Return to School Update

Hello Thunderbird Families:

As we continue sharing information with you we ask that you read it carefully.  Please know that as things change, we will attempt to provide you with the most updated information that we have.  If you know of families that are not getting our updates it would be very helpful if you kindly suggest that they sign up for our Newswire on our school website.  Additionally, if you have NOT completed the return to school survey that was shared a few weeks back please call the school: 519-893-8801. Below you will find information about the upcoming school year from our Director of Education Loretta Notten and from your St. Daniel School Admin Team.  There will be more information to come about what to expect on the first day of school next week. 

The start of school is now just around the corner and it is our most sincere hope that while you may have some questions or apprehension about the return, that there is also an equal measure of joy and celebration to be returning just a little bit closer to life and learning as we previously knew it.  Throughout the summer planning has been taking place and as we have said before, at the forefront of all our thinking has been a concern for Health and Safety. As you may know, frequent announcements and clarifications continued to be received by WCDSB senior staff and as a result, our plans did continue to be refined and did evolve.  We have done our very best to not deviate too greatly from those plans upon which you based your decisions back in early August regarding your learning preference for your child as we return to school.

There is a fair bit of information contained within this letter, but we know you will agree that it is important to communicate what we know and to ensure you understand the plan.  With that said, we would like to offer a few very important updates. 

The Parent Survey:

We thank you for responding to our survey – we have heard from the greater majority of all families, but we must account for every student, so if you have not completed the survey – you MUST do so through your local school.  We would ask that if you have completed the survey that you do NOT revisit the survey.  The survey has been removed from our Board website.  We can no longer allow parents to change their mind without compromising the safety of our students.  We are planning based on survey responses and the information that informed your choice has not substantively changed since we launched the survey.  We appreciate your understanding in this regard.  We have approximately 13% of families who have selected to begin the year in our virtual school, now called St Isidore (the patron saint of the internet).

Virtual School versus Home School:

If your family/child has selected to begin the year learning virtually, then the student becomes shared between their home school and St Isidore.  For full clarity – the student is no longer assigned to their home school teacher, but to their teacher in the virtual school, and all communication during that time will be with the virtual school teacher and administration.  Should the decision be made to return to face to face learning – the student returns to their home school and is placed in a class with space.

Secondary Model:

As you know, our secondary model begins with 150 minutes of face to face instruction in the morning, by cohort.  The afternoon features a synchronous (live learning with a teacher) period everyday for every student, followed by a 75 min asynchronous (not live) period everyday for every student.  The model remains similar to what we previously published, but the addition of the 75 minute asynchronous learning period, which will follow their every afternoon synchronous class of 75 minutes, is new.  This will mean that each student experiences a full 300-minute learning day.  This 75-minutes of asynchronous learning will flow from the previous synchronous lesson.

Transition Dates:

We previously published that changes could be made from virtual learning to face to face learning (or vice versa) at 4 week intervals.  The deeper we have gone into the planning and with the number of students to schedule in our virtual school, we have had to make an adjustment.  To that end:

In Elementary:  families/students may transition after the first 4 weeks of instruction (Thanksgiving – accounting for the staggered start), but after that it will be only at Progress Reports in November and first Report Card in January.

In Secondary:  families/students will be confined to transferring between learning modalities at the end of the term (November and thereafter end of January)

Staggered Start Schedule:

We know that there will be many new routines for our students to learn, we are continuing to work hard to prepare our schools and to prepare our staff to welcome our students.  We feel it is prudent and critical to a successful start to stagger the start of school for our students.  We are also challenged to fully schedule and staff our virtual school(s).  To that end, the following is the start up schedule for September:

Kindergarten Schedule:

Monday: No School
Tuesday: Year 1 JK Visits You will receive a call on Monday August 31st with your visit time.
Wednesday: All Year 2 SK students attend and continue to attend everyday.
All Year 2 SK students attend school and half of the Year 1 JK students attend. You will find out what day you Year 1 JK student attends at your visit.
Friday: All Year 2 SK students attend school and the other half of the Year 1 JK students attend. Monday September 14th all JK/SK students attend.

Grades 1-8 Schedule: 

Grades 1 and 2 Sept 8th
Grades 1, 2,  3 and 4 Sept 9th
Grades  1, 2, 3, 4,  5 and 6 Sept 10th
Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,  7 and 8 Sept 11th
Elementary Virtual School Sept 14th
Secondary Virtual School Sept 17th


St Daniel School Bell Times:

Start of School: 9:10
Dismissal: 3:40
To help alleviate any first day confusion, please be prompt when arriving to school and when picking up from school. There will be information shared next week as to the expectations around arrival and dismissal of students.

Class Placements:

Preparing class lists is a process that involves hours of work, on behalf of all staff, to ensure that the needs of all of our students are met. Lists are fluid documents that may be changed and revised several times from now until into September. All of this depends on enrollment and the complexities that are associated with COVID 19.

A great deal of thought and reflection goes into the placement of each child. Many factors are considered in student placement, (e.g., academic abilities, social groupings etc.) In addition, we consult Board and Ministry of Education guidelines including those for combined classes.

Our goal is to place a child where they will achieve the most success academically while trying to balance their social development. A balanced class reflects the diversity and needs of our school community and all of our students. In order to maintain the integrity of classroom cohorts, there will be no class change requests accepted.

In order to find out your teacher for this school year, you will need to access your child’s(ren) Cash Online account. On Friday September 4th. Information will be posted by 4:00 PM.


Students need to be reminded that seats on the bus are assigned and they are not to sit anywhere other than their assigned seat.  Masks are required by all students to ride the bus.  There will be masks on the bus available for a child who may have forgotten their mask.  Secondary students should only report to buses on the day that their cohort is experiencing face to face learning. Questions about busses can be directed to Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR).

 Health and Safety/Masking:

As we all know, life for each of us has evolved.  Masks are now part of our daily reality.  Masks are a way of both containing the virus and protecting us from the virus.  Per provincial direction and the public health authorities, masking will be mandatory for all students in grades 4-12.  If a child needs to be exempted from wearing a mask, an exemption form must be completed and approved by the principal.  The policy on masking will be found on our website shortly and the exemption form will be linked.  Masks are also required by our students in grades K-3, but no form is required for an exemption if a child cannot wear a mask.

Students are encouraged to have their own refillable water bottle, to be encouraged to wash hands frequently and parents are asked to ensure that a self-assessment is completed everyday before coming to school

Those students attending our Extended Day program must login to complete the digital (self) assessment form each morning before arriving at the program.


Wash Your Hands Website! Waterloo Public Health

Wearing a Mask for Kids

Operational Guidelines:

WCDSB has now published on its website our Operational Guidelines.  They make clear the expectations for all members of our WCDSB community, as well as giving insights into the protocols required in our various program areas.  While lengthy, I encourage you to review them, and in particular any area that is relevant to your child and their learning.

Outbreak Protocol:

On Tuesday August 26th, the province outlined its Outbreak Protocol.  It will be available on our WCDSB website in our Operational Guidelines, and the Minister has also referenced it in his letter to you.  Rest-assured that there will be a prompt and transparent response anytime we are dealing with a staff or student member who has tested positive for COVID.  We will coordinate that response with Waterloo Region Public Health.  We do ask all students and parents to ensure a self-assessment has been done each and every day before coming to school.  We also ask students to stay home if you are not feeling well.

A reminder that our plan for re-opening schools is available on our website and that we continue to update both the FAQ section and any other material as need be.  Reviewing the plan and the Operational Guidelines when you have any questions is a great place to find answers.

Student Kits:

Every year we think about preparing a student’s backpack.  This year we have many more considerations as we prepare our students for their return.  We want to ensure that we get off to a strong start and so we are currently preparing a personal learning kit for each and every student in our system.  It will have all the basic learning materials a student needs for their learning and will ensure there is not sharing of those everyday items.  And as outlined in our Operational Guidelines, we will have protocols to ensure we are not sharing/breeching safety when dealing with other items within our classrooms.  The Learning Kits will not leave the classroom, for those students learning face to face.  Contents of the kit can be seen within our Operational Guidelines.

We recognize that there is a lot to process – and certainly a great deal more on our website, but the most important message is this:  we cannot wait to welcome our students back!  We have missed you and there is going to be great joy in being reunited, in hearing chatter and laughter in our classrooms and playgrounds once again.  We are rooted in a faith that reminds us at every turn that we are people of hope.  We know that we are a community that is strengthened by Christ and He teaches us to love unconditionally.  We may stumble at times on our path, but if we pick each other up, if we walk side by side, if we show mercy and grace while seeing the face of Jesus in all whom we encounter, we will have a great year of learning.  We are ready to welcome you back!

Please reach out to us if you need help or guidance, and remain confident that we are here to support you, as we walk together as a hope-filled community.  #WCDSBTogether  #ThunderbirdPride



Loretta Notten                                              Vella Giglio-Chiasson                               Jessica Weber
Director of Education                                  Principal                                                     Vice Principal
WCDSB                                                           St. Daniel C.E.S                                         St. Daniel C.E.S


Back to School Update

Hello Thunderbird Families!

We have 2 weeks to go until we are in the final weekend of summer and our return to school. We miss you incredibly and are very busy preparing for your return. Our school may be closed right now but our community is working to ensure that everyone feels safe and secure as we enter back into learning. 

In the meantime, please see the link as an overview of what to expect on September 8th. There is a lot of information, so kindly read it over carefully: WCDSB Re-Opening Plan. 

If your child is in Year 1 or Year 2 of Kindergarten, expect that a St. Daniel staff member will be in touch in the next week or so to relay opening information and information around your JK visit or new to St. Daniel School SK visit. 

Remote Learning:

If you have selected remote learning, please know that a WCDSB staff will be in contact with you to review how your child(ren) can be successful with remote learning. This learning will commence on Monday, September 14th, 2020. Please stay tuned for more information in regard to school start-up throughout the week.

 Other Important Information:

  • Our school will be providing a kit for each student that will be grade-appropriate (pens, crayons, highlighter, pencil crayons, etc.) to avoid potential cross-contamination.
  • Each classroom will be equipped with a supply of hand sanitizer, but you may feel more comfortable sending your child(ren) with a travel size bottle to support hand hygiene routines.
  • Label everything including mask and their personal belongings.
  • Pack a mask (cloth or disposable). Masks are required for Grade 4 and up and recommended for JK to grade 3. If possible, pack more than one mask.
  • A set of non-marking indoor shoes and a set of outdoor shoes.
  • Please label backpacks, lunch-bags, shoes, containers etc.
  • In keeping our school safe, please familiarize yourself with the self-assessment tool.
  • Covid19 Return to School Busing – Transportation details are now provided and can be found at this link:
  • Explain that because of COVID-19 there will be changes to school routines.
  • Explain we can limit the spread of germs by wearing a face covering, avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth, and sneezing and coughing into a tissue or elbow/sleeve. Be positive as your child works to develop these skills, as it takes time to develop new habits.
  • Teach your child how to wash hands properly. Learn hand-washing together by watching videos geared to your child’s developmental age and practice timing 15 to 20 seconds by humming musical tunes together.
  • Help your child get used to wearing a face-covering as well as putting it on, taking it off and storing it safely.
  • Prepare your child for new school rules to help limit close contact between people (physical distancing measures).
  • Ask your child what questions or worries they have and respond as best you can. It is okay to say there is information that you don’t know yet, and you will learn together.
  • Learning devices will be shared between classes with an intensive cleaning protocol before the device goes from one child to child. However, you may choose to purchase your child(ren) their own device. The WCDSB has a partnership with Dell and STAPLES to make purchasing a device easier. It becomes more affordable and you know the device is compatible with our school network: .

We recognize that the pandemic has significantly affected all families, students and staff. Our reopening is designed to provide routine reestablish classrooms as places where caring adults can nurture positive and trusting relationships with your child(ren) and have them learn to their greatest potential. We will continue to communicate with you in the days ahead to keep you informed. 

We are excited to welcome you and your child(ren) back to the Thunderbird Nest!  


Return to School Update

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Our sincere thanks for completing the recent “Return to School” survey. Currently, our Board staff are following up with families across the system to ensure we have a response from all and are able to plan accordingly for September.

Please know that we will communicate any additional start up information, protocol expectations for school (wearing masks, physical distancing, etc.), and in-person and online learning with you as soon as we have further details available. At this time, the WCDSB is working closely with Waterloo Region Public Health and the Ministry, and updates will be shared in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, there is a resource that may be helpful for your family. The following set of slides were created by Darren Abenstein from Vaughan – his wife is a family physician. There are plenty of great tips to help your family prepare for our return to school. Please follow this link: Family Return to School.

Additionally, to communicate with families more succinctly, the WCDSB has added a new messaging system to all schools. This new system will be another way we will be communicating pertinent information with our community throughout the school year.

The SchoolMessenger Communicate system currently uses telephone and email to notify parents/guardians and staff of routine and urgent information related to school activities, parent engagement activities, or emergency messages.

SchoolMessenger Communicate utilizes the parent/guardian contact information from Aspen, our student/family contact system to send a phone call to the home number and an email to the student’s main contact. So, you do not miss out on any important communications, it is essential that your contact information is always up to date.

This system is intended to augment and not replace other methods of communications such as NewsWire, letters, Twitter, and class websites. Our teachers, Principal and Vice Principal will still be accessible for live socially distanced visits, phone calls and will continue to communicate via current methods including Newswire, Twitter, class websites and paper-based correspondence.

The WCDSB’s implementation of the SchoolMessenger Communicate system is intended to extend its commitment to remain personally connected with families by offering targeted messaging to specific families and timely communications.

We are grateful for your patience and understanding and are looking forward to seeing our Thunderbirds soon!

Mrs. Giglio-Chiasson                                  Ms. Weber
Principal                                                        Vice Principal


Friendly Reminder

Hello Thunderbird Families:

Just a friendly reminder if you have not had a chance to do so, please fill out the return to school survey found in the link below. The link closes today.

We want to offer our assurances that we will be prioritizing health and safety, learning continuity and equity of access for all our students. Nonetheless, for some of our families, you may choose to have your child learn from home.  That is an option for you. We need EVERY family to complete the survey for EACH child, as that is how we will prepare properly for the fall.  Please complete this SURVEY

For Spanish and Arabic Translations see below:

Sabemos que el anuncio de la provincia indica un “regreso convencional” para estudiantes de primaria, lo que significa asistir a la escuela 5 días a la semana, a tiempo completo. En la medida de lo posible, se observará “cohorte”, lo que significa que se hará todo el esfuerzo necesario para limitar el número de contactos con los que cada persona, miembro del personal o estudiante, entra en contacto durante el transcurso del día.  De igual manera, el uso de mascarilla sera obligatorio para los estudiantes de cuarto a octavo grado y permanecera opcional para los estudiantes de JK a grado 3, y, hasta donde sea posible, se respetará la distancia física de 1 metro.

Para los estudiantes de secundaria, la provincia ha indicado que todas las escuelas de la Región de Waterloo abrirán bajo un “regreso modificado”, lo que significa que los estudiantes asistirán a clases presenciales 50% del tiempo. La Junta Católica de Waterloo se ha comprometido a un “modelo cuatrimestral” que implica llevar únicamente dos cursos al mismo tiempo (es decir, es un modelo de 4 términos en lugar de un modelo basado en 2 semestres). Hemos formulado un modelo mediante el cual los estudiantes solo conviven cara a cara con un grupo específico de alumnos en el día y tienen acceso a su segunda clase de manera remota desde el hogar. Hemos desarrollado este modelo con el fin de asegurar 300 minutos de instrucción semanal manteniendo la seguridad y salud de nuestros alumnos y personal como nuestra máxima prioridad. El documento a continuación le brindará mayor información. document está en inglés).

Esperamos que, con la ayuda de algún familiar o amigo(a), pueda completar la siguiente encuesta (también en inglés). El WCDSB espera que pueda contestar esta encuesta lo más pronto posible. Este es el enlace a la encuesta:

Arabic Translation:

الرجوع التقليدي”، مما يعني حضورهم المدرسة خمسة أيام في الأسبوع بدوام كامل. وفي هذا الإطار، سيتم توزيع الطلاب الى “مجموعات صغيرة”   قدر المستطاع وبذل كل جهد ممكن للحد من عدد مرات التواصل مع الطلاب أو أحد موظفي المدرسة.  كما سيتحتم على الطلاب من الصف الرابع الى الصف الثامن ارتداء الكمامات بينما سيظل ارتداء الكمامات أمراً اختيارياً لطلاب مرحلة الروضة حتى الصف الثالث، كما سيتم تطبيق التباعد الجسدي لمسافة متر قدر المستطاع.

وبالنسبة لطلاب التعليم الثانوي، فقد أشارت المقاطعة إلى أن جميع مدارس منطقة واترلو ستفتح أبوابها بطريقة “الرجوع المعدل“، مما يعني حضور الطلاب دروسهم وجها لوجه في الفصول بنسبة 50٪ من الوقت. ومن جانبها التزمت المدارس الكاثوليكية بتقديم نموذج “الفصول الأربعة” وهو ما يعني دراسة مادتين فقط في الفصل الواحد (فهذا النموذج يعتمد على أربع فصول بدلاً من نموذج الفصلين الدراسيين). لقد ابتكرنا نموذجاً بحيث لا يلتقي الطلاب الا مع مجموعة واحدة من زملائهم وجهاً لوجه في أي يوم، ثم استكمال دراستهم من خلال التعلم عن البعد في المنزل. لقد قمنا بتصميم هذا النموذج لضمان حصول كل طالب على 300 دقيقة من التدريس في الأسبوع، مع الاستمرار في إيلاء صحة وسلامة موظفينا وطلابنا أقصى درجات الاعتبار والاهتمام. للحصول على مزيد من المعلومات، يرجى الاطلاع على الوثيقة المرفقة (باللغة الإنجليزية)

نرجو منكم استكمال الاستطلاع التالي (باللغة الإنجليزية) بمساعدة أحد أفراد العائلة أو الأصدقاء ويأمل مجلس منطقة واترلوا التعليمية أن يتم استكمال هذا الاستطلاع في أقرب وقت ممكن. يمكنك الوصول الى رابط الاستطلاع من هنا

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