Pivot to Virtual Learning after Spring Break

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 Break Message for Families

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

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

Go to Top