who care for them. Planning for how to prioritize this staff group has been ongoing.

These staff members play a critical role in our schools, supporting our students with the most complex needs to ensure they are able to participate as fully as possible in learning each and every day. Prioritizing their access to vaccination is an important step in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, as these dedicated individuals work in close contact with highly vulnerable students, where physical distancing and mask wearing is not always possible, as well as providing personal care for prolonged periods of time.

‘We greatly appreciate the collaboration with Public Health in prioritizing the staff who work closely and provide care for our most vulnerable students, and we recognize the tremendous commitment of all of our staff to our students.’’ said John Bryant, Director of Education for the WRDSB.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Region of Waterloo Public Health to help us prioritize vaccination for our most vulnerable staff. We value the work and service of all our staff and this first step energizes us that things are moving in a hopeful direction.” added Loretta Notten, Director of Education for the WCDSB.

Eligible staff are being contacted directly with registration instructions. Ongoing conversations are taking place with Region of Waterloo Public Health to plan for the prioritization of vaccination for all educational staff as per the provincial framework.

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April 7th, 2021|

April is Parent Spring ParticipACTION Month

WCDSB’s Catholic Parent Involvement Committee has organized Spring events geared to revitalization and parents free this month.

DrumFIT (April 8 – open to families)
Starlight Yoga with Michelle Burns (April 28 – geared to parents)
Virtual Cooking (April 22)
Find your Way Back to Being Positive with Nancy Revie (April 27)

Attend a session and be entered to receive a $75 restaurant gift card (no exchanges).  Brought to you by the Ministry of Education PRO grants.

Sign up with this link!

 

family-spring

April 1st, 2021|

Special Easter Message from the Director of Education

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –

We have communicated a fair bit over the past year – certainly there have been more letters from my office than would normally be the case and we certainly know that there is a clear reason for that to be so.  The pandemic has changed our lives and has invited far more frequent communication.  Today I would like to reflect more meaningfully on just the next few days ahead.

We find ourselves in the midst of Holy Week as we prepare for the Holy Triduum.  We reflect on the fact that the only path to the joy of Easter Sunday is through the experience of the sorrow and loss of the crucifixion.  In many ways, this is an apt reflection for us as we impatiently wait for the end of our suffering and for the rebirth of our lives.  It has been a challenging year and I want to thank and acknowledge all our families for the confidence and partnership you have shown us.  We know that it has not been at all easy and there may yet be struggles ahead.

We need look no further than the example of Christ, who in His human form, prayed to God for strength and to be spared his suffering.  But God so loved the world that He gave His only son and it was through His love, that hope and rebirth was provided to all humankind.  As we look to the wondrous beauty of nature around us – as it is awakened and stirred into new life – may we know that hope is ours and that this darkness too shall pass.

I would like to take this opportunity to strongly ask that you not gather this weekend for Easter festivities.  Please confine your celebrations to your immediate family.  It is a hardship – there can be no doubt – but it is part of our collective responsibility to one another.  Please do not gather.  Please do not let children come together for play dates.  Please do not make exceptions to the guidance.  It will be a quiet Easter, but the end is in sight, and what we do now can really influence how we experience the last months of this pandemic before there is broader vaccination.

We will have more updates in the week to come, but today it is just a sincere wish for a happy and holy Easter season.  May all the hopeful jubilation that Easter Sunday brings be yours as we transition from the waiting and sadness of Lent to the unmatched joy of the resurrection.

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.  #InThisTogether 

Sincerely,

Loretta Notten

Director of Education

April 1st, 2021|

Public Consultation – Huron Brigadoon Boundary Review

Schools involved: Blessed Sacrament, John Sweeney, Our Lady of Grace, St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Virtual via Microsoft Teams Live

ThoughtExchange open now and closes April 14, 2021

Start Time: 6:00 p.m.

Brief Presentation at 6:00 p.m.
Questions & Answers period to follow

Purpose:

To present the preferred option (Option 1) and implementation recommendations, prior to finalizing the recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Information, including pre-recorded staff presentation, is available at:

https://www.wcdsb.ca/about-us/accommodations/huron-brigadoon-boundary-review/

Email: HuronBrigadoon@wcdsb.ca

March 31st, 2021|
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