Important Information Regarding Extended Christmas Break

Dear Waterloo Catholic Community –


As you know we have commenced our well-deserved Christmas Break and we hope that for each of you, it is starting as well as it can under our current circumstances.  No doubt you are likely also aware, the Premier of the Province has indicated that the return to school in January will be remote.  That is, on January 4th both our elementary and our secondary students will begin the new year learning virtually.  The decision is being made out of an abundance of caution.  We know our schools are safe.  The cases of COVID are not starting, nor are they spreading, in our schools, but we are a reflection of the community.  Closing the schools to in person learning for the early part of January will help us contain the cases that come into schools and ensure that when we return to our buildings, we are doing so in the safest manner possible.


Our elementary schools will return to face-to-face learning on Monday January 11th, 2021 and our secondary schools will return to face to face learning on Monday January 25th, 2021.


Just before we left for the break, we were given an indication that the government might choose a remote return in January.   Given the short timelines, we made a “best efforts” attempt to send home Chromebooks with all those students for whom we had a prior request through our comprehensive survey.  If there are outstanding orders that were missed, they will be deployed upon our return on January 4th.   Schools and Extended Day programs currently remain closed and unavailable to staff, students and parents.  All school staff and teachers are on a well-deserved break and will be available for questions and updates as of January 4th, 2021.


The move to remote learning will be different than last spring when the face-to-face hours with teachers was limited.  The school day will follow the bell times of your individual school and if not already received, you/your student will be given a clear indication of the daily schedule your child is to follow through your local school.  Again, we might expect that the first day or two back in January may not be perfectly smooth as we all adjust to the new reality.  St Isidore students will continue as per the usual schedule.


For our high needs special education students we would like to provide the following guidance.  In elementary, students with high needs will learn remotely as with the rest of your class and per the class daily schedule, but there will be “break-out” rooms where additional support is possible.  Your return to face-to-face learning will be January 11th 2020.  For secondary high need students, you will also leaning virtually for the first week back (again with breakout rooms) and by January 11th we will provide more detail with an option for transportation and face to face learning in your local school setting.


As of today, we are still planning to proceed with our Secondary Transition Survey regarding quadmesters 3 and 4.  The current decision to move to virtual is a short-term strategy and there will be a return to face to face learning on January 25th (as we near the end of quadmester 2).  Please keep in mind if you choose “face to face learning in the bricks and mortar schools” or if you choose “virtual” that is your choice through to the end of June.


Thank you for adhering to public health and safety measures that have ensured schools remain a safe place for our students and staff.  This will be more important than ever now – both for our schools and for our community at large.  During the upcoming Christmas Break we must adhere to the guidance to limit our contacts and social gatherings.  You can check the government’s holiday web page for more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season, including suggestions for safer holiday activities for children and families.


Once again, we encourage you to visit to learn what public health measures are in place in our community – but also please be aware that these could change depending on the most current public health advice. We also suggest checking out the WCDSB website  and Region of Waterloo Public Health website as they contain helpful resources and supports.  If you have any questions about what your particular school is doing, please let your school principal know upon their return on January 4th, 2021.


I will also take this opportunity to point out that mental health resources are available to students and families through Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the province. To use this free resource, children can call 1-800-668-6868, or text CONNECT to 686868.


This is likely not the Christmas any of us envisioned or desired.  These challenges are real and the hardships can be quite difficult for some.  But we can see the light in the distance.  We can also see the profound light of the manger.  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.  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.  #InThisTogether  #WeGotThis




Loretta Notten                                                                       


Director of Education 

COVID-19 has been identified at St Margaret School

St Margaret School Community


December 22, 2020


Dear Parents / Guardians:


A case of COVID-19 has been identified at St Margaret School.  Public Health has identified one classroom as high-risk contacts.


All high-risk students and staff are required to self-isolate at home.


Individuals in the affected class have been immediately notified by the school. Public Health is in the process of contacting all high risk contacts of the positive case, and will provide individual guidance to them.


At this point in time, all other students and staff can continue to attend school and are advised to self-monitor for symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop.


Please know that St Margaret staff – as well as staff at our school board head office – are working with Region of Waterloo Public Health to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in students, staff and the community.


A Note About School Cleaning Processes


Upon confirmation from Public Health that one or more individuals at a school site have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Facility Services will be notified as soon as reasonably possible.  Members from the Facilities team will make arrangements to disinfect school spaces as deemed necessary.  This is typically done after school ends for the day and before school begins the next day.  However, in some cases, depending on the timing of notification and size of the school, disinfection may occur at the beginning of the school day.


Disinfection involves the use of standard cleaning products available in your school, plus one or more high speed disinfection units.  A disinfection unit is used to ‘mist’ surfaces with a chemical called Clorox Total 360.  The product needs to sit on a surface and air dry for it to be fully effective.  It has been reviewed by our staff and has been deemed safe when used as directed.


Custodial and maintenance staff who apply the mist will be wearing full PPE including masks, goggles, and gloves.  Classroom spaces are safe to occupy after the chemical has been applied.


A video of product application can be found here:



What does this mean for students at the school?

  • Public Health will work with the school to identify high risk student and staff contacts of the confirmed case.
  • Parents/guardians of students who have been identified as high risk contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly by Region of Waterloo Public Health and provided specific directions related to the need for the student to self-isolate and get tested
  • Parents/guardians of students who have been identified as low risk contacts of a confirmed case will not be contacted directly by Public Health and are not required to self-isolate. The school will provide general information for these students and families.
    • Students and families who have been identified as low risk contacts of the case should self-monitor for symptoms
    • Students who develop symptoms should self-isolate at home and get tested at an Assessment Centre
  • In the event a cohort must self-isolate or the school must close, you will be notified by the school. The school will keep you informed about any plans regarding return to school.
    • The term cohort includes students and staff in the same class, students involved in group activities or who have been in shared spaces during school, students that ride the same bus, attend before/after school care, or participate in extracurricular programming together.
  • Continue to monitor and screen your child for symptoms of COVID-19 daily.


What is COVID-19?

·         COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans

  • COVID-19 symptoms include, but are not limited to fever, cough, trouble breathing, sore throat or nasal congestion. A list of symptoms, including atypical signs and symptoms, can be also be found in the ‘COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms’ on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website
  • People may be able to pass COVID-19 to others from 48 hours before symptoms begin to 14 days after the start of symptoms


Additional COVID-19 resources can be found on Region of Waterloo Public Health’s COVID-19 webpage at

In Need of a Computer??

‘Let’s Get Together’ has been collecting computer and laptop donations from our community and wish to distribute to our families in most need.

See the message below:

Need a computer_

December News at St Margaret 2020

Welcome to the winter season. Here are some updates and reminders:

-Please continue to complete the daily COVID test.

-Remember to listen to the news each morning and/or check the Board website for cancellations. This year when Transportation is cancelled, the school will be closed to students and staff. Teachers will post activities by 10:00 a.m.

-This is the Advent Season. The themes are:

*Week 1 is HOPE (light a purple candle)

*Week 2 is PEACE (light a purple candle)

*Week 3 is Joy (light a pink candle)

*Week 4 is LOVE (light a purple candle)

-Thank you for supporting our Virtual Book Fair!

-All students signed a ‘shovel’ for our Crossing Guard George. We thanked him for helping parents and student cross the road safely!

-We thank the Arias Family (Majestic Balloons) for filling the school each month with spirit!

-The students did an amazing job during the ‘Gathered to Become’ Butterfly activities. Each student will receive a complimentary pass to the Butterfly Conservatory.

-Check out the Board website for new ‘New Ontario support for Learners Financial Assistance Program’

-Here are some resources to support ‘Mental Wellness’ at home and with your family:

“Are you looking for information on how to support your child’s mental health and wellness during Covid?  We’ve created 2 short (1 min) videos to help Parents and Students learn about how to access help.

See the videos below:

Parent version:

Youth version:

Parents, you are invited to consider sharing the youth version with your child(ren).

For a direct link to our Mental Health and Wellbeing Site on our Webpage click here:

We hope this helps your family during this challenging time.

Inclement Weather


Good Afternoon Scottie Families:

As you may have heard, there is a possibility of some nasty weather coming our way this afternoon into this evening and tomorrow. Below is some information for any Inclement Weather Day.

In the event of an inclement weather day being declared, and the buses are cancelled due to the weather and unsafe driving conditions, our school will be closed and students will have a remote learning day. Teachers will communicate through their Google Classroom or D2L. Teachers will post work in the morning, no later than 10 a.m. and students will work on their own timing in their home. This will allow all students to access learning and we will be continuing to keep one and all safe.

For updated information please monitor the WCDSB website, social media feeds, and radio stations for information on cancellations.

Thanks for all that you are doing to keep our community safe. Please contact us if we can help in any way!






Hats and Mitts for those in NEED!

Attention Scotties;

Cambridge needs our help!

The winter season can be an extremely difficult season for many people in our community. Cold weather brings new challenges for those less fortunate.

This December from the 1st-14th, we are collecting adult size winter hats, gloves & mittens that will be donated to those in need through Bridges Shelter.

Also, families can make a monetary donation via School Cash Online (beginning December 1st PM)! Any money donated will be used to purchase new hats & hats/mitten/gloves for those in need this year.

Help us spread some light & love this Christmas season with your generous donation! 

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

St Vincent de Paul Christmas program

St. Margaret Families:

The St Vincent de Paul Society of St. Patrick’s Parish is once again running their annual Christmas program. Families living within the parish boundaries may request Christmas assistance by leaving a message on the SVDP voice mail at 519-623-0173 by Nov 30. A volunteer will return the call and collect the required information.

Due to Covid precautions, a grocery store voucher will be mailed this year and for those families with children under 18 years of age, a gift card will also be included in lieu of actual gifts.

Please note that families that register with the Firefighter Basket Program, Salvation Army or the Food Bank’s Christmas program cannot also register with our program.

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