Good evening, St. Luke families!
You may have heard today’s announcement that schools will remain closed until May 1st, with students returning on May 4th (longer if needed). This is not the news we were hoping for but it does not come as a surprise. We are preparing this week for teacher-led distance learning, which will start on Monday, April 6th. We are also working on a distribution plan for students needing Chromebooks, and we will be in contact with those families soon. Please see the attached letter from our Director of Education and Chair of the Board:
Please tell your children we miss them so very much. Stay healthy, Lightning!
1. INTRODUCING – WCDSBLearn@Home
Dear Parents/Caregivers –
As you may be aware, on March 20th the Ontario government launched the Learn at Home online portal to provide resources for families so students can continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Learn at Home offers all students high-quality, made-in-Ontario math and literacy resources, created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French.
Elementary resources are designed to help young students learn at home with interactive activities that encourage participation through entertaining and stimulating digital content.
High school content was designed with a focus on STEAM courses and ensure core competencies and skills are reinforced. The government is also providing access to course content for students who take the initiative to refresh and extend their learning.
In conjunction with this important initiative, our staff continue to work very hard creating a plan to ensure that your child is connected to local learning opportunities on an ongoing basis as we navigate our way through these very challenging times.
If you have not already, you will soon be contacted by your child’s teacher to check in, explain what to expect in coming weeks and discuss any specific learning or resource needs. We look forward to moving to teacher-initiated learning beginning on Monday, April 6.
To assist in that process, we have developed our own WCDSBLearn @ Homewebsite.
In coming days we will be adding resources and information to help keep the learning process moving forward – including a link to all of the outstanding resources and ideas that were provided during #STEAMDays, as well as some important mental health and well being information.
The site will be updated regularly, as new resources become available. But starting April 6th you child will have regular Teacher-led learning coming directly to them. We are using the time to ensure we have equity of access and consistency in terms of how we are moving forward during these exceptional times.
We also want to again acknowledge that this could be a time of great uncertainty and anxiety for our students. We are 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.
Finally – we encourage you to continue closely following 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.
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 and the re-birth it brings.
2. READ AND WRITE HOME INSTALL INFO FOR PARENTS ON HOME DEVICES
Please refer to written instructions or video re how to install Read and Write at home:
3. MESSAGE FROM FATHER ALEKS AT ST. AGNES CHURCH
Dear Families, this health crisis has affected all of us, and certainly our daily lives. The situation continues to change so quickly, and with parish churches closed until further notice, there have been inquiries about the upcoming celebration of First Communion Masses.
We will have to wait on making a decision about changing dates, as it will be determined by directives from the Government of Ontario and the Diocese of Hamilton. We will keep you up to date as the awful situation continues.
Even though we can not gather personally for Mass in our parish church of St. Agnes, I welcome your family to worship as a community through internet live-streaming. Below are the options from the website.
Holy Mass is steamed from St. Agnes: Monday to Friday at 7:00 PM, and Saturday & Sunday at 10:00 AM.
Mass is accessible live through Zoom Cloud Meeting. Zoom can be loaded on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Click here: https://zoom.us/j/5053488770
* Please join us five minutes early to ensure that you have a little time to work out any difficulties connecting. You can also test your connection at any time by clicking the link. If you see a message that states “Please wait for the host to start this meeting”, your system is ready for Mass!
I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those who are, or may become, ill.
4. RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Please check out the following websites, which may be helpful to families as we cope with COVID-19:
Dear St. Luke families:
This week and next week, our Board and our school staff are working together to plan to move to teacher-led distance learning while students are out of school due to COVID-19. At the end of this two-week period, we hope to have a better understanding of the expectations for teacher-led distance learning and assessment from the Ministry of Education.
Classroom teachers will be making contact with all families this week, through D2L, Google Classroom, email, phone call, etc. to determine if any families require internet access and/or a learning device for their children. Please be sure to regularly check for updates from your child’s teacher as we aim to connect with every family by the end of the day on Friday, March 27th.
Until we are ready to proceed with our plan for teacher-led distance learning, please continue to access learning opportunities for your children through the Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home portal and the WCDSB Steam Days.
We will continue to keep you informed.
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.
Loretta Notten Bill Conway
Director of Education Chair of the Board
Dear St. Luke families:
It sure was unusual to not be back at school today after March Break. We hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy. Please see below for a few updates:
KIWANIS FESTIVAL – Unfortunately, the Kiwanis Festival has been cancelled so our choir will not be able to perform this year. Hopefully they will at least be able to perform for our school community before the end of the school year. They have been practicing so hard and will surely be disappointed in this news.
SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC – Please click on the link for a family resource to support students’ mental health at this time: https://smho-smso.ca/blog/how-to-support-student-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/.
STEAM DAYS – The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has launched a new online campaign called #STEAMDays to assist parents in keeping their children engaged and learning as we work our way through the unprecedented COVID-19 shutdown.
Please view the attached VIDEO to learn more.
In times like these, it is vital for one and all to come together – and #STEAMDays will provide a convenient platform for parents and educators alike to share ideas, resources and fun ways to keep the learning process going.
As ideas are shared, we will gather some of them and post via our website: www.wcdsb.ca/STEAMDays
Any assistance your organization can provide in helping communicate #STEAMDays would be most appreciated.
Please visit on social media via:
Twitter: @WCDSBNewswire #STEAMDays
Facebook: @wcdsb #STEAMDays
Instagram: @waterloocdsb #STEAMDays
LETTER FROM MINISTER OF EDUCATION – Please see the attached letter:
Lastly, please know that our staff members terribly miss being with our students and we look forward to being back together again. We hope you enjoy this poem, written recently by an Irish priest:
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
March 13th 2020
We have had to postpone or cancel a few of the activities that have been planned for the two-week period that schools are closed:
- Used Clothing Drive (postponed)
- Catholic School Advisory Council Meeting on March 23rd (cancelled)
- Intensive French Parent Meeting (moved from March 30th to April 20th from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.) – registration process is postponed accordingly
- Lenten Reconciliation on April 2nd (cancelled)
We will continue updating families on NewsWire as we receive more information.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) and the Government of Ontario reached a tentative collective agreement. As a result, OECTA has suspended all strike activity pending ratification of the agreement.
OECTA members across the province will participate in ratification votes on Tuesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 8, 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 well-being 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.