December 6 Update

Good afternoon Connect parents;

We have now completed the first week of a hybrid program with grade 7 to 9 students learning from home and grades 4 to 6 in school. In typical Connect fashion, students and staff have adapted to these new circumstances with considerable planning and attention to ensuring students receive the support required to succeed in an online environment. There is no escaping the reality that in-school learning is more effective for most students, and we will continue to look forward to having all our students return to the school on January 11th following the week of January 4-8, in which all grades will be learning from home.

Student-led conferences for grades 4 to 8 and high school meetings for the grade 9s took place Thursday evening and Friday. Feedback received so far from teachers and parents is that the 30 minute format, using breakout rooms in Zoom, was an efficient way to highlight student achievement for term 1. Thank you to everyone for accommodating this new approach to conferences. We are certainly open to constructive suggestions to further improve conferences for term 2 as we anticipate still needing to conduct them remotely in March.

As you are likely aware from the flurry of emails sent out on Thursday evening, we were advised of two positive cases of COVID-19, and as a result of our own contact tracing we were able to ensure all those who may have had contact were notified quickly and are now isolating in accordance with AHS requirements. The following excerpt from the AHS website may help to clarify the process we used:

If a student is a close contact of someone confirmed to have COVID-19, they must quarantine and stay home for 14 days. This longer period of time is required because the incubation period of COVID-19 is two weeks. Close contacts include people who:

  • take care of someone with COVID-19 or had contact through touch with the person with COVID-19
  • were close to that person for a long time, or
  • were coughed or sneezed on by that person

AHS will confirm and contact close contacts when there is a case at school and will contact parents and staff.

Generally, the entire classroom is considered to be close contacts of the case. This is a cautious approach to identifying close contacts in order to minimize the risk of transmission.

This means that if a student tests positive for COVID-19, all of their classmates must quarantine and stay home for 14 days. Additionally, all of these classmates should also be tested for COVID-19. Even if a classmate of a case is tested and the result is negative, they still must complete the 14 day quarantine.

Further detailed information for parents concerning responses to close contact with a positive case may be found at: www.alberta.ca/k-to-12-school-re-entry-2020-21-school-year.aspx#toc-4 

Thank you to everyone who has been diligent in submitting accurate daily screenings, monitoring symptoms, keeping children home when they appear sick, and arranging COVID-19 tests prior to students returning to school after a period of isolation or when symptomatic. Your cooperation and support in helping to decrease the spread of the coronavirus is greatly appreciated.

Zoom recordings 

An interesting question was raised last week regarding the recording of Zoom classes and webinars. Parent webinars and presentations are often recorded so they can be available for viewing by those unable to attend in real time. When student activities are recorded there may be a question of potential privacy infringements. As we are shifting back to online learning for a period of time, it is important to know that any time an online session is going to be recorded, all participants must be notified by the facilitator and may turn off video and audio until the recording is complete. Teachers have been advised to refrain from recording regularly scheduled online classes, however any online meetings involving one student and a staff member, should be recorded to protect both parties. This is the online equivalent of a staff member ensuring another adult is present before having a conversation with a student in the school.

Transportation

Despite the Government’s announcement to move all grade 7-12 students to at-home learning effective November 30, 2020, our busing routes remain the same. Connect will continue to honour the full transportation contract in place with our service provider. At this time, we will not be providing reimbursements to our grade 7-9 families that are enrolled in our transportation program and are affected by this change. The recent pivot to at-home learning in grades 7-12 is in place until January 11, 20201. In the Spring, we will commit to reviewing transportation costs and if necessary, make adjustments. We are trying to be as flexible as we can with our families by providing choice and at the same time being fiscally responsible. Thank you for your understanding.

Article Series

Before the era of COVID began, we had been developing a series of articles to profile the amazing people who make up our school community and to ensure parents are informed about key issues related to Connect. Although COVID-19 is still very much with us, we want to share the stories of some of the unsung heroes of our staff…our substitute teachers. Our subs often don’t know which class they will be in from day to day but they are endlessly enthusiastic and willing to take on any and all assignments that come their way. Here is an introduction to some of our subs:

www.connectcharter.ca/2020/12/04/elementor-34652/ 

Last week of school

A committee of staff are working on a plan for the last week of school before winter break from Dec. 14-18. A variety of outdoor activities will be planned for grades 4 to 6 at school, using the school’s outdoor spaces and the Lakeview skating rink. 

One important aspect of the week is that student attendance will be optional.  Based on your degree of concern for virus spread and your capacity to have your child (ren) home, you may decide they will stay out of school for one or more days of the final week. We feel that providing this flexibility for parents and students takes into consideration family needs amid very unusual and anxiety inducing circumstances. A full schedule of activities will be sent to parents by Friday afternoon so you and your child can review it in case it helps in determining days at school. If you decide your child will be absent on one or more days during that week, you will still need to record their absence with the office.

School Council News

For parents wishing to drop off teacher/staff gifts at the school, there will be a gift table in the building front foyer from December 14th – 17th. Please ring the bell for entry, and an office staff member will let you in to drop off your gift. 

The iPad Reading Accessibility webinar held on Nov. 25 was recorded and it is available at 

drive.google.com/file/d/1eiN7OrQIum5YTkuAFDpnfSqkoGlKkjL6/view?ts=5fc7a80d

The next parent webinar, Screen Time on the iPad will take place on Dec. 9th at 7pm

via Zoom at connectcharter-ca.zoom.us/j/97647785259?pwd=ZTM5bVpBTDlQbVhLOTBtTUpyK1Zadz09

This workshop supports development of a family screen time plan, which includes building trust and transparency, and informing your conversations around how your child is using their device. This is the evolution of “parental controls” and a great refresher on our Empowered Use Policy.

School Council wishes all families in our Connect community a safe and happy winter break. 

Calgary Regional Consortium Sessions for Parents

The CRC provides professional development support for educators and families. They have organized a Parent Support Series to provide guidance for families through the pandemic.

Have a wonderful week everyone,

Phil Butterfield

Principal