|Please read this important message from our Superintendent. |
September 2, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,
We have been receiving many inquiries about the release of the Health Order issued by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and the seeming confusion surrounding messages that are contained within the Order. In the preamble of the Order, it is noted,
“Whereas having determined on August 4, 2020 that students in grades 4 to 12, staff members and visitors must wear a non-medical face mask in schools when physical distancing cannot be maintained.”
Our first and most important goal for the opening of the 2020-21 school year is to keep all of our students and staff safe, as outlined in our Re-entry Plan. I do understand that a few parents are concerned with their children wearing masks while seated for instruction. I also know that we have an obligation to put measures in place that protect all students and staff and reduce the likelihood of anyone spreading viruses/illnesses. As a result, we are mandating masks be worn at all times. Students will be permitted to remove masks while eating, while outside for recess and lunch time as well as during breaks, activities and physical education where physical distancing is maintained. In her briefing today, Dr. Hinshaw indicated that each school division has the authority and ability to make the decision, in consultation with our local Medical Officer of Health, to be wearing masks all the time. We have consulted with a Medical Officer of Health in the South Zone, who is very much supportive of our direction.
These are measures that further augment the Health Order; we are not ignoring, disregarding or overruling it. The physical classroom spaces are simply not large enough to accommodate all of the learners in a Scenario “Near-Normal” return with physical distancing being maintained. Even with desks in rows and all students facing the front of the classroom, physical distancing is still not possible and it will be virtually impossible to prevent students from turning in their seats and talking to a neighbour. There will be occasions when students will need to move about the classroom or go to the washroom. Should a student in this case accidentally sneeze or cough in the direction of another student or staff member, there could be significant health repercussions. Therefore, to put everyone in a safer space, we are requiring all students from grades 4-12, along with our staff, to be wearing a mask in all class settings where physical distancing of 2 meters cannot be realized.
Our goals are the same as that of our parents – to keep our students safe. The common good is reached when we work together to improve the well-being of people in our society and the wider world. I implore your support as we begin the school year. We will be continually reviewing our practices to ensure we are providing the safest and best learning environment possible. Thank you for your understanding in this regard and we trust in your support.
Ken Sampson, Superintendent
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division
August 31, 2020
Good Evening Parents/Guardians of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division
My apologies for communicating so late, but we felt that this was an important message that needed to be sent right away.
As you are aware, the Chief Medical Officer of Health announced in her release this afternoon that students could be excused from wearing their masks once they are seated in their classroom desks, even though physical distancing will not be possible. Further there is some language in the Health Order that leads individuals to different interpretations of the Order. As you might well imagine, this is problematic, given our long-standing need and desire to provide safe learning environments for our staff and students. We feel that students should be wearing masks at all times to further mitigate risks.
Given these circumstances, we will need some time to research these opposing interpretations further. Until we are able to secure this information and provide a subsequent update, all students (grades 4 – 12) and staff are required to wear masks in classrooms at all times.
In the meantime, please join our community in prayer and blessing for our students and staff as we officially begin this new school year.
Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools
August 27, 2020
Good day Holy Spirit Catholic School Division Families,
We have recently received an updated Daily Screening Questionnaire and we wanted to ensure that you had the most current copy. As a reminder, we are asking everyone to complete this questionnaire for their child before school every day. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, please stay home to protect our students and staff.
To further help our staff before school begins, we are asking all parents/guardians who may have a child with pre-existing medical conditions to fill in this Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Form. This information will help us better identify if a student’s developing symptoms may be caused by COVID-19 or by a known preexisting condition (e.g. allergies). We are asking that this information be provided to us by Friday, September 4, 2020.
Thank you in advance for your quick response. While there is still much work to do, I know that our staff are very excited to get back to the business of teaching our students.
Ken Sampson, Superintendent
|Holy Spirit Catholic School Division|