Muster Points and Cold Weather

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October 23, 2020

As cold weather is starting, we want to clarify the protocols for our muster points.

AM

– current protocols are in place until the outside temperature reaches -15C (including wind-chill);

– if the temperature is below -15C (including wind-chill), the school will open the various muster point doors at 8:30 am, and students need to go directly to their classrooms.  Students must not arrive early.  Please arrive at your muster point doors just moments before 8:30 am.

PM

– current protocols will continue to be in place;

– if you will be late, please contact the school.

Finally, we want to give you a friendly reminder to please have your child dressed appropriately for the weather.

Thank you.


Request to Notify the School of Positive COVID-19 Results

Please read this important message from our Superintendent. We are glad that we have not had a positive case at our school, but we want to make sure that we can quickly deal with it and limit its effect in the school. Notifying the school of positive COVID-19 results would be very beneficial.

October 21, 2020 

Dear parents, guardians and staff of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

Recently, Alberta Health Services (AHS) improved its methods for sending COVID-19 test results by relaying them via text message.  This means that parents/guardians are often provided with this information well before the school or division.  

As a result, we are asking that, if and when you learn of any positive test results in your home, please share this information with your child’s school administration.  This will allow us to follow up with AHS and provide notification to families as quickly as possible about the need to isolate. 

We certainly recognize that this may be uncomfortable information to share.  Rest assured that maintaining both your dignity and privacy is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Our aim is simply to reduce the spread of this disease and ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. 

Lastly, we would like to remind everyone to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 using Alberta Health’s daily checklist. If you/your child has any of the symptoms of illness listed, please fill out the online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811 and keep your child at home. 

Thank you in advance for your support in the matter. 

Blessings,
Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

Safety First

As the snow is now starting, we want to remind parents to be careful and safe when using our new parking lot. Our parking lot can be very congested and can become a safety concern in the morning and after school.  Some areas of concern are:

  • The very north part of the parking lot (near the baseball diamond) is a ‘No Parking Zone.’  This area does not allow enough room for both parking and vehicles exiting stalls.  These extra vehicles can create blind spots that students may be walking in. Also, this area is a fire lane for emergency vehicles.
  • The very east part of the parking lot (nearest the front doors) is a ‘No Parking Zone.’  This area is a fire lane.  Although parents may quickly drop off or pick up students, they may not wait here and definitely not park here.
  • The very south part of the parking (beside the sidewalk) is a ‘No Parking Zone’ and a fire lane.

To help define some of the areas, we will try to put pylons out on a regular basis.

We are asking everyone to please take extra care and only park in the appropriate parking areas.  Often, there are empty stalls in the west area of the parking lot.  Always ensure you have a safe route planned to drop off or pick up your child.  Please see this map to see the proper places to park, don’t park, and traffic flow direction:

Also, many of our families choose to avoid the parking lot and drop off/pick up their children on the north side of Red Crow Blvd.

Thank you for your support and help in ensuring the safety of our students.

COVID-19 Response and Update: October 26, 2020

Good afternoon,

Please read this important letter from our divisional office regarding bus transportation:

October 26, 2020

Dear families of students who use Lethbridge Transit Yellow Bus Services, 

Lethbridge Transit has advised that, due to recent driver shortages, some bus routes may need to be adjusted or delayed over the coming months. As a last resort, some bus routes may even be cancelled on short notice.

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division will endeavour to keep families informed about changes. To ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date information, please ensure that you are subscribed to receive messages from the division by email and/or text.  The division’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are also good sources of information.

To assist Alberta Health Services in contact tracing for COVID-19, Lethbridge Transit has updated and reinforced the following safety procedures in the attached letter, Procedures for School Bus Transportation during COVID-19:

  • All students must clean their hands (wash with soap and water/sanitize) before the leave home to take the bus and when they leave school prior to taking the bus.
  • Face masks are required.
  • Drivers will be assigning students seats. Family members will be asked to sit together. It is extremely important that students sit in their designated seat.
  • Daily attendance will be taken.  Students will confirm their first and last name as they board. 
  • As per Alberta Health Services direction, school buses will be cleaned/sanitized after morning and afternoon routes with an approved cleaning product
  • The driver’s focus and primary responsibility is to transport students safely to and from school.  To help achieve this goal, students must follow the driver’s instructions.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter, while we continue to navigate these challenging times. 

Sincerely, 
Anisha Gatner, Communications Coordinator
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

October 7, 2020

Good afternoon families and staff of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

As we are now into week six of the school year, we can safely say that we have made it through what we anticipated to be a very challenging September.  School and divisional personnel have gone over and above the call of duty to ensure that schools were ready to welcome children and students back into our schools after a six-month absence.  Our staff has done some great work in welcoming students in school communities to ensure they feel loved, safe and included.  Further, parents have been extremely supportive of our direction and we definitely appreciate your support throughout the entire process thus far.

Recently, we have begun to see an increase in the number of positive cases in the South Zone.  This could very well be an early indication of what is yet to come and seems to be in line with what has been happening in other areas of the province, as well as across Canada. In fact, as you may have heard, over the past weekend Alberta Health Services (AHS) identified a positive case connected to St. Teresa of Calcutta School.  I am pleased to report that school and division staff worked diligently with AHS to inform and isolate the impacted cohort as quickly as possible. We continue to follow the lead of AHS and use the Alberta Government’s resource guide to determine how best to proceed in informing those affected promptly, while still maintaining their dignity and privacy. 

To assist us in the future, so that we may contact you quickly should your child be part of a cohort that needs to isolate, we ask that you ensure that your child’s school has your most current contact information. We also highly recommend that you enable text messages, or download the SchoolMessenger App, so that you may receive timely information directly on your phone. Please know that the school division will only send you text messages in emergency situations.  See our website for more information on this, or contact your child’s school directly for assistance. 

We know that we need to remain vigilant in adhering to the health measures put in place by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, along with additional precautions that our division has identified.  As such, we continue to ask our staff, students and visitors:

  • Not to come to school if feeling ill, even if you are only a bit unwell. The Alberta Health daily checklist should be completed each day prior to attending school and if your child has any of the symptoms listed, fill out the online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811, and remain at home. 
  • To engage in proper and frequent hand washing or hand sanitization
  • To ensure physical distancing of 2 meters
  • To wear masks while in common areas, hallways and in classrooms. This applies to grades 4-12 students, all staff, visitors and volunteers 

Our schools will continue:

  • To maintain class cohorts. This reduces the number of individuals impacted should there be exposure to COVID-19.  We are seeing that this is of particular importance
  • To remain closed campuses.  All visitors and parents are required to call ahead and make an appointment before coming to school
  • To ensure heightened protocols for cleaning frequently touched surfaces

We know that everyone plays an important role in stopping the spread of this relentless virus and other diseases.  We also recognize that the current context in which we live is far from ideal.  We appreciate the support from our parent community as we endeavour to support our students’ mental well-being on a day-to-day basis in our schools.

As in everything we do in Catholic Schools, we are called to pray for each other.  Let us continue to hold each other in prayer as we navigate these challenging times.

Kind Regards,
Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

October Message

There is an old story or fable told about a far-off land which was ruled by a tyrant. The tyrant had an ironclad grip over all parts of his kingdom, except for one frustrating area. He was unable to destroy the people’s belief in God. He summoned his counsellors and put the question to them: “Where can I hide God so that the people will end up forgetting him?”

One counsellor suggested that God be hidden on the dark side of the moon. This proposal was debated for some time, but voted down because it was believed that one day scientists would discover a means of space travel and God would end up being found again.

Another advisor to the tyrant came up with idea of burying God beneath the depths of the ocean floor. This was voted down for basically the same reason – it was felt that scientific advancement would lead to the discovery of God, even beneath the depths of the ocean floor.

Finally, the oldest and wisest of the counsellors had a flash of insight. “I know”, he said, “Why don’t we hide God where no one will ever think of finding him?” He explained, “If we hide God in the ordinary events of people’s everyday lives they’ll never find him.” And so it was done – and they say that people are still looking for God – even today.

Although the start of this school year during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot really be described as ordinary, I do believe I have witness God in the many events during our school re-entry plan.  I especially see God is the many relationships between students, parents, and staff.  I have the pleasure of leading pray at different events and I am always interested in the prayer intentions.  Hearing who people are praying for and thankful for. This year focusing on being grateful and being gracious I truly see God in the ordinary events at school.

Fall is one of my favourite seasons.  Although I enjoy the colours of fall, the best part of fall for me is Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is a time to get together with family and friends and be thankful for all the blessing we have.  A big part of our blessing is seeing God and what He does in the normal and routine parts of our lives, including our daily adjustments to life in a pandemic.  At Father Leonard Van Tighem School I am thankful for the many blessing God has given us.

On behalf of everyone at school, I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving as we thank God for the many gifts we have received.

Greg Kostiuk

Welcome Back Family Blessing

Last week we had our School Opening Mass. During this pandemic, it was different with Fr. William celebrating mass in our Gathering Space with only one class, recording it, and having the rest of our school watch it in their classrooms. Traditionally, we do a Welcome Back Family Blessing at our Welcome Back BBQ. Unfortunately, we are not able to gather for either. We still feel it is vital to have a Welcome Back Family Blessing, so Fr. William was able to record a blessing from St. Martha’s Church. Here it is:

Thank you Fr. William for the Welcome Back Family Blessing.