Today, Minister Lecce announced that publicly funded schools will not reopen this school year. He also mentioned that a plan is coming before the end of June with what reopening will look like for schools in September.
The leadership team and I have been doing the scenario planning that has been ongoing not just for the end of the current school year, but also for the beginning of the next one. While the situation continues to be dynamic, we can assure you that the HNMCS 2020-2021 academic year will commence on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 with new students and all grade 9s, and Wednesday, September 9th for all students.
I want you to know that the leadership team has been planning for the last few weeks with what this could look like for the HNMCS community. Although we do not yet have all of the answers, I wanted to reach out to let you know that we are planning for the different scenarios.
At this time, next year could take any of a number of forms based on the situation and the public health directives issued over the summer. The three scenarios that we have been working on and which form the basis of our planning, are as follows:
- Scenario 1: Schools will remain closed and the school year will commence virtually for all grades.
- Scenario 2: Schools are open to particular grades while ensuring health and safety protocols for staff and students including physical distancing, while other grades will continue with virtual teaching or a blended version (online and in school) until advised otherwise.
- Scenario 3: Schools are permitted to open for all while ensuring health and safety protocols for staff and students including physical distancing.
It is our commitment to you to continue to keep everyone as informed as possible as directives become clearer from the province, and within our community.
As we do not yet know the health and safety requirements of reopening, we do want you to know that your daughter’s best interest and health and well-being are in mind. We are truly looking forward to having them all back in school with us.
As you likely heard on Sunday, the Government of Ontario declared that public schools will not return until after May 31st. Due to this declaration, the leadership at HNMCS has decided that our school year will officially end in online classes.
Unfortunately, we have had to call off any in person events, including grade 12 graduation. We will have a two day celebration beginning with mass on Wednesday, June 10th and following up with an online ceremony on June 11th. The grade 8 class will celebrate the end of middle school with a mass and an online celebration in which we will invite parents to participate on Friday, June 5th.
On Wednesday June 10th, it will be a day for all classes to celebrate what has been an exceptional year in so many ways. There will be more information to come on these events. Please rest assured that teachers and administration are planning to make this year end extraordinary.
On Tuesday, Premier Ford announced that the legislature has extended the state of emergency until May 12th. We will keep you informed, as it sounds like more information is forthcoming at the beginning of May.
Dear HNMCS Community:
I wanted to take this opportunity to touch base after your daughters have had the opportunity to meet with their teachers, attend class, hopefully have joined a movie night, danced in a tik tok, or sent a photo into Instagram. As we navigate this new normal, I want to ensure that we all feel connected and a part of a great school and an excellent community. As the Premier announced today, independent school buildings are remaining closed until April 13th, but with public schools staying closed until May 1st, we will continue to support the efforts to flatten the curve. Please rest assured that our learning continues. Our goals, like the province, are to keep our girls safe and to keep them learning. Due to the fluidity of the situation, we will keep communicating and supporting in every way that we can.
March 23: 4:30 pm
No non-essential entry into the building past 2:30 pm Tuesday, March 24th due to provincial mandate. Our staff & faculty are working remotely and can be reached via email from 8 am to 4 pm.
Dear HNMCS Community:
As the situation continues to change, we are trying to update our community and keep everybody in open communication. As we have said, community and health are our number one priority. Please keep updated with Health Canada. We will update you with any new information on closures as soon as we have it. As well, there will be a COVID-19 Updates page on our website.
Today, being the first day back from March break, we met virtually as a staff to plan what the program will entail going forward for our students. This is a time for both routine and flexibility. Although we are not yet closing the school past April 5th, we have included a schedule right up to Holy Thursday, so that you can see the pattern of the learning to help with planning, routine and understanding. Today and tomorrow are being spent with and for teachers to plan and prepare for the girls. In line with many CIS schools, the plan for and with the girls will start on Wednesday at 8:15 am when prayers and any student government announcements will be sent via email. We ask that students be present at the assigned times to both facilitate learning and to meet the Ministry Outcomes for both graduation and succession to the next grade level. Although there are no formal assessments right now, we are setting up the girls for success should we be continuing online learning past April 6th, at which point assessments may begin. Google classrooms will be used to set up this work and keep the girls connected.
In order for all students to be best prepared for learning, we ask that your daughter have a charged device, a quiet space to work, and that she is logged into her School Google Account. All students will be asked to connect with their class teachers based on the Middle School and High School schedules detailed below. These synchronous (live and online) sessions will be run using Google Hangouts Meet. Students will access their classes through the URL link on their Google Calendar for each class.Please ensure that your daughter is logged into her school email to access this and not a personal Gmail account. To join a lesson, students will need to click on the Hangouts Meet URL link for the class that they are set to attend. There is a short how-to video for joining a Hangout Meet here. Please test microphones and cameras for use as a class. Middle School schedule
Our Middle School students will be focusing on Interdisciplinary projects and key learning in both Math and Language Arts. Students will be keeping active with challenges sent by our Student Government and will have the opportunity to meet with their elective teachers in Weeks 2 and 3 of the schedule. Below you will find the schedule for the coming weeks for your daughter. Your daughter’s next Interdisciplinary project will be available on her Interdisciplinary Google Classroom Wednesday morning and her core teacher(s) will be in touch via email to both parents and students.
High School schedule
For Senior students, Wednesday is a time to meet with all of the teachers and classes, and then it will proceed with two classes a day, with the formal part of the day ending at 12:25 (unless otherwise scheduled). It is a time for creativity, possibility and collaboration. Things will look and feel differently and we welcome constructive feedback as we learn together.
*Async (Asynchronous) meaning there is no live communication and the student is to use that time to complete any set tasks, and/or message the teacher using non-live means (email, Google Classroom posting etc.)
**D1P1= day one period one; D2P2= day two period two, etc.
The aim is business as unusual and seeing the challenges as opportunities. Our goals remain the same for the HNMCS community; the safety and well-being for all and the successful completion of the academic year. "The idea here is really to help our students [and teachers] feel included in the process of rethinking education for a challenging time" (MindShift, March 19, 2020).
To respect the closure of the school and the provincial emergency protocol, we have asked teachers to provide what is needed and ask that no students or families enter the school building. Please contact me directly should you believe it is absolutely necessary to enter the building. Only essential services that must be completed in the school building will be accessing it as needed. Please note that the building will be closed for a detailed cleaning, so after Thursday, March 26th, no further access will be permitted until a return to school has been scheduled.
It is important that as we embark down this path, our girls pace themselves with their work and that they do not become overwhelmed by this new method of delivery. While the curriculum will be a continuation of what they were already studying, the style of delivery and learning will be different. We appreciate your patience and flexibility. Keep healthy and stay active.
Please take care of yourselves and your families.
March 18: COVID-19 Update
Dear HNMCS Community:
Thank you for your patience in these unprecedented times. Please know that your daughter’s well being and the health and safety of our entire community is of the utmost priority. We hope that everyone is home safely and that you are all practising social distancing and reducing your interactions with groups of more than 50 people. We know many of our families are returning from abroad at this time and are being asked to self-isolate as per the guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
At times like these there are a lot of questions and concerns. If you feel that you would like to do some reading about managing anxiety around this health pandemic, I have attached a NY Times article from an excellent writer and counsellor from an all girl’s school. There have been a lot of news stories, social media posts and news conferences from the Prime Minister and Premier and we are all trying our best to sort out exactly what is being said.
For now, we know that the schools will remain closed until April 6th and that the situation will be reevaluated at that time. During this period, we want to provide an educational experience that, albeit different from a face to face one, still represents what we stand for as an HNMCS community. We will be in touch Monday, March 23rd, with an outline of our academic and student support plan moving forward. We will be keeping the lines of communication open and will help to facilitate this process in the best way possible.
March 13: COVID-19 School Closure
As you know, the safety of our families and staff is our number one priority. With yesterday’s pandemic declaration of COVID-19 and the Ontario Government’s closure of publicly funded schools, HNMCS will be closed until April 6, 2020 to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.
In making this decision, please know that HNMCS, as a member of the Conference of Independent Schools (CIS), received advice from Sarah Craig, CIS’s Executive Director, who “strongly” encouraged that Independent Schools “follow this approach”. The HNMCS Board, in evaluating the situation, communicated their support of this action to school leadership.
At this time, we have cancelled all major trips. The Spring Café, Mother Daughter Tea and all other future events will be on hold until further notice. The CISMF has been cancelled and all credit card purchases for tickets will be refunded directly from Roy Thomson Hall.
Our leadership team will be convening to discern the best ways to support our students and their education in the coming weeks. As such, we appreciate your patience as we work through our collaborative planning and we look forward to sharing information with you as we know more.
During this time of uncertainty, we ask for your prayers for those impacted. Please know that we are continually monitoring the situation and will be in touch with updates as they arise.Sincerely, Carrie Hughes-Grant Head of School