October 4 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

With 6 weeks of the 2020-21 school year behind us and as we enter the last week before fall break, it is important to reflect on some of the successes and challenges we have experienced in reopening our school in the midst of a pandemic. At the top of the list for successes needs to be the positive attitudes of our students and staff in adapting to new procedures that have significantly changed the way we teach and learn at Connect. All of these changes contribute to keeping our school community safe from COVID-19 and we are immensely grateful for the support of our parents in supporting our re-entry plan.

Our initiative to provide students with outdoor field experiences at Camp Riveredge reinforces our commitment to outdoor education and the value derived from the skills and relationships developed during those days. Thank you to our Riveredge team of John Cadman, Evan Ferguson, David Cloutier, Rob Pegg, and Lorrie Emin, as well as the homeroom teachers who showed such infectious enthusiasm for outdoor learning. We also wish to extend our gratitude to all the parent volunteers who joined these trips on short notice. 

We know there is a long and challenging road ahead before COVID-19 is brought under control and we must remain vigilant to ensure our precautions are sound and that COVID fatigue does not lead to a relaxation of our diligence. Please continue to support our efforts by revisiting the importance of wearing masks, remaining in cohorts, hand hygiene, and physical distancing with your children prior to returning from fall break.

This will be the last update before the break unless there is an urgent need to connect with our community. I anticipate the next riveting bit of narrative here will be coming your way on Oct. 18th. In the meantime, we have a very busy week ahead…

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Our mid-term parent-teacher conferences will take place on Tuesday October 6th from 4-8pm and Wednesday October 7th from 8am-1pm. Conference Manager is now open and you may schedule a conference at connectcharter.schoolsoft.com/login.jsf. If you had an IPP meeting with your child’s teacher during one of the last two Fridays, you do not need to schedule a conference for this week. New Connect families will need to create an account. Families with new siblings at Connect will need to “add” a student to your profile. If you have forgotten your password and want to reset it – click here.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Laurie Kangas at [email protected]

Camp Riveredge Schedule

Our final four cohorts will be going to Camp Riveredge this week:

Mon. Oct. 5 9.1-9.2 Cycling

Tues. Oct. 6 5.1-5.2 Parent drop off/pick up

Thurs. Oct. 8 5.3-5.4 Parent drop off/pick up

Fri. Oct. 9 4.3-4.4 Parent drop off/pick up

COVID-19 Daily Screening Update

We would first like to give a big shout out to parents who have been able to consistently screen their child in the morning for COVID-19 symptoms. We know this has been a big ask, but we also know from public health advice, that this is a part we all play in keeping our Connect community safe. Thank you for playing your part.

However, it should be noted that in some conversations with students being screened at school, we have heard reports that some of these screens are not being completed directly with your child. It is imperative that all families ask the questions to their children each morning – particularly the ones that might not be immediately apparent (e.g nausea, diarrhea, sore throat, etc.) including a daily temperature check. 

Physical distancing and outdoor mask breaks

Amid the hundreds of things we have learned since this pandemic raised its ugly and unwanted head 7 months ago, the variety of responses to wearing non-medical masks has been among the most emotional and controversial.  I’ll spare you the executive summary of the emails I have received from parents ranging from staunch anti-maskers to those wanting us to be even more stringent in when and where to don masks. Our indoor policy is clear and requires all staff, students, and visitors to wear masks. What might not be as clear is the expectation for masks outside.

So… here are some guidelines for masks outside:

  • Whenever possible, students should be able to remove their masks when outside; 
  • Generally speaking, the rule of wearing a mask when physical distancing of 2 metres is not possible still exists…staff will try to create activities where distancing allows for mask removal;
  • During phys ed, DPA, and/or recess, students may (and are encouraged to) remove their masks…and stay 2 metres apart. If they choose to get inside the 2 metre bubble together, they are making a choice to wear a mask;
  • In consultation with our public health nurse, Nasreen Sunderani, we have determined that when students are playing games or sports, including kickball, basketball, soccer, tag, or any activity that involves running, they may remove their mask for the duration of the activity even if they are in close proximity, and as long as there is 2 metres distance, may keep it off after the activity ends until just prior to re-entering the building…or to put it another way;
    • Physical activity + close contact = mask off if the student prefers, although they may choose to leave it on
      Sedentary activity + close contact = mask on
      Sedentary activity + 2 meter distancing = mask off

 

These guidelines are consistent with AHS and Alberta Education requirements. We also recognize that in some cases parents have directed students to keep masks on even when outside. 

Terry Fox Run

The Terry Fox Runs took place last week during phys ed classes. You may still make a donation to the Terry Fox Cancer Research Fund on behalf of Connect at secure.terryfox.ca/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?Referrer=%26Referrer%3dhttps%253a%252f%252fterryfox.org%252fschoolrun%252fparents%252f&TeamID=917403 

Tent Take Down – Volunteers needed

The large tents being used as outdoor learning spaces at Connect need to be taken down for the winter. We need 6 able bodied, and preferably on the tall side, people to assist us in taking down the tents on Thursday October 8th at 11:30am. We anticipate the work will be completed by 1:30-2pm. Security clearance is not required. Please register at Better Impact.

Safety Week October 5-9

Connect will be highlighting the importance of safety in and around the school as well as on buses in the coming days as part of Safety Week. Bus evacuations, lockdown and fire drill procedures, and playground safety will form part of the focus for these important reminders.

Band program returns to Connect

Instrumental music class will be available online this fall for ALL Connect students, including students in attendance at school, KeeBo and KeeBo plus students. 

Registration will be via email with Mr. Bolen. [email protected] 

Zoom sessions will be available during parent-teacher conferences this week to learn more about the program and how your child can participate in learning or continuing to learn intro guitar, piano, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Students with more than two years on an instrument can also register but must consult with Mr. Bolen first. 

Classes include learning the instrument through practice and small group sessions online, music theory and ear training and music appreciation. Scheduling will be determined by student enrollment and amount of similar instruments. 

Limited instruments are available for rent through the school but are fully available through Long & McQuade and St. John’s Music rental programs. 

Information sessions times are as follows:

Tuesday Oct 6 @ 6:00pm

zoom.us/j/95841680824?pwd=eHliRi9jSERIQ05tQ1BaaDd6ZGtuQT09

Wednesday Oct [email protected] 11:00am

zoom.us/j/93217080205?pwd=WEhzZk9sMERZRUNnUWdZaEErVVZmQT09

Library News

The library is now able to accept incoming books from last year or this year; any books that may have been at home with you over the summer should be coming back to school now! 

Our annual Scholastic Book Fair is going virtual on the Shopify app! All books will be delivered directly to your home, and our school learning commons will receive 20% of all proceeds to purchase more resources. Final dates will be announced after Fall Break!

Free Webinar

A free webinar entitled: Happily Family online conference: Raising resilient kids in an anxious world will take place Monday October 5th from 8am-5pm. More information and registration is available at:

www.theathenaforum.org/webinar-happily-family-online-conference-raising-resilient-kids-anxious-world

School Council News

Two quick notes about the upcoming week: 

  1. A friendly reminder that the mask sale closes on Friday, October 9th. The order instructions are at drive.google.com/file/d/13Y0FA37Fm-btBGjnp4RAw_AdSxO7923f/view
  2. Meat order pick-up day is Wednesday, October 7th. We’re looking for some volunteers to help out from 3:15 – 5:30 to organize orders and load them into vehicles for drive-through pickup. A few important points: 
  • If you have a current police clearance and can help out, please log in to Better Impact and click on Opportunities to sign up. The login page can be found here: app.betterimpact.com/Login/Volunteer.*
  • Volunteers will be required to complete the guest screening tool at www.connectcharter.ca/c19-visitor/
  • Volunteers will also be required to wear a non-medical face mask whenever a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
  • Please remember to bring a face mask and work gloves.

* If you do not already have a Better Impact account, click here to create one in just a few clicks: bttr.im/ta0ot. Note: When creating an account for the first time, it can take up to 24 hours for your account to be approved before you can sign up for opportunities.

Fundraising Update           

Bow River meats and Spolumbos orders will be ready for pick up on Wednesday October 7th, 4:30 pm from the Connect school parking lot

ALL ORDERS MUST BE PICKED UP – the school does not have space to keep your order frozen!  

To ensure the pickup line goes smoothly, please proceed north on 34th Street, turn right along the fence line in front of the school and then turn right going south into the alley towards the staff parking lot. Please do not try to get into the line from any other direction. 

Please remain in your vehicles and open your trunk (much like a drive thru) and the volunteers will place your order in your vehicle. This ensures the line keeps moving. If you have a question, pull ahead and over to the side and a volunteer will assist you. The lineup may look daunting but walk-ups create a large amount of chaos – the vehicle wait has always been 15 minutes or less. 

 Please have your seller summary with you to hand to our volunteers 

Have a wonderful week and a most excellent fall break.

Phil Butterfield

Principal