Please see the message below from the Minister of Education.
The Government of Ontario has announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of this current school year. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Please visit https://wcdsblearnathome.wcdsb.ca for all the most up-to-date information.
The official government announcement is available here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/health-and-safety-top-priority-as-schools-remain-closed.html
Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –
We hope that you found ways to enjoy the Mother’s Day Weekend despite the less than spring-like weather and that fact that many of us were unable to celebrate in the more traditional ways that have characterized years past. It has been a few weeks since we have connected, so we thought it important to offer you a few important updates. As always, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that you are finding ways to stay healthy and positive. We want to commend our WCDSB community for the impactful and joyous ways we managed to still celebrate Catholic Education Week. Few of us could have predicted how appropriate or needed our theme of Igniting Hope would be. It was truly heartening to see the many videos, messages, artwork, pictures and reflections of hope in our schools and homes. Truly we believe we all feel the importance of our faith and our community at this time.
We are now settling into our journey of educator-led distance learning. We know that for some it will be going well and that for a variety of reasons, for others, it may still be a challenge. Our realities are each different and at Waterloo Catholic we are working hard to ensure the best possible experience for our students. You may recall the invitation we gave our stakeholders in the week of April 14th to 21st to engage in a Thought Exchange where you were invited to share your concerns and questions. We have now processed all that feedback and we would like to share with you what you said and how we would like to respond.
We are pleased to report that we had over 1,900 respondents, 1,700 thoughts and 37,000 ratings. We had a broad cross-section of voices and the number of respondents from each group was a good representation of that stakeholder group. Parents in general did reflect that they appreciate the efforts of their children’s teachers and we could certainly not be prouder of the hard work of so many to connect our students with learning at this time. Elementary parents told us that they can be over-whelmed at times with balancing their own responsibilities and their children’s learning, that sometimes they need better clarity on what is optional and that they would appreciate a better sense of routine. Perhaps most of all – they desire that connection between educator and home. Secondary parents are also looking for clear communication and want to remain involved in their child’s learning. They would like to see the inclusion of synchronous (‘Live”) learning or video conferencing. And there remains a concern about their children’s report cards and post-secondary impacts.
We would like to report that we have heard you. We continue to provide our teachers with further guidance and clarity about assessment, evaluation and reporting during this time of distance learning. We have also worked on staff communications that are intended to strengthen consistency and clarity of expectation, while also looking at ways to solidify our collaboration with one another as staff. We have heard you that a sense of routine is important and we will be working to reinforce that message. We are also providing further professional development on good practices connected to synchronous learning, which remains an option in a teacher’s toolkit. No student should be adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 school closure and we are working hard to ensure that is the case. We know that equity issues matter to you and we are doing our best to bridge gaps, but providing resources and supports where they are needed to the best of our ability.
We are most appreciative to our staff who have worked so hard to put provisions in place so that we could reach all of our students. One common theme regardless of stakeholder group- was the desire for connection. We miss one another – and that is both heartening and normal. Schools are remarkable places where relationship and community are forged, and maintaining that strong sense of connection is hard work. We hope you will agree with us that our staff have certainly risen to the occasion and we know that each one has put their best foot forward in support of our students. The sense of care and the love for their students is evident. The physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our students remains our priority. That said – we will continue to prioritize this work and the strong sense of family that we have as the community of Waterloo Catholic.
We know that further clarity about the length of the closure is likely to come later this week. Full clarity about our return or what that might look like when we do return, may still be a while in coming, but we are committed to sharing those details when we have them. We also know that seminal spring events such as communions, confirmations and graduations are currently being re-imagined. We are hopeful that we will be able to have fall convocations for our graduates. We know that you are missing the opportunity to celebrate this spring. There are some virtual and media events which will assist in the short-term. Communions will be re-scheduled in the fall, parish by parish, as we are able. Similarly, once we are able, more information will follow about confirmations, as we learn about the availability of the Bishop and/or Vicar, and balance that with the size of the confirmandee class. There is an intention to proceed, once we are able.
As always, on our WCDSB board website you will find from our home page a link to WCDSBLearn@Home where a host of additional resources for all learners will be found. We also encourage you to continue to visit our WCDSBPray@Home webpage as well as our FAQ page.
Finally – as we have said before, we do encourage you to closely follow any and all directives from our governments and Region of Waterloo Public Health. As we have reflected before – we are apart but never closer. Let us commit to being there for one another. Reach out to us through your local school. While our Thought Exchange is done for now, we are still interested in hearing from you and walking with you. 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. #WCDSBTogether.
Loretta Notten Bill Conway
Director of Education Chair of the Board
|Holy Spirit wishes to extend our best wishes for a most blessed Mother’s Day! We would love to honour all the women who support and nurture our most precious gift, the students of WCDSB! During this time we realize that heading out to purchase a token of appreciation is not possible so with this consideration we would ask that you please have your child open the following link and present the “gift” wherein to you! Happy Mother’s Day!|
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!
All families and students are invited to celebrate Catholic Education Week with us during the week of May 3-8. The overall theme is: Igniting Hope and there are five sub-themes:
Monday: Our Hope in Christ
Tuesday: The Hope Within Us
Wednesday: The Hope Among Us
Thursday: Hope for the World
Friday: A Future Full of Hope
We also hope that all families will join the Bishop in a Virtual Mass on Friday, May 8th at 10 AM. More information can be found on the WCDSB Pray@Home site.
If you would like to place an order for the Lifetouch school pictures that were taken earlier this year, go to mylifetouch.ca. Free shipping to your homes will be available until May 31, 2020, when you order on mylifetouch.ca with promo code SMILES. Locate your access credentials on your proof sheet if you have it or call 1-866-457-8212 and Lifetouch will help locate your credentials.
School Closures Extended to Keep Students, Staff and Families Safe
Students Will Still Be Able to Complete School Year
|April 26, 2020 12:30 P.M.|
Ministry of Education
TORONTO — Today, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020, as part of an effort to keep students, staff and families safe from COVID-19.
The extension was based on expert advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health officials on the COVID-19 Command Table and is part of the government’s ongoing effort to stop the spread of the virus. The advice was to extend school closures for an additional period of time to permit updated modelling and data to inform next steps, given the government’s absolute commitment to safety.
“We will do whatever it takes to keep our students safe,” said Minister Lecce. “The government is taking a careful approach which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning.”
The government took immediate action to close schools in Ontario, the first in Canada to do so. The ministry continues to monitor the evolving situation and if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s school communities.
At the same time the Ontario government is taking steps to ensure learning can continue. In March the province unveiled its Learn at Home portal. It offers all students high-quality resources, featuring made-in-Ontario math and literacy resources, created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French. Elementary resources are designed to help young students learn at home with interactive activities that encourage participation through entertaining and stimulating digital content. High school content was designed with a focus on STEM courses and ensures core competencies and skills are reinforced.
At the end of March the Ministry of Education unveiled the second phase of Learn at Home to ensure the continuity of learning for students. This included providing clarity for parents, enhancing education supports and creating opportunities for educators to connect with students.
The government has also partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help meet the educational needs of students and families during the COVID-19 outbreak. iPads are being purchased and distributed by Ontario school boards, pre-equipped with free Rogers LTE wireless data. Apple is providing on-going support in French and English to teachers, parents and students, with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home. To date, over 20,000 iPads have been sent to targeted families in need. The free Rogers wireless data will be available until the end of June.
“Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario’s students will be able to complete their school year with confidence,” added Minister Lecce. “In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education.”
- Should schools be permitted to reopen, school employees will have access as of May 29, 2020.
- The Ministry of Education will move forward to replace the remainder of Professional Activity (PA) days and examination days with instructional time, as well as the introduction of an expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading. Boards are to find solutions at the local level in keeping with this direction while upholding collective agreement obligations.
- Private schools, First Nation schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will remain closed until May 6, 2020, with certain exceptions for licenced care, under an emergency order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which only allows closures to be extended for 14 days at a time.
- Through the Ontario Together web site, the province received more than 300 proposals from businesses, organizations and everyday Ontarians to provide solutions to remote learning while schools are closed during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Next steps will be shared soon.
Please call the device support number below for issues such as connecting to the internet or hardware issues with WCDSB-owned devices.
Hours of support are 8AM to 4PM, Monday to Friday.
519-578-3677 Ext: 2316