December 13 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

I imagine there are varying degrees of anticipation and anxiety for many of you as we check off the last few school days before winter break. The upcoming holiday season will be like none most of us have experienced before, being separated from family and friends and relying on media like Zoom and Google Meet to stay connected. There is an undercurrent of hope, now that vaccines are slowly being distributed globally, and while hope is something we all need and will cling to right now, we must not lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 is still very much part of our lives, and the precautions and measures we have relied on to keep our school community safe must still be adhered to, likely for several more months to come. The daily screening tool, hand hygiene, physical distancing, wearing masks, and staying home when symptomatic are some of the vital contributions we can all make to change the course of the virus curve in the next few weeks.

Normally, the last week before winter break is given over to Peace Festival, a celebration of our school community and the diversity we enjoy. Grade 9 students plan and facilitate activities for the school and we have a culminating school-wide assembly on the afternoon of the last day before 620 smiling faces head out the door, eagerly looking forward to a two week break. Our planning for the last week of school this year has been complicated by COVID-19 and a number of factors, not the least of which is having half our students and staff teaching and learning online while the other half are attending school in person. Trying to develop any kind of uniform and cohesive plan for all our students has been challenging to say the least. Our grade 7 to 9 students, and those registered in KeeBo, will continue with the online schedule from Monday to Thursday of this week. Grade 4 to 6 students who are in attendance will be spending a considerable amount of time outside.  As of Friday afternoon, the phys ed team was able to finalize a schedule that had been up in the air due to uncertainty over the availability of some facilities. (See below for more details)

There have been some inquiries and feedback from parents regarding the messaging that grade 4 to 6 attendance this week is optional, or that we are strongly encouraging people to exercise that option in order to reduce the number of people, and contacts, within the school. I apologize for any confusion or additional anxiety these messages may have caused. The intent is to provide parents with the option to keep their child(ren) home if schedules and capacity permit. I am very aware that for some parents, finding child minding is simply not possible, and there are those who believe strongly that it is in their child’s best interests to have the social interaction at school prior to winter break. I respect those perspectives and will reiterate that we are trying to offer choices to parents during a very uncertain time when many choices in other aspects of our lives are limited. Staff will welcome those grade 4 to 6 students who are in attendance and lots of activities will be planned through the week to keep them outside and having fun. Hopefully we will devote a few days to Peace Festival in the spring when we can all be back at school and perhaps in closer proximity. In spite of the restrictions and adjustments we have had to make, we will be conducting a grade 7, 8, and 9 assembly via Zoom on Friday December 18th at 1pm, followed by a grade 4, 5, and 6 assembly at 2pm. 

Grade 4 to 6 Activites…what to bring?

A note from the phys ed team…

Students should bring the following items to PE/Comp everyday:

– gloves

– winter boots

– winter jacket

– winter hat

– winter pants

For the purposes of adding flexibility to participate in skating at the ice rink (based on numbers), we would like students to bring their skates on the following days only. Please note that the day on the schedule next to the specific class is the PRIMARY skating day for that class. Students might have the opportunity to skate twice depending on the number of skaters on any given day. 

.1/.2 classes please bring the following on MONDAY and TUESDAY:

.3/.4 classes please bring the following on WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY:

– skates (if they own them)

– helmets (hockey, bike, snowboarding etc)

– gloves

– hockey stick (optional)

The activity schedule is as follows:

First Week of Classes Following Winter Break

Alberta Education is mandating that all schools in the province shift to online learning for the week of January 4-8, 2021. Teachers will be sending out schedules for synchronous and asynchronous online sessions later this week. Assuming we will all be back in school as planned on January 11th, the impact on Connect is one of 4 school days as Friday January 8th is a scheduled PD/non-instructional day. If there are any changes to the online learning mandate, you will be notified immediately.

Phys Ed Staff article

As you can see from the work that has gone into planning this coming week’s activities, our phys ed staff play an integral role in the culture, community spirit, and development of extraordinary citizenship within our school.  The attached article highlights some of the activities our dynamic phys ed team has undertaken so far this year.

A Note from School Council…Staff gift drop off

If you are wishing to drop off any non-perishable item of gratitude for any staff member, a table will be set up inside the front doors in the IAC. Ring the buzzer by the front door and you will be buzzed in to make the drop. Please make sure all items are clearly marked with the staff members name.

iPad Screen Time Presentation 

The iPad screen time presentation co-presented by David Cloutier and Sheila Dillon-Leitch of Apple Canada on Dec. 9th, is available as a recording for those who were unable to participate. The link is being sent within the text of the cover email for this update.

There will be one more brief update on Friday to summarize the week and provide any new details that may be forthcoming regarding post-winter break classes.

Until then…stay safe everyone.

Phil Butterfield