November 19 – Parent Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

This week has had us closely watching the devastation that has unfolded in British Columbia as floods, mudslides, and severed transportation routes have created chaos for our friends, neighbours, and relatives west of the Rockies. For those of us familiar with west coast winters, heavy rain is the norm from November to March, but a volume of this magnitude in such a short period of time is more than even the earth’s sponge of the coastal rainforests can absorb. As the clean up begins it is also an opportunity to open up a line of inquiry around the degree to which human impact is responsible for disasters of this magnitude and what measures need to be implemented to change the current course for our planet. Our students deserve to be part of that conversation as they will be implementing those changes and living with the outcomes.

It has also been a busy week at Connect with our grade 9’s going to the Field Experience Centre for a day of outdoor and experiential learning. We are now looking forward to the winter day camps beginning in January and running through to early March. With gratitude to our Parent Society we have ordered additional cross country ski boots to have sufficient sizes on hand to get a pod (2 classes) of students on skis at any one time. A huge thank you, as well, to the volunteers who will be working the casinos on Sunday and Monday nights as part of our major AGLC fundraising event of the year. We look forward to determining how best to use the proceeds to further enrich student learning experiences at Connect.

Please remember that Monday November 22nd is a professional development day for staff and therefore a non-instructional day for students. 

COVID-19 Update

Proof of Vaccine Requirement 

Effective December 1st, all adults entering any Connect Charter School facility are required to provide a valid COVID-19 vaccination QR code or proof of negative PCR test within the last 72 hours, accompanied by photo id when requested. A QR code scanning kiosk will be located inside the front foyer of the school. The iPad that scans the QR codes is connected to a monitor in the main office where staff will verify your code and identity before you are permitted to enter the main part of the building.If you are volunteering on a school field experience that is starting at the school or on an in-school activity, you will need to scan your QR code and wait to be admitted. If you are providing proof of a negative PCR test, you will need to hold it on the scanner while office staff verify the details and your identity.

If you are dropping off an item for your child, you will be able to do so by using the intercom to gain access, leaving the item on the designated table inside the entrance, and then exiting the building without scanning your QR code. You may still pick up your child by using the intercom to contact the office and waiting outside the door until your child meets you. 

If you are participating in an activity at the Field Experience Centre and are providing your own transportation with no children other than your own in the vehicle, you will be asked to provide your QR code or negative PCR test for verification by a staff member on site at the FEC.

There will likely be some growing pains as this protocol is implemented. We will make adjustments as necessary to streamline the process. Your patience and understanding are appreciated as we introduce this new measure to maintain student and staff safety.

Vaccine for Children aged 5-11 years

Health Canada has approved COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years as of Friday November 19th. We do not currently have details of the vaccine rollout in Alberta, however we will share those details with our school community as they are made available. Current COVID-19 protocols will remain in effect at Connect and will be reviewed when sufficient time has passed to reasonably expect children and parents to have accessed a double dose of vaccine for children as recommended by health authorities. 

Peace Festival 

We are pleased to be planning for the return of our Peace Festival celebrations once again! Of the many events and activities we have lost over the past couple of years due to the pandemic, we know that the loss of the Peace Festival was perhaps one of the most difficult for our school community. The sense of community and opportunities for extraordinary citizenship that this event brings is needed now more than ever. The grade 9 team has begun planning some awesomeness for our final week at school before winter break. They have decided on the theme “Even in these times we are a community.”  As in previous years, there will be a speaker series and amazingly fun indoor and outdoor activities, more details to come. In addition to this, to encourage whole school participation we would like to begin the tradition of each grade contributing to the Peace Festival season in a unique way. 

During a break from outdoor activities at the FEC, grade 9 students began planning for the upcoming Peace Festival.

Preparing Students for Winter

As the weather becomes colder, it is becoming increasingly important that students are well prepared to wait for buses, outside activities,  and PE/DPA/recess. The past few weeks have been a good opportunity for students to take inventory of how their extremities have felt after a few hours outside in colder/windy conditions.  Many students have indicated cold hands and feet and have also regretted not having a toque, instead just relying on a hood. Layers are key during the fall, winter, and spring in Alberta.  Wool socks also do wonders at keeping toes warm. (Costco has a great pack of children’s wool socks for a very reasonable price!) We have attached a handy information sheet on how to dress to be comfortable at different temperatures.  Another great resource is 10 tips to make sure kids dress warmly enough in winter with specific examples for different types of gear.

Spending time outdoors is an important part of the learning at Connect and something we value as a community. Students spend considerable time outside every day so coming to school prepared is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  

Messages from the Office

Masks

Although we can, and do, provide disposable masks, we are going through hundreds every other day.  Please send your student to school with 2-3 masks, so they have an available one when they need it.

Attendance

Students are expected to be in homeroom by 8:40am to be present for attendance.  If they are absent for attendance-taking, they must come to the Office to sign in the late book.

For all absences, late notifications and early pickup requests, please email [email protected]

Important Dates

connectcharter.ca/calendar/ 

November 22  PD Day/Non-instructional day (no school for students)

November 29  Term 1 report cards available on PowerSchool; Term 2 begins

December 2   Student-led conferences (virtual – 4:30-8pm)

December 3  Student-led conferences (virtual – 8am-1pm)

December 16 Last day of classes for students before winter break

December 17  PD Day/Non-instructional day – no classes

December 18-January 2 Winter break – school closed

January 3, 2022  Classes resume

Enjoy a great weekend,

Phil Butterfield
Principal