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Hello, Clarence Sansom Families!
It's amazing how much has changed, including the weather, since the beginning of September! I have much to share with you so read on for some updates and information about this school year.
We are thrilled to be back into a routine in which we are working face-to-face, albeit masked, with most of our students. 85% of our families chose to send their students for face-to-face instruction, which means that 15% of our students are working from home in Hub learning. We have made some staffing changes to adjust to our new circumstances. At the end of last year we said goodbye to Ms. Miller, Ms. Fisher and Miss Ellie. We are welcoming back Ms. Grewal, Mr. Shodin and after a long absence, Ms. Mahzer. We have also brought in Ms. Teja, who is filling in for Mrs. Hillard, and Ms. Sharda, who is filling in for Ms. Boyd. We have also welcomed three new staff members as part of our Bridges team: Ms. Hickie; Ms. Turner; and Ms. Abdulkadir.
There are many changes to everyday learning here at Sansom and our staff and students have done exceptionally well with them. As you are aware, we are using three different entrances to avoid large groups of students moving throughout the hallways together, and we are opening the doors at 8:15. The limited entry times has exacerbated some concerns we have with traffic and student safety. Each day we watch parents and guardians put their children and others at risk by making unsafe and frankly, illegal driving decisions. I cannot stress enough how terrifying it is to see many of you, our parents and guardians, completing illegal u-turns, stopping in the middle of the road to drop off children, driving on the wrong side of the road, parking in bus zones, and speeding through our school zone. This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we have reported it to our school resource officer. As the weather changes and we see more wintry conditions, these unsafe practices continue to put our students at risk. Many students are exiting their vehicles without looking both ways or even looking before crossing the line of traffic. If you drive your student(s) to school, please leave home a little earlier and consider coming down 24th Avenue to use the turnabout by Douglas Harkness School. This will allow you to drop off your child curbside, by our gymnasium, and continue your day knowing that you did the right thing to keep your child and other students safe. Allow me to end this paragraph by thanking those parents and guardians who continue to do the right thing and drop their children off safely. Hopefully these good choices act as models for everyone!
Another factor relating to school start times and staff and student safety is having students arrive on time. Students must be in their classroom when the late bell rings at 8:30. When students are late to school they disrupt the learning in the classroom. Additionally, COVID-19 safety protocols make their late even more cumbersome as we have to social distance and record each late by hand. This limits the amount of students we can process at a time. We know that some absences and lates are unavoidable, which is why we give students two warnings in a 20-day period. However, after those two warnings, students will serve after-school detentions as a reminder to be on time. The third late in 20 days is a 20-minute detention and the fourth will be a 30-minute detention, at which time we will contact home to trouble shoot and help families find ways to get their students to school on time. More than four lates will results in a request for a parent or guardian to come to school for a more detailed look at ways to get the student to school on time. Detentions will be Tuesday or Thursday after school and will be in the student's cohort classroom. Again, a thank you to parents and guardians who do their best to get their student(s) to school on time.
As many of you have seen or heard, our school was recently put on "watch" status for positive COVID-19 cases. I admit that I was frustrated to see that the media misrepresented our situation by stating that our positive cases were “likely" transmitted or contracted at school. To this date, I have not received any information, which confirms this statement. Many rumours from the community continue to circulate, and I can assure you that when parents call to clarify the facts, not one rumour has turned out to be true! This is something that we stress to students when their cohort returns from a period of isolation. Rumours and gossip do not serve any positive purpose, and in fact put people at risk.
After our first positive COVID-19 case in September, the school was inspected by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and we have since been inspected one more time by Occupational Health and Safety. Neither inspection raised any major concerns; in fact, we have many protocols in place that others schools are not doing, including closing our campus at lunch so that students are not leaving the safety of their cohort to gather in large groups off campus. Having a closed campus creates more work for us at the school level, but we believe that it is an important part of keeping students and staff safe. We are also checking temperatures of staff and students when they arrive at school. As our Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hinshaw states frequently, “We are in this together." This means that we cannot continue to keep our school safe without your help. Thank you to those parents who complete the daily health checks with their students and to those who keep their children home when they are not feeling well. We have come to see how important this help is, as we now know the significance of what it means to ask a group of students and staff members to self-isolate or quarantine. We would much rather have one student away for a few days because they are ill than an entire cohort of students and staff. If you are unsure of what to do if your child is ill, please call 811 or go to AHS - Guidance for Parents of Children Attending School and/or Childcare for more information.
Our teachers are utilizing Google Classroom in face-to-face learning at least once a week and when students are away either because they are ill or because they have been asked to isolate. If you are unsure of how to support your child who is home, please sign on to Google Classroom with them.
It is more important than ever before for us to have all of your contact information, including email addresses, as that is how AHS will be communicating with families in the case of a cohort needing to isolate. We also require that all students have at least TWO emergency contacts in the case of an emergency. If you only have one, or if your contact information has changed, please call the school and a new demographic form will be printed for signature and we will update data. We also recommend you subscribe to SchoolMessenger notices from the school. Visit www.cbe.ab.ca/subscribe for more information. It is important for all families to regularly check these important emails.
This Friday, October 23, is photo retake day and we are asking Hub students to come in to the school for their photos on this day. All Hub students should have their photo taken and this will be their only opportunity. Hub students should come to the front of the school and they must wear masks when they enter. Grade 9 Hub students will be welcomed between 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Grade 7 and 8 Hub students will be welcomed between 10:20 – 10:50 a.m. We understand that some families may be nervous about their students in the school, but we can assure you that we will follow all safety protocols and limit contact between other students and staff. Please call the school if you have questions.
For our students attending regularly who would like a retake, they can return their entire photo package order form to the photographer or bring a handwritten note to the photographer to request a retake. We ask that students new to Clarence Sansom School or students that missed the original photo day to have their photograph taken.
Starting on Oct. 1, 2020, fees were posted on your MyCBE/PowerSchool account. Fees are due when they appear in your account. They can be paid online or at the school. The CBE is introducing a new student supplies fee for the 2020-21 school year. This fee will apply to all students in kindergarten through Grade 9 (excluding HUB online learning students) to support in offsetting the cost to purchase school supplies for the year. For more information visit the Fees & Waivers webpage
R. D. Million
Clarence Sansom School