April 25 Update

ConnectFLEX is being advertised throughout Calgary. 

Good afternoon Connect Parents;

As I look out the window at another snowy Sunday it is hard to believe it will be nearing 20C by later in the week and spring will once again be with us, hopefully for longer than just a few days. We are a week away from starting our first round of day camps at Camp Riveredge and our phys ed, art, and music teachers have been busy planning a program of activities that are fun and engaging for students while respecting the public health restrictions on outdoor gatherings. 

We will be setting up a large event tent at Camp Riveredge on Monday May 3rd, beginning at 10am. The set up requires about 6 volunteers to make the process smooth and uneventful. If you are able to help out from 10am to 2pm, please send me an email to [email protected]. Volunteers will be required to complete a COVID screening and wear masks while in close proximity to others. A map to Camp Riveredge is at www.google.com/maps/place/YMCA+Camp+Riveredge/@51.0067749,-114.0915678,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x11ed9afed4278222!8m2!3d51.0067749!4d-114.0915678  

The schedule for Camp Riveredge is as follows:

Round 1:

Camp Riveredge consent forms will be available in Power School this week and you will receive notification from your child’s homeroom teacher when you can access the form. Grade 4 and 5 students will need to be dropped off and picked up from Camp Riveredge; there will be supervision available for early drop off and late pick up times – more information will be sent this week with those details. Grade 6 to 9 students will be using school bikes to cycle to camp, a distance of about 5km.

Thank You…

…to one of our wonderful parents who has purchased coffee gift cards for our entire staff! Milena Radzikowska – a grade 6 parent, organized a collection from the community including some Connect parents, and purchased coffee gift cards for staff working in schools in the Lakeview area. The generosity and support of our parents is truly appreciated.

Enrichment Fees

At the School Council meeting on Tuesday I provided an overview of how enrichment fees are being distributed during the pandemic. The graphs below (prepared by our Secretary-Treasurer, Amanda Au-Yeung) provide a comparison between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Given that most of the enrichment fee is spent at the beginning of the school year, this comparison is considered an accurate reflection of relative expenses from before and during the pandemic.  It may seem odd that outdoor education costs are actually higher this year than last despite there not being any multi-day trips this year. This is due to the substitute teacher costs associated with the number of release days required for teachers to facilitate camp activities. The outdoor ed expenses also reflect the use of Camp Riveredge for both fall and spring day camps. In a ‘normal’ year, the second multi-day trip in the school year is an additional cost to parents. Enrichment fees do not cover all the costs of outdoor education, technology, electives, etc… but supplement our operational budget in these categories.

Rapid Testing Program

The first round of optional rapid testing for students and staff took place on Friday. The second, follow up test for those with signed consent forms on file, will take place on Thursday April 29th. Consent forms that were signed and returned last week provide informed consent for both tests and no further consent will be required. If you wish to withdraw consent and not have your child tested in the second round, please send me an email and their name will be removed from the testing list. As a reminder, the testing team will only notify parents of children who test positive. At this point we do not know if further rounds of rapid testing will be made available to Connect. We have been directed by Alberta Education not to disclose any testing response rates or statistics. Weekly updates will be provided by government officials. For those who question the purpose and usefulness of rapid testing, below is the rationale provided by AHS:

“The rapid screening test program is expanding to more schools and regions. Screening students and staff can quickly identify people without symptoms who may have COVID-19. 

This will allow students and staff to isolate sooner and help reduce the virus spread. 

Rapid screening tests are another tool, along with health measures already in place at schools, to keep students and staff safe. 

Schools will be selected based on a variety of factors, including how prevalent COVID-19 cases are in a school or community.” 

The selection of Connect to be part of the expanded rapid testing program was due, in part, to the ‘alert’ status that has been placed on the school following a number of positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts. Ultimately, the decision to add our school to the program was initiated by AHS as a means of identifying any asymptomatic positive cases in the school.

Hoping for the best and planning for…anything and everything else!

As COVID case numbers remain high in the Calgary zone, we have begun a process of contingency planning in the event we need to transition some or all grades to an online learning scenario. To be clear, at the present time we are committed to continuing in-person classes for all grades but are also trying to be proactive in having appropriate plans in place if needed. In the event there is going to be a shift to online learning on any level, we will endeavour to provide parents with 48 hours notice of the pending change.

To reiterate previous messages on this topic, we are fully aware of the increasing anxiety being felt by some students and parents around in-person learning and interactions of any kind with other people at the present time. Being mindful that mental wellness is equally important to physical well being, we respect the difficult choice that some parents may make in exercising their discretion to have students learn from home for a period of time. If keeping your child home is a choice you make, please notify your child’s teachers and [email protected]. Assignments and resources will be available to your child on SeeSaw. They may keep in touch with their teachers by email, and some teachers, based on the magnitude of their responsibility for in-person learning, may schedule Zoom sessions with students at home, although this cannot be an expectation. Students who are learning from home may still join their class for the Camp Riveredge day, however parents will need to drop off and pick up children from camp.

We sincerely hope we will be able to continue providing in-person learning for all grades until the end of June, however we want to be as transparent as possible about our contingency planning to lessen the element of surprise if a change needs to take place.

ConnectFLEX is being advertised throughout Calgary. Please share the PDF below with your networks.


Spirit Wear Online Store

We are happy to say that our school store will be open once again, beginning Monday, April 19th and closing Friday, April 30th.  Items will be delivered to the school on May 20th, happy long weekend gifts to go home with students.

The store has had a few items removed due to slow sellers but there are still some great items to choose from. This will be the LAST order before the end of the school year. The link to the store is: store.kodiaksports.ca/stores/connect-school.

Fundraising Opportunity

School Council’s last fundraiser of the year is now underway. The TeamFund sale is offering products from Bow River Meats and Spolumbos Sausage. 

Check it out here: connectcharterschool.myteamfund.ca and click “JOIN OUR FUNDRAISER”. Orders will be accepted until Thursday, April 29th at 11:00 pm. 

If you have friends or family who may be interested in purchasing, you can easily share your personal link to these supporters once you are signed up. 

Order pickup will be Wednesday, May 12th.

Thanks again for your support of our school. Every order counts!

Finally, a reminder that Friday April 30th is a professional development day for staff and therefore is a non-instructional day for students. Have a safe and healthy week everyone;

Phil Butterfield