Newsletter – 2022 January 4

Dear Parents,

For the 2021-22 school year, all schools transitioned from the COVID-19 Safety Plan to a COVID-19 Communicable Disease Plan. (What a horrible name the government picked!) This document outlines the plan, and is informed by the Ministry of Education and Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance BC Center for Disease Control.

As the COVID-19 landscape evolves, OLM continues to update our OLM’s Communicable Disease Plan to reflect the changes to provincial or health region requirements. We expect that there will be more cases in the community but we will continue to do what we can to prevent spread and keep our students and staff safe and healthy.

Below is OLM’s COVID-19 School Communicable Disease Plan that highlights and ensures that the enhanced safety measures are in place.

  1. Entrance and Exits
    – Strategies are in place to prevent crowding during transition times (Movement to specialty classes like gym and music will be done outside rather than through the main hallway)
    – Cohorts will have a designated area for playing
  2. Visitor Access
    – Adults will be restricted to the office area, maximum 2 at a time
    – All visitors are to verify their health by using the Electronic Scanner
    – Parents are encouraged not to drop off lunches
    – Parents are encouraged to email or phone the school
    – Visitors/Parents are limited to those that are supporting activities that are of direct benefit to student learning and well-being
  3. Pick-up and Drop-off
    – Parents/adults are to wear a mask on the OLM School grounds, even when briefly getting out of their car to drop off or pick up their child
    – Parents/adults are to stay in their designated area for pick up and drop off and are not to be in the areas where students line up
    – Please drop off your child as close to 8:45 whenever possible as students need to stay in their designated classroom line to prevent gathering amongst cohorts
    – Parents and students are to leave the school property immediately upon dismissal
    – The playground will be closed before and after school
  4. Space Arrangements
    – In indoor spaces, students and staff will have enough room to carry out intended activities without involuntary physical contact
    – Spaces are configured to maximize space between people
    – Learning spaces are arranged to maximize the space available and to avoid students directly facing one another (where possible)
    – Students will not gather on the classroom carpet
  5. Gathering and Events
    – School assemblies will continue to be held virtually
    – One cohort at a time will attend school masses
  6. Extracurricular Activities
    – If a Grade 7 basketball game is played, spectators are not present
    – Parents are responsible for driving students to and from games
    – Sports tournaments are paused
    – Choir is paused
  7. Hand Hygiene
    – OLM will continue the Hand Hygiene protocols from September 2020
    – Hand cleaning facilities are available and accessible throughout the school
  8. Increased Cleaning and Disinfecting
    – Frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected at least 2x a day
    – The maintenance person wipes the students’ desks during recess
    – Two times a week parent participation groups clean the classroom
    – We have employed SterilePro cleaning company to disinfect after PREP
    – Surfaces touched by fewer people are cleaned 1X a day
    – Cleaning products have been WCB and PHO recommended and approved
    – OLM has purchased an Electrostatic Sprayer used to eliminate bacteria
    – Practices are in place to clean and disinfect any surfaces a person’s body fluids have contacted after they have displayed symptoms of illness
  9. Ventilation and Air Exchange
    – Classrooms have Surgically Clean Air (MERV 19) Jade Purifiers in the classroom (PHO requires MERV 13)
    – Classroom windows and doors will remain open whenever possible.
  10. Daily Health Checks
    – It is the parent’s responsibility to complete (verbally) a Daily Health Check
    – The Daily Health Check can be found on our OLM website and on the BC Government’s K-12 Health Check App
  11. Stay Home When Sick
    – Staff and students are reminded to stay home when they are sick
    – The Daily Health Check has excellent information to make an informed decision
  12. Symptoms Develop at School
    – Practices are in place to appropriately respond when a staff member or student develops symptoms of illness while at school
  13. Personal Prevention Practices
    – Staff and students are required to wear masks in accordance with the PHO Order on Face Coverings
    – Proper fit is a key factor in mask effectiveness
    – Plexiglass barriers are used in the classroom for small group teaching, at the teacher’s desk, and at the discretion of the teacher for other learning times
  14. Personal Space
    – Strategies are in place to encourage staff and students to consider and respect others personal space. Personal space is the distance from which a person feels comfortable being next to another person.
    – Personal space is taught within the curriculum and is part of OLM’s Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe, Behavioural Matrix

Parents are important partners in keeping our school safe and we appreciate your efforts. We also recognize that, once again, this may mean inconvenience and sacrifice for your family. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

“God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us.”
-Pope Francis

Newsletter – 2021 December 30

As the message of the birth of the Savior, the source of true peace, resounds in the whole world, we continue together to pray for peace. Let us implore God to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation.

Pope Francis

Dear Parents,

I hope this email finds you and your family healthy and enjoying time together. Many of you have heard B.C. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside and Dr. Henry has stated that the school opening in K – 12 education is being delayed to January 10th, in order to give public health and B.C. schools additional time to assess the impact of the omicron variant on communities and schools, and to implement enhanced safety plans to support the safe continuation of in class learning.

The province will not be offering virtual options for students as the plan is to finish the school year with in-person learning. Whiteside acknowledged that parents depend on school being open, but said the goal is to enact plans now to prevent further disruptions and closures late in the school year. She further acknowledged that face-to-face learning is important to the intellectual, social and emotional well-being of every student.

Should you have any questions, please email the office ([email protected]) .

May God bless you and keep you safe. May your guardian angels protect and guide you.

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

Mrs. Grout
Principal, Our Lady of Mercy

Newsletter – 2021 November 17

“Tenderness is the word that makes hope blossom in the world and relieves suffering. We need to overcome the temptation to be concerned only about our own problems; we need to grow tender. Let us bring hope to all with tenderness, without judgment. For there, with them is Jesus; because there, in them is Jesus, who awaits us.”

-Pope Francis

It is hard to believe that we only have 22 days left before Christmas vacation!

First term highlights includes:

  • Being able to have school masses in church
  • Grade 7 Girls Volleyball Team placed 3rd in the whole of the CISVA
  • Grades 3-7 have been able to go skating
  • an online program called X-Movement (parents check out their website)
  • Halloween Fun Day
  • Christmas concert rehearsals are starting – look for more information to come

And so much more…

I am constantly grateful to the OLM staff and parents who give generously through their time, talents and treasures. I am appreciative that staff and families continue to be diligent in following health practices as outlined by the PHO and the OLM policies with regards to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.

Covid-19 Safety Measures in Schools – Q & A

My Family and I would like to travel outside of B.C. What are the rules?
The opening of the U.S./Canada border and the upcoming Winter Break may have families considering international travel. Below are the Federal Travel Guidance around COVID-19, especially the restriction in attending school for unvaccinated students for 14 days following the international travel, including travel to the U.S. Unvaccinated students under the age of 12 have the following restrictions before returning to school:

Below are the instructions from the Minister of Health which are legally binding. For the next 14
days, the children must:

  • not attend school, camp or daycare
  • not attend large or crowded settings, indoors or outdoors, such as an amusement park or
    sporting event
  • not take buses, subways, trains or other crowded transportation
  • not attend a setting where they may have contact with vulnerable people (e.g. long term
    care facility)
  • stay in a place that allows the child to avoid all contact with any person that:
    • has an underlying medical condition that makes the person susceptible to
      complications related to COVID-19
    • has a compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment;
    • is 65 years of age or older
  • limit contact with others:
  • remain with their fully vaccinated parent or guardian, as much as possible
  • wear a mask and physically distance when in contact with non-household members

There is no allowance for unvaccinated students to return to school within 14 days following international travel, regardless of who they travel with or if they receive a negative PCR test result.

Can Students Come to School if they have Mild Symptoms?

  • All students and adults are expected complete a daily health check prior to entering the school and to follow the instructions provided based on their specific symptoms.
  • Parents are to use the K-12 Health Check app/government website
  • Parents can refer to BCCDC’s “When to get tested for COVID-19
  • Parents can also use the BCCDC online Self-Assessment Tool or call 811
  • Students must stay at home when sick, as this is one of the most important ways to reduce the introduction of germs and spread viruses including COVID-19

Why does CDC guidance keep changing?
CDC guidance changes because COVID-19 keeps changing and what we know about it continues to evolve. COVID-19 is still a new disease that CDC and others continue to study in order to provide the best guidance possible. CDC gives guidance based on the latest science to prevent and control disease, injury, and disability. All recommendations are based on available scientific data including outbreak investigations and tracking cases of COVID-19 in children. This means guidance will change as CDC learns more about
what works best to reduce risk of COVID-19.

What is the Current Mask Mandate?
As of Oct. 4, 2021 the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance Protocols for K-12 Schools is as follows:

All staff, adult volunteers and visitors, and K-12 students in “bricks and mortar” schools are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering (a “mask”) at all times while indoors at school, subject to the following excemptions:

  • If a person is unable to wear a mask because they don’t tolerate it (for health or behavioural reasons*);
  • If a person unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
  • If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
  • If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. actively playing a wind instrument, high-intensity physical activity, etc.); If a person is eating or drinking;
  • If a person is behind a barrier (e.g., a divider, a cubicle, or in a room by themselves);
  • While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important.
  • Staff at non-school sites (e.g., administrative offices, maintenance facilities, etc.) should continue to follow guidance from WorkSafe BC. If an activity cannot be implemented in line with this guidance, it should be adapted or another activity should be selected.

Do Masks Work?
Yes, masks work. They limit the spread of germs from one person to another by blocking potential virus particles from entering the air. They also help protect the person wearing the mask because the mask can help block that person from breathing in potential virus particles in the air.

For masks to work best, students, teachers, and staff need to wear a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing is difficult. (CDC)

Does Wearing a Mask for a Long Time Pose any Risks to my Child?
No, wearing a mask does not increase risk from germs or bacteria, and does not increase carbon dioxide levels for children. It is important to store your child’s mask properly and wash it regularly to keep it clean. Consider having your child bring more than one mask to school to easily replace a dirty or wet mask with a clean one. (CDC)

How can I Help Keep my Child Healthy?
The use of masks should not reduce or replace other more effective infection prevention and exposure control measures in schools, such as:

  • ensuring students and staff are aware of their responsibility to perform a daily health check, and to stay home when they are sick or if required to self-isolate;
  • hand hygiene
    • Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent yourself and your loved ones from getting sick, especially at key times when you are likely to get and spread germs.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hand
  • daily cleaning and disinfection of frequently touch surfaces
  • teach and reinforce respiratory etiquette

Covering coughs and sneezes and keeping hands clean can help prevent the spread of serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and COVID-19. Germs can be easily spread by:

  • Coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • Touching your face with unwashed hands after touching contaminated surfaces or objects
  • Touching surfaces or objects that may be frequently touched by other people

To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands

Remember to immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

These measures provide multiple layers of protection that reduce the risk of transmission.

Do Adults have to Wear Masks Outside and Stay in the Parent Designated Zones?
Yes. While on the OLM property. We require parents and other adults to wear a mask
and to keep within the designated zones.

Newsletter – 2021 November 10

“The world needs Christians who know how to demonstrate the beauty of the Gospel by the way they live; who are weavers of dialogue, models of fraternal life; who bring the sweet fragrance of hospitality and solidarity, who protect and safeguard life.”

-Pope Francis

Cold Weather
As the weather continues to get colder, please send your child I weather appropriate clothing. The children will still be playing outside for recess and lunch.

Toques, scarves, gloves, warm jackets and warm footwear.

Apples for Donation
We were fortunate enough to have been able to get some Organic Red Delicious Apples this past week. They are in boxes in the kitchen and we are just asking for a donation if you are interested in taking some. Please bring your own bag as they are all in boxes.

Funeral Service at the Parish
Please be informed that there will be a funeral service at the church as follows:

  1. Friday, November 12th at 3:30pm

The above service may affect after school pick-up, as there will be more traffic in the parking lot area during those times.

Thank you for your understanding.

Important Dates this month:
Thursday, Nov. 11 Remembrance Day School and Office Closed
Thursday, Nov. 18 Grade 3, 4 & 5 Skating Day
Friday, Nov. 19 CISVA Networking Day No School for Students

Remembrance Day
On Wednesday, November 10th, the students joined together for a virtual assembly to honour the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we may have peace. I’d like to thank Ms. Boots and Mrs. Ladouceur for preparing the Grades 2 and 6 who filmed beautiful songs as well as the choir who were under their direction and brought tears to our eyes.

Remembrance Day Prayer Intentions
The response is, Lord hear our prayer,
R: Lord hear our prayer

For all those who have died fighting to bring peace and justice to our world, we pray to the Lord: R

For all people whose bodies and spirits have been disfigured by war and terror, may they receive God’s healing touch, we pray to the Lord: R

For all members of the armed forces who are in danger today, may God protect them and bring them home safely, we pray to the Lord: R

For all those who desire freedom from oppression in their lives, especially those living under the Taliban in Afghanistan, we pray to the Lord: R

For the health and safety of everyone, as we continue to battle the effects of Covid 19, and for those healthcare workers who bravely fight to save others on the front-lines, we pray to the Lord: R

For peacemakers and peacekeepers who seek to keep this world secure and free, we pray to the Lord: R

For all who bear the burden and privilege of leadership, may they work towards bringing peace and justice to nations, we pray to the Lord: R

For all of us, called to be instruments of peace. May we have the courage to bring love and light into places where there is hatred and darkness, we pray to the Lord: R