January 21, 2022 – Parent Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

Our winter day camps got underway this week under sunny skies and with unseasonably warm temperatures. Although snow conditions on Monday were not suitable for cross country skiing or snowshoeing, students in the 6.1 and 6.2 classes were able to hike the property to locate the trail cameras and examine the many animal tracks in the snow, and learn about the sport of orienteering under the direction of University of Calgary outdoor educator and  former board director Gavin Peat. Orienteering requires students to develop map reading skills to locate way points throughout the FEC site. The students in the photo above are competing in an orienteering relay race to refine their route finding skills.

Try as we might to foster an environment of ‘normalcy’ within the school, we cannot escape the impact of COVID-19 as it nears the two-year anniversary from the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The rapid and widespread transmission of the Omicron variant, coupled with inconsistent and confusing messages from health authorities, has altered our approach and response to the coronavirus considerably. Here are some of the key points:

    • AHS is no longer conducting contact tracing. Together with the elimination of PCR testing to confirm positive cases, schools are not receiving complete information on the numbers of cases within our student population and therefore we cannot share positive case data with parents as it will be highly inaccurate and unverified;
    • We are focusing our energy on trying to minimize the spread of the variant by reinforcing the use of properly fitted masks, physical distancing, daily health checks, and staying home when symptoms are present or when a positive result is obtained on a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT);
    • We finally received our much anticipated shipment of medical grade masks and RAT kits from the government on Thursday. RAT kits were distributed to all students in attendance and masks were provided to grades 4 to 6 students. The masks for grade 7 to 9 students need to be counted into ziploc bags for distribution on Monday. More information on the rapid testing program is available at open.alberta.ca/publications/k-6-at-home-rapid-testing-program. Also, here is a link to an instructional video on how to administer a rapid test – www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4q7EuAbgE8 Note: Students who were absent on Thursday and did not receive their RAT kit or masks, will get them on Monday. Parents who wish to pick up these items due to an ongoing absence may do so by coming to the the front door of the school between 8:30am and 4:30pm on school days beginning Monday Jan. 24th and contacting the office staff using the intercom; 
    • We have been monitoring our absentee rate among students and staff since students returned on January 10th.  It is important to understand that there are many variables involved in the reporting of absences, including positive or presumed COVID positivity, students being kept home as a safety precaution, and those who may be absent for other reasons altogether. Any response that will result in a class, pod, or grade moving to online learning will be made by taking into account all of the variables in play, and will reflect our operational needs and limitations. Data relating to student absences alone will not be the sole criteria to influence our decisions;
    • We are particularly concerned about the vulnerability of our grade 4 to 6 students who are partially vaccinated at best;
    • Given the possibility of needing to shift to online learning on very short notice, parents are strongly advised to develop a plan for child support and supervision in advance.
    • Although there is no requirement for parents to report positive cases to the school, we appreciate those who do as it helps us create a more complete picture of our case count. Based on parent self-reporting we can share that there is at least one positive case of Omicron in each class through the school. Based on this, it is imperative that parents be continually monitoring children for COVID symptoms and taking appropriate steps when they appear. Upon receiving such reports we advise parents of the isolation requirements dictated by AHS at www.alberta.ca/isolation.aspx#requirements.  Following is an excerpt of the isolation and quarantine requirement:
  • Isolation helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people you could infect if you have symptoms or test positive by staying home and avoiding others. Effective January 3, Albertans are legally required to isolate as outlined below:
  • Fully vaccinated (2 doses or 1 dose Janssen): Isolate for 5 days from the start of symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer, if symptoms are not related to a pre-existing condition. For 5 days following isolation, wear a mask at all times when around others outside of home.
  • Not fully vaccinated (1 dose or less): Isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer, if symptoms are not related to a pre-existing condition.
  • If you test negative and have symptoms, you should still stay home and away from others until symptoms resolve.

Feasibility Study at Mount Royal University (Message from Superintendent Chris Gilmour)

As a charter school, we are committed to innovative, research-informed practices that provide engaging, meaningful opportunities for our students. For years, our Board of Directors has discussed the possibility of expanding to a second campus. Recently, Mount Royal University posted a request for proposals (RFP) titled MRU Feasibility Study “School Within a School”. In the RFP, Connect Charter School is identified as a possible partner.  The study will provide MRU with a detailed analysis of the possibility of establishing a school of choice on MRU grounds, appropriate timelines, next-steps and recommendations. This is very early in the exploration stage. I will keep the Connect community updated on this topic as new information emerges.

Parent Webinars

Unfortunately we have to reschedule our ADHD and Executive Functioning webinar that had been planned for January 19th. A new date will be confirmed and sent to parents once it can be determined.

TBD   Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning Mr. Les Redick will present the latest on executive functioning and ADHD. 

Parents are led through a discussion of how ADHD presents itself from early elementary school through to adulthood. Parents are shown what ADHD looks like at home and how it may look different at school. Parents are given strategies on how to manage ADHD at home and how to support teachers in the classroom. 

As a parent of a severe ADHD child, Mr. Redick will share personal experiences as he speaks to topics like: Time Blindness, Poor Social Skills, Emotional Outbursts, Homework Issues, Poor Problem Solving/Time Management, Drug Use and Medications. 

February 2, 2022 Centre for Sexuality 

Family, friends, and parents play an important role in the lives of children and youth who are 2S/LGBTQ+. Research shows that gender and sexually diverse youth experience improved health and well-being when supported by the adults in their lives. This workshop will increase participants’ knowledge and awareness of gender and sexual diversity including the differences between sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Participants will be given practical tools and resources to build comfort and skill in supporting and affirming 2S/LGBTQ+ children and youth.

Feb 2 – Lunch and Learn Webinar (12:00 – 1:00 PM): 

us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZErfuGgqT8tH9f982-B6-NXxc9lz5gxSSYd

Feb 2 – Participatory Evening Workshop (6:30 – 8:00 PM): 

us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwscO-tqT4rE9RZex3TlQwUQkZQXUusAk7n

Parent Society and School Council

Regular meetings of Parent Society and School Council will take place on Tuesday February 15th at 6:30pm and 7pm respectively. 

Connect’s first 50/50 Cash Raffle is live!

Our Parent Society has been successful in applying for a 50/50 raffle through AGLC. The raffle may be accessed at www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/ccps or by scanning the QR code below.

SKIP THE DEPOT

Do you have a garage full of bottles from the extended holiday break? Skip the Deport is a home recycling pick up service that donates 70% of returns to registered charities. Sign up and select Connect Charter School Council as your beneficiary. They also pick up used clothing and electronics, for free! skipthedepot.com

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day will take place on Wednesday February 23, 2022 www.pinktshirtday.ca 

In solidarity on this day the Connect Charter Community wears Pink to show that we support inclusivity and diversity.

PInk shirts will be available to purchase in our School Store until February 5th with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Build Them Up Foundation of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.  Deliveries will be made approximately February 16th.

store.kodiaksports.ca/stores/pink-connect

Important dates

Calendar connectcharter.ca/calendar/ 

January 17-March 8 Winter day camps (see calendar)

January 25 6:30-8pm New parent orientation for prospective grade 4 parents

February 2 6:30-8pm Parent Webinar – Centre for Sexuality (see above)

February 4 PD Day/ Non-instructional day – no classes

February 15 6:30-7pm Parent Society Meeting

7-8pm     School Council meeting

February 17-21 Family Day Weekend break

February 23 Pink Shirt Day

Grade 5’s get used to their cross country skis on Thursday at the FEC.

Have a wonder filled and safe weekend everyone,

Phil Butterfield
Principal