January 10 Update

Our stint of online learning is now behind us and we will be welcoming all our students, with the exception of those registered in KeeBo, back into the school building tomorrow morning. Our teachers and support staff have done an amazing job of creating engaging classes online and continually raise the bar ever higher in terms of providing exemplary teaching and learning to our students through a variety of challenging circumstances.

There has been considerable public debate recently regarding the wisdom of having students return to in-person classes tomorrow. I have also been asked if Connect Charter School can independently make a decision to move to partial or complete online learning if that would better serve students at this stage in the pandemic. By way of clarifying these points, it is important to bear in mind that decisions on whether students learn from home, in school, or a hybrid of the two platforms, is the decision of Alberta Education, and as a public school we are required to comply with those directives. In order for Alberta Education to consider granting permission for us to operate differently, a significant COVID-19 outbreak would have to be evident in our school that was having a significant impact on our ability to staff our classrooms adequately. That is not the case with Connect, and we are determined to welcome back our students tomorrow and do everything possible to make sure our school community remains healthy as we reconnect for the first time since November 27th. The Minister of Education has provided further rationale for the return to school at www.alberta.ca/article-letter-to-parents.aspx

As we all want to look forward to widespread distribution of a vaccine and putting COVID-19 behind us, our reality remains one of ongoing vigilance to ensure precautions and safeguards are being implemented. We spent a significant amount of time during our PD day on Friday reviewing and updating COVID protocols ahead of our students’ return. There will be, by necessity, a renewed sense of urgency to reinforce protocols including daily screening, mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene, cohorting, designated entrances, respiratory etiquette and expectations for eating lunch and snacks. Teachers, support staff, and administration will be addressing all of these elements with students on Monday and in the days ahead to ensure clear understanding and compliance. A very detailed and comprehensive slide presentation has been developed to address virtually every aspect of our COVID-19 strategy. Students will be taken through the slides at a pace and intensity appropriate for their grade, with an emphasis on understanding ‘why’ these protective measures are required. You may view the slide presentation at docs.google.com/presentation/d/1cBGmeCMxrm0TnEkznYk6rCXOSY4GUBM-YFo50tuDXT0/edit?ts=5ff9fd99#slide=id.g82ad50bcc1_2_100 and I encourage you to process this material at your own pace but also to have supportive conversations with your children to reinforce the importance of these protocols. Students who receive mixed messages from home and school become confused, frustrated, and may lose trust in the significant adults in their life. These protocols are designed and intended to protect your children and our staff from the coronavirus; your support in helping us to achieve this goal is appreciated more than you can imagine….thank you.

Information and Guidance for Parents from our Public Health Nurse, Nasreen Sunderani  

Information from The Minister of Education

The decision to resume in-class learning on January 11 was reaffirmed after careful consideration of the importance of attending school in-person, as well as the latest evidence of COVID-19 cases dropping in all school-age groups in December.

Understandably, some of you are feeling anxious due to the rise of COVID-19 in our communities and around the world. I want to assure you that we have a comprehensive plan to continue student learning throughout the pandemic and we are ready to make adjustments when necessary. The safety of your children, their teachers and all school staff remains our top priority.

It’s important to recognize the tremendous effort Alberta schools, teachers and parents have put in every day to diligently follow the extensive health measures. As a result, only 0.4% of students and staff tested positive in total from the beginning of the school year until the winter break. 

Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer of Health confirmed that the protocols in place are protective against in-school transmission and analysis of all our cases in school-aged children indicated that only 6% of these cases were determined to have been acquired at school.

The hope of going back to a familiar daily routine of learning in schools will restore some sense of normalcy for students and families amidst these unusual times.

Current COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 continues to put significant strain on our healthcare system. Albertans need to continue to follow public health measures to limit the spread of the virus in the province and continue to reduce pressures on the health system. 

From Dec. 31 to Jan. 6, there were 3,431 cases among individuals aged 20 to 49 years, which is half of all new cases during that time period. Over the same period, there were 1,078 new cases reported among school-aged children (5 to 19 years) and 1,173 new cases among older adults (aged 60 years and older). 

 Symptom Check

If a student has these symptoms

What to do?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days from when symptoms started or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
  • COVID-19 testing is recommended.
  • Can return to school before 10 days only if a COVID-19 test is negative, symptoms are gone, and the student was not a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.
     

One of the following symptoms

  • Chills
  • Sore throat/painful swallowing
  • Runny nose/congestion
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell/fatigued
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
     


  • Stay home from school and monitor for 24 hours. If after 24 hours your symptoms improve, you may return to school when you are feeling better.
  • A COVID-19 test is not required but is available.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.

If a child has any 2 of these symptoms, or after 24 hours, their condition gets worse or they develop a second symptom:

  • COVID-19 test recommended.
  • May return to school after symptoms are gone, even without a COVID-19 test or results.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.

 COVID-19 testing required for people flying into Canada

Starting January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. See the news release for air travellers.

Note: The following is from the Alberta Government website containing details for travellers returning to Calgary under the International Rapid Test Pilot Program. Students may not return to school until they have received a second negative COVID test 6-7 days after arrival.

 

Weekly Update from PE

Please prepare to be outside in the snow for Phys Ed (please bring high-top boots so you can participate in snowshoeing)

Parent Society and School Council meetings

Parent Society and School Council will be meeting via Zoom on Tuesday January 19th with the Parent Society scheduled to start at 6:30pm and School Council at 7pm. Agendas for both meetings will be included in next week’s update.

Parent Society and School Council meetings

Parent Society and School Council will be meeting via Zoom on Tuesday January 19th with the Parent Society scheduled to start at 6:30pm and School Council at 7pm. Agendas for both meetings will be included in next week’s update.

Family Day Break 

As you plan ahead for the Family Day weekend, please keep in mind that the school will be closed on Thursday Feb. 11th and Friday Feb. 12th, in conjunction with the long weekend from Feb. 13-15.

Thank you for your continuing support of our school, staff and students. We truly do have an amazing school community!

Have a wonderful week,

Phil Butterfield

Principal