December 16th, 2021
Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –
As I write this letter we sit on the cusp of our Christmas break and perhaps more than ever, we can all appreciate the need for a pause. If I am to be honest, we are not heading into the break as optimistically as we were even just a week or two ago. The situation has changed fairly rapidly and so we have a few things of which to take note. I do want to acknowledge that it has been a remarkable fall and early winter, and it is indeed a true testament to everyone in the entire WCDSB community that we made it to Christmas with all our schools still open and truly thriving, despite the reality of the pandemic. Thank you to everyone in our WCDSB family for your ongoing efforts which have made the school re-opening process so successful, and for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.
A few points of update:
Vaccination for children ages 5 – 11 is currently underway. Booster shots for anyone over 18 years of age will be possible as of this Monday, December 20th. Vaccination remains the best defence against COVID-19, as endorsed by experts at the Ontario Science table, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and our own Waterloo Region Public Health. The omicron variant is highly transmissible and so consideration for vaccination for yourself and your child is very important in stopping the disease spread. Stopping its spread is important so that everyone can spend more time in school and so the most vulnerable amongst us are not negatively impacted.
The holidays are typically characterized as a time to gather. Please consider if all public health guidelines are being observed and ensure you do not gather if you are not well. Our children will rely on us to guide them and to make strong responsible decisions on their behalf.
Rapid Antigen Test Kits:
All students have received 5 rapid antigen test screening kits. They are to be used in the 10 days proceeding the start of in person schooling. The earliest date one should be used is December 23rd. Assuming the start of school remains January 3rd, they should be used every other day starting on the 23rd. Instructions have been provided by your local school, along with instruction videos in multiple languages.
Potential for School Closure:
At the current time we have no indication from the province or Waterloo Region Public Health that we will not be returning in January. Nonetheless we are sending children home with Chromebooks where needed, should anything change over the holidays. If the date for the re-opening of school changes to a date later than January 3rd, we will notify you of the date you should start using the Rapid Antigen Tests. Otherwise please begin on December 23rd, 2021.
Case and Contact Management:
When a student or staff member is a high-risk close contact of a positive case they must isolate. You will receive a letter and/or text message from Public Health with these details. It is important to note that at the current time if the positive case is the omicron variant, even if an individual is vaccinated, they have to quarantine. This is a change in practice, but it is in response to the highly transmissible nature of the variant.
Waterloo Region Public Health has asked us to pause all athletics and extra-curriculars in our schools. We have had good success with our program and our health and safety support measures, however activity in the community – specifically a large hockey tournament has caused a sharp increase in our community. It is important to note that if you participate in a large community event, public health measures should still be observed and that when we let down our guard, that is when COVID can take hold and spread.
As a reminder, anyone feeling ill should not attend school. All children, students, staff, and visitors must be screened for symptoms of illness every day before attending school or childcare. To help meet this requirement, you may use the provincial screening tool found here: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/. Confirmation of Self-screening will still be a requirement when we return to school and we will continue to reinforce masking and hand hygiene, as well as cohorting and physical distancing with students and our staff.
A reminder that students under 12, travelling with vaccinated parents do not have to quarantine per se, but they are not allowed to return to school until 14 days from return have passed. This guidance is found on our webpage. This is federal policy we are sharing.
We sincerely thank you for journeying with us. May each of you and your families enjoy a beautiful Christmas Season. A simpler Christmas firmly focused on family certainly sounds like the ideal and perhaps it will be a simple reminder that the first Christmas was indeed a humble beginning that provided the greatest gift the world has ever known. Let us continue to be people of hope who celebrate the birth of a tiny babe who shared a powerful message of love and salvation.
Director of Education
Hello St. Aloysius Families,
Unfortunately COVID-19 is still a reality. As we get closer to the Christmas break we would like to take an opportunity to update you on the COVID-19 situation/protocols. As you are likely aware, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region. If any new information becomes available in regard to a pivot to virtual learning in the New Year we will be sure to share it with the community via School Messenger and NewsWire.
COVID-19 Rapid Response Rapid Antigen Test (For Asymptomatic Individuals ONLY)
As you may be aware the Provincial government has sent all schools in Ontario rapid testing kits for each child. The kits include 5 tests and we are strongly encouraging families to test their child(ren) throughout the break but most importantly before returning to school on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Please see below for a sample testing schedule:
- Test 1 – December 23, 2021
- Test 2 – December 27, 2021
- Test 3 – December 30, 2021
- Test 4 – January 3, 2022 (AM – Before School)
- Test 5 – January 6, 2022 (AM – Before School)
The recommended testing dates will help protect you, your children and any family members and friends you happen to gather with over Christmas and New Years. The Ontario Government, Waterloo Region Public Health and the WCDSB are strongly encouraging that every student be tested before returning to school. If you do not test your child we are strongly suggesting that you keep your child home for the first week of school to help protect and keep the students and staff members of St. Aloysius School safe and healthy however this is not a requirement to return to school.
Please click on the link for instructions on how to administer the test → Instructions – Rapid Antigen Test
Multilingual Instructions → Multilingual Instructions – Rapid Antigen Test
If a test comes back positive please take your child to the nearest COVID-19 testing location listed below or use the link to look up the most convenient location as soon as possible.
Anyone with symptoms or who is identified as a close contact of a case should still get PCR testing. Rapid antigen screening tests should not be used as a substitute for PCR tests for people with symptoms or for people who are close contacts of cases.
COVID-19 Testing Locations Link → https://covid-19.ontario.ca/assessment-centre-locations
|Fairway Pharmacy and Clinic (0.89 km away)
500 Fairway Road, Unit 14
|Cook’s Pharmacy (0.99 km away)
31 Kingsbury Drive
|Pharmasave Courtland (1.24 km away)
1144 Courtland Avenue East
|Country Hills Pharmacy (2.63 km away)
153 Country Hill Drive, Unit 5
Parents will continue to be expected to screen their children before coming to school every morning when we return from the Christmas Break. For the first two weeks (January 3 to January 14) we will require parents to complete the same daily COVID-19 screener confirmation form we used in the fall. Please check in your child’s backpack for the Screening Confirmation Form to sign each day.
Daily Screener Website → https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics (5 – 11 Years Old)
All students born in 2016 or later are now eligible for COVD-19 Vaccination – please note that parent permission is always required for vaccination. Please use the link below to find a vaccination clinic and to book an appointment for a vaccination.
Region of Waterloo Vaccination Website → Waterloo Region – Get a Vaccine
After School Vaccination Clinics (4 PM – 8 PM)
- December 15 & 16: Sunnyside Public School, 1042 Weber Street East, Kitchener
Full Day School Vaccination Clinics (9:15 AM – 3:15 PM)
- December 19 & 20: St. Bernadette Catholic School, 245 Lorne Avenue, Kitchener
We appreciate your support and cooperation as we enter into the holiday season. We hope everyone remains healthy and safe as we prepare for this joyous time in our faith.
Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year St. Aloysius!
Janet Foote Daniel Mastroianni
Principal Vice Principal
A Christmas Prayer
Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense would I have for you this season, but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find, the ones that are perfect, even for those who have everything (if such there be).
I would (if I could) have for you the gift of courage, the strength to face the gauntlets only you can name, and the firmness in your heart to know that you (yes, you!) can be a bearer of the quiet dignity that is the human glorified.
I would (if by my intention I could make it happen) have for you the gift of connection, the sense of standing on the hinge of time, touching past and future standing with certainty that you (yes, you!) are the point where it all comes together.
I would (if wishing could make it so) have for you the gift of community, a nucleus of love and challenge, to convince you in your soul that you (yes, you!) are a source of light in a world too long believing in the dark.
Not gold, nor myrrh, nor even frankincense, would I have for you this season, but simple gifts, the ones that are hardest to find, the ones that are perfect, even for those who have everything (if such there be).
Hello St. Aloysius Families!
As we continue to navigate our way through our final week of school, we have a couple of updates regarding COVID-19.
Testing Kits – you will receive a testing kit along with instructions for each child.
COVID-19 Screening Confirmation – you will receive a COVID-19 Screening Confirmation Sign-Off like the fall.
Update Letter – important COVID-19 links and dates will be posted to NewsWire and sent to your email.
You will receive the testing kits and COVID-19 Screening Sign-Off tomorrow. The Update Letter will also be sent to your email and posted on NewsWire tomorrow (December 15, 2021).
Hello St. Aloysius Families,
Our annual Christmas dinner (lunch) will be taking place on Friday, December 17th, at 11:45 AM. We are looking forward to celebrating with the students during lunch in their classrooms. Students will be eating in their classrooms and there will not be any mixing of cohorts.
Dinners are being catered and prepared in a COIVD safe kitchen which is also nut and tree nut free. Dinners (lunches) will be individually packaged, each meal includes turkey, mashed potatoes, corn and a cookie. Dinners (lunches) are compliments of St. Aloysius School.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Bus 116 is running 10 to 20 minutes late.
Pizza for January Pizza Days is now available to order on School Cash Online. The Deadline for ordering is December 15, 2021. Please remember you are ordering for the full month.
St. Aloysius is having a Food Drive in support of the K-W Food Bank. Please send in non-perishable items to your childs teacher.
We will be accepting items until the start of school on December 16, 2021.
Thank you for your support. St. Aloysius Staff