School Start Up Message for Families

School Start Up Message for Families
Posted on 09/02/2022

September 2, 2022

Dear Families: 

We are excited to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year! A reminder that the first day back to school for students is Wednesday, September 7th - please take a moment to review our School Year Calendars, which includes important dates such as scheduled PD Days and holidays. 

Our school year theme for this upcoming year is Stronger. Better. Together. We want this year to be filled with hope and optimism, and we want to focus on building and strengthening our relationships and connections. We can do this by working together and by demonstrating kindness, compassion and support every chance we get. I can’t think of a better theme to set the tone for the important work - we truly are Stronger. Better. Together. 

Teaching and Learning Environment 

We are beginning this school year much like we ended last year - which means that for the most part, our schools are returning to a pre-pandemic teaching and learning environment. This includes welcoming visitors into our schools. The health and wellness of our students and staff continues to be our top priority, which is why there are some practices that we will continue with, including:

  • We are a mask friendly environment - masks will be available for students, staff and visitors who would like to wear them. 
  • We continue to encourage students and staff to complete the School and Child Care Screening Tool each day.  It is important to note that isolation requirements in the province of Ontario have changed. This screening tool provides the most up-to-date advice if your child is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. As always, please do not send your child to school if they are feeling unwell. 
  • Our schools have a supply of Rapid Antigen Tests that can be provided to students upon request. 
  • Hand sanitizer stations will remain in place at key locations within schools.
  • Significant improvements to mechanical ventilation systems remain in place for our schools, including the use of stand-alone HEPA filter units in some areas.  
  • Students may wish to bring their own refillable water bottle for use throughout the day.

Home2School Connect

In the coming weeks, we are excited to be launching a new communication portal called Home2School Connect. This secure website will provide you with up-to-date information about your child’s attendance, grade history, schedules as well as the ability to submit absences and safe arrival notifications. Additional features will also be developed and available over time. More information about this new website will be shared with families in the coming weeks.

Disconnecting from Work

Supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff continues to be a top priority, which is why we were pleased when the Government of Ontario announced the Working for Workers Act last December. This set the framework for public sector organizations to create policies to allow for improved work-life balance for their staff. SMCDSB has developed its Disconnecting from Work Policy, which sets parameters for communicating and working outside the regular business day. As always, our staff continue to be committed to open and responsive lines of communication, in a way that respects healthy and professional boundaries between work and home. 

Active Transportation

The start of a new school year means creating new routines like walking and wheeling to and from school. This helps reduce time spent sitting and helps children feel refreshed and ready to learn. Plan and practice your route before the first day of school and get ready to be #OnTheMove.

We are beginning our school year with renewed energy and hope - I will continue to pray that we move through this year in a productive and healthy way, with great kindness and compassion. We are indeed Stronger. Better. Together. 

Yours in Faith,

Frances Bagley

Director of Education