Thunder News Flash – January 30, 2021

January 29, 2021
  • Lifting Others Up

    During this pandemic there are many things that are out of our control, and many things that we are required to do that we really do not like.  The longer this goes on, the more frustrated people are becoming.  It is hard to complain to a virus, or even blame a virus for the things that we have to do, or can no longer do, so we find the nearest target to take our frustrations out on.  Most of us are really trying to just make the best out of this less than ideal situation, but it seems that there is always something that can “push us over the edge”.  Last week I have to admit that I had a moment that I am not so proud of.  A family member was telling me about their annual trip to the Caribbean that they were unable to take last Spring, and again this year they will miss that opportunity.  Instead of offering some positive encouragement about the possibility of next year, I found myself engaging in a bit of a “rant” and saying things like “what a first world problem” and “at least you can afford to go on vacation”.  But the real clincher was that I think I ended my rant with something along the lines of “it’s only money that you’ve lost”.  Shortly after that conversation, these words from Pope Francis arrived in my inbox:

    “Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves.  Living for others is a rule of nature.  We are all born to help each other.  No matter how difficult it is… Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.”

    Let’s remember that we are all doing the best that we can.  Let’s lift others up rather than drag them down with our complaints, even when we think that they are valid.  Now, I think I have some apologizing to do!

  • Celebrating Valentine's Day

    We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day at the school on Wednesday, February 10th, and the celebrations will include:

    • the sharing of Valentine’s Day cards for those who choose to participate in this.  The school rule regarding Valentine’s Day cards is that if you are planning on sharing cards you must give one to all students in the class
    • the sharing of treats – if you plan to bring a treat for all the students in the class they must be individually packaged, store bought and nut-free.  Unfortunately the health and safety rules do not allow for homemade treats to be shared at this time.  Non-food related treats such as pencils, erasers and bookmarks are a great choice, as they also help to avoid any other food allergies in the class
    • a dress down day.  The theme of this day will be jeans and Valentine’s Day colours, and it will also be our fundraiser for the RCAV charities, so each student is required to bring a dollar or two to participate in this dress down day.  If you would like more information about the charities that are supported by the RCAV, please click here 

    Since we know that many people quarantine items before they bring them into their homes, and therefore may be uncomfortable with their children bringing home cards and treats, each child will be provided with a large Ziploc bag to hold these items.  The cards and treats will be distributed by the students at school, and then the bag will be sealed.  Students will not eat any treats at school, and the sealed bag will be sent home at the end of the day.  Therefore families may follow these same quarantine practices when their child brings home these cards and treats, and parents can make the choice about what their child may or may not eat.  

    We hope that these protocols are considered appropriate by parents, and we are sharing them with you early so that there is plenty of time for you to send in any additional concerns that you may have so that we can address them before February 10th.  

  • Parent Survey - Please Complete!

    As mentioned in last week’s News Flash, a survey link was emailed to all parents on January 27th so that you can give your input into the kind of conferences we will be holding in March – Parent/Teacher Conferences or Student-led Conferences.  Just in case you cannot find the email, or did not receive it, please click here to participate in the survey if you haven’t already done so.

  • Pick Up Lane Reminders

    Our new procedures this year, with two pick up lanes and the children being outside ready to go, were put in place to support the health and safety guidelines for schools.  We are all doing our best to create a balance between moving the lines along while keeping everyone safe.  Some parents absolutely love these new procedures, some parents really do not like them at all, and then there is a mix of everything in between these two sentiments. We appreciate your constructive feedback and suggestions as we continually work to improve these procedures.  Here are some important reminders:

    If you are in the pick up lane off of Townline Rd. (A-L):

    • please do not stop to drop off or pick up your children at the yellow cement barriers across from the Church doors – move all the way up to the old white flag pole and stop your vehicle there
    • please do not block the driveways of the houses on Townline Rd. – we need to be kind to our neighbours as we all share the road

    If you are in the pick up lane off of Gardner Ave. (M-Z):

    • please pull up beside the first orange delineator, and stop there.  If you move up too far, it is too tempting for the cars behind you to try and pull around you if you are taking too long, and that could be very dangerous

    Some general reminders for both lanes:

    • please be patient with the vehicles in front of you – there is no passing, and honking really doesn’t help to speed someone up
    • please be kind to all of the adult supervisors – we are doing our best – occasionally we will open a car door if a child is having trouble, or to speed things up, but we are only trying to help
    • please continue to use your signal lights to indicate that you are pulling to the curb for your children or ready to leave the lane – it is very hard to see inside vehicles when it is dark outside or through tinted windows, so we can’t tell if your children are in the car or not – your signal lights are incredibly helpful
    • if you arrive quite early in the afternoon, please do not get out of your vehicles and socialize with other parents – this goes against the Public Health Orders
    • if you are feeling particularly rushed and the pick up lane is causing you a lot of stress, then feel free to park in the Parent Parking Lot or in designated street parking sections of Gardner Ave. or Townline Rd.

    If you are parking your vehicle:

    • please remember to wear your mask when you are walking to come and get your children, and please remember to wait for them on the sidewalk – students are lined up in their cohorts, and we need to limit the amount of interaction with other adults
    • once you collect your child, please do not spend time socializing with others, but go directly to your vehicle
    • please also use your signal lights to indicate that you are pulling into a parking space – sometimes it is a little bit disconcerting when vehicles are coming at the supervisors from three different directions
    • please allow the supervisors to indicate an appropriate time for your children to walk across the pick up lanes or Parent Parking Lot to meet you – we will not allow children to walk across the street to get into their parent’s vehicle, so you must walk to the parking lot to collect them

    We know that there are so many new rules to follow, but our hope is that you understand that these rules are for the health and safety of all of us.

  • Student Absentee Notes

    If your child was absent from school during the month of January, and you did not sent a note to the office explaining their absence, an Absentee Note was sent home with your child for you to complete yesterday, Friday, January 29th.  If your child does not give you this note, please check their backpack – they are bright pink so you cannot miss it!

  • Work Bee - February 6th

    Our next Work Bee will take place at the school on Saturday, February 6th from 9:00am – 2:00pm.  If you are able to, please bring gloves for inside or outside work, and small cordless gardening tools.  We appreciate all your hard work!

  • Businesses Needed to Join Our List of Gift Card Campaign Sponsors!

    Do you, or does anyone you know, own a business that would be willing to sell gift cards to our school families, at a slight discount, in order to help the school raise some money?  We are looking for businesses that have gift cards or gift certificates available, and who would be willing to sell them to our fundraising committee for at least 5% less than their face value.  Those cards will then be sold to our families at 100% of their face value.  The difference represents our fundraising profits.  Grocery stores, restaurants, fuel and hairstyling/spa services are among the kinds of businesses we can partner with, though we are open to hearing from you to see if gift cards from your business could be offered to our families!

    We already have a list of businesses that will partner with us, including Vi-La Palace Restaurant, Jasmine Garden Restaurant, Greek Islands Restaurant and Paliotti’s Restaurant, as well as many grocery stores.  We want to hear from you if you, or someone you know, owns a business and should be on our list.  The deadline for getting back to us is Wednesday, February 3rd.  Send an email by clicking here or call Elizabeth Ocon at (778) 752-9176.

    Thank you for your support!

  • Snow Day Procedures

    The long range forecast is for snow the second week of February, so this is a good opportunity to remind you of our snow day procedures:

    • as a regional school, we have students who come to our school from many different locations.  It is very difficult to determine the safety on the roads in all areas, and so our school, in conjunction with SJB, has to make a decision that takes many factors into consideration.  While we do our best to make a decision about school closures as early as we can, that is not always possible.  In the event of a school closure, the information will be posted on the homepage of the school’s website, hopefully by 6:00am.  Please do not call the school
    • if the decision to close the school is made later than usual, an email will also be sent to all school families
    • if it were to begin to snow heavily during the school day and the decision was made to close the school, we would then activate the process we have in place where the classroom phone out parents would make the necessary calls for parents to come and pick up their children.  Administrative staff would remain on site until all children are safely picked up from the school  
    • if the school is open, but you believe that the driving conditions are too dangerous in your area to bring your children to school, please keep your children at home – the safety of your family is far more important than their schoolwork, which will be waiting for them when they return to school

    We do our best to make the best decision possible during these challenging situations, but please know that the safety of the students, staff and parents is our primary concern.

  • St. John Brebeuf's Open House

    Thinking about going to SJB next year?  Wanting to learn more about who they are and what they offer?  Join them for their Virtual Open House and see why that is where you want to be!  Their Open House goes live Monday, February 8th at 6:00pm and they will be hosting a live Open House Q&A session the following night, on Tuesday, February 9th from 6:30 – 8:00pm.  Register now by clicking here.

  • Fundraisers: What are we raising money for?

    Fundraising is an essential part of every Catholic school’s budget in an effort to keep tuition at an affordable level for all families.  In addition, fundraising enables St. James and St. Ann’s to complete projects and purchase items that are needed and benefit all students.  The Parent Fundraising Association (PFA) of St. James and St. Ann’s Elementary has been at work to replace some of our traditional in-person fundraising events, which have been cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19 transmission.  Check out our next Fundraiser:

  • Berryhill Frozen Blueberry Case Fundraiser in February

    A new fundraiser starts this Monday – buy 10lb cases of local frozen blueberries for $25/each!  Order forms will come home on Monday.  Please note that we will accept cheques or Direct Debit Authorization forms for payment.  Order forms and payment are due Monday, February 8th.  You can pick-up your blueberries on Friday, February 19th at 2:30pm.

  • Thunderwear - Another Chance to Order!

    We have noticed that on P.E. days, many students are now starting to wear a variety of things that are not part of the P.E. strip, not Thunderwear, and not even close in colour to those items.  Some parents have mentioned that since their children are able to wear their Thunderwear so often now, they have actually worn it out, and some have even outgrown their Thunderwear.  So, unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions!  Never before have we sold Thunderwear twice in the same school year, but, back by popular demand we will once again be offering the chance for you to order Thunderwear.  Order forms were sent home to families yesterday, Friday, January 29th, and are due back this coming Friday, February 5th at 9:00am.  Please note that we will accept cheques or Direct Debit Authorization forms for payment.  Unfortunately we are unable to accept any late orders, as we want to get the Thunderwear items to you as quickly as possible.  

  • Daily Health Check

    Parents are asked to complete a Daily Health Check of their children each morning before they come to school.  Please assess your child for the following symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of smell or taste
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea and vomiting

    If your child has one of those symptoms, excluding fever, they should stay home for 24 hours from when the symptom started.  If the symptom improves, they may return to school when they feel well enough.  If the symptom persists or worsens, seek a health assessment.  If your child has two or more of the symptoms, or they have a fever, you should seek a health assessment for them.

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    Thank you for your support!