• From the desk of Catherine McCullough, Interim Director of Education, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, in a message to parents and guardians
We are excited to welcome our students back to a safe and healthy Catholic learning environment beginning this week. We know that our students are looking forward to seeing their friends and teachers, even if things will be a little bit different this year. We encourage families to take a look at our Staggered Entry Start Schedule to ensure that their children are arriving to school on the correct day.
Once students begin school they will be required to stay with their class cohort as much as possible. This means on the first day of school, routines for receiving class assignments in elementary and timetables in high school will be handled differently. In both cases, an email will be sent to families via our secure document delivery system in SchoolMessenger prior to the start of school to inform students of their class assignment and/or timetable.
Please note that due to the complex nature of staffing this year, we will not be in a position to entertain requests for changes. In addition, we will experience additional changes to schedules and classes during the first few weeks of September.
Return to School at SMCDSB
To help families get a better idea of what to expect when their child returns to school, we have created this short Return to School Video. We hope this provides you with a good visual understanding of the protocols we are implementing to keep our students and staff healthy and safe at school this year.
On Friday evening, a letter was sent to the families of students who qualify for busing to confirm the bus route, bus stop location and assigned seating information (please note: this does not apply to our Muskoka and Parry Sound schools – a separate communication will be forthcoming).
There were some issues with receipt of these letters and/or password information. If you did not receive the letter and believe that your child qualifies for transportation, please contact your child’s school. Requests for new transportation arrangements as well as any changes to existing transportation arrangements will require additional time to process.
Students will be unable to access transportation until they have received a letter confirming their route number, bus stop location and assigned seating information.
We may experience delays over the first weeks of school reopening as routes are refined. Please continue to check the SCSTC website for posted delays. Local media will also be advised and will announce posted delays.
Role of Families
We all have a role to play in ensuring a successful transition back to class. We are asking our families to support schools in the following ways:
• Every day, complete the Daily Health Screening checklist with your child(ren) BEFORE they attend school or take the school bus;
• Keep your child at home when they feel unwell;
• Have a plan to pick-up your child(ren) promptly if they develop symptoms – this means having a local emergency contact available at all times;
• Keep your child home and seek a COVID-19 test if your child •vexhibits any of the symptoms (which are outlined in the Daily Health Screening) and when the symptom(s) are new and not related to seasonal allergies or pre-existing medical conditions;
• In the absence of a test, have your child self-isolate for 14 days and be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to school;
• Comply with any order provided by Public Health;
• Important note: siblings of a sick child may still attend school, but must self-monitor for 14 days.
We would also like to remind families to:
• Send your child with a healthy and litter-less lunch with snacks (enough for two nutrition breaks) – dropping off lunches or taking your child out of class for lunch will not be permitted.
• Please ensure your child has a pre-filled water bottle – drinking fountains will be decommissioned, but water refill stations are available.
The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has created two virtual schools to accommodate the approximately 4,500 students who have opted into the remote learning program. There is one elementary school called Simcoe Muskoka Catholic Virtual School – Elementary (SMCVSE) and a secondary school called Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School – Secondary (SMCVSS).
In the coming days, the principals of these two schools will be in contact with those who have opted for remote learning programming. For more information, please see our Virtual Schools Fact Sheet.
Additional Resources and Information
There is a wealth of information and resources available on the Return to School section of our website. In particular you may wish to review:
• Understand and Manage Anxiety
• Creating a Visual Schedule
• Mental Health Video Series
• Return to Learn Guide
• Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
• Daily Health Screening Checklist
Health Unit Resources
I would like to sincerely thank our students, staff and families for their ongoing support and patience as we worked through the many challenges and opportunities facing us this year. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to a faith-filled and hope-filled year.
Yours in faith,
Interim Director of Education