Week 3 School Closure

posted Apr 9, 2020, 11:09 AM by Tania Gamache

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This year we make our journey of Holy Week in a way like never before. As a Christian community we cannot gather, however, we can continue to keep Holy Week in our hearts, in union with the prayer of the Church as we live throughout this week.

A Prayer in This Time of Challenge (modified from Bishop Larry Duffy)

God of Love, we come to you with prayerful hearts and with confidence in your loving presence.  We stand before you as a people of hope, trusting in your care and protection. May we be comforted by your love in these anxious times.

Generous and Merciful God, fill us with compassion and concern for others, young and old; that we may look after each other in these challenging times, especially those among us who are vulnerable. May your example give us the courage we need to go to the margins, wherever they may be. Heal us of our fear.

Healing God, bring healing to those who are sick with the Coronavirus and be with their families and neighbors. We pray especially for those who are isolated, that they may know your love. Stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

God of Strength, accompany all those who serve us with such love and generosity in the medical profession, in all our healthcare facilities and those working in “essential services”. We ask you to bless them, strengthen them and guide them with your abundant goodness.

O God of creation and God of life, we place ourselves and our world in your protection and love. May your peace be with us and enfold us today, tomorrow and during the time ahead.

Message from Pope Francis for Holy Week


As we enter the next phase of “Distance Learning”, the safety and wellness of our staff, students and STM families remains our top priority. Last week, STM educators were collecting information from our community to ensure ALL of our students have equitable access to technology at home for learning. As you can imagine, there is a wide variety of family circumstances in our community, which greatly impacts our students’ abilities to learn from home. In partnership with Ottawa Public Health, our school board now has an approved protocol to distribute technology to families in GREATEST need in our community. We also have students in our community, who require specialized equipment (SEA) to support their special education learning profiles. This week we will be organizing the distribution of technology to those students in greatest need to ensure access to learning.

OCSB Director of Education. Denise Andre, shared this update with all families on April 4th. She indicated the guidelines from the Ministry of Education for the suggested number of hours for student work FDK-Gr. 6 is 5 hours per week. This includes a variety of learning opportunities suggested by your child’s educators. We want to remind you that “distance learning” looks different for each family and for each child.  On March 17, the Ontario government declared an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act in response to COVID-19.  We recognize that each family circumstance is unique. We understand that many of our families are enduring substantial hardships and stress at this time. We do not expect parents to become “at home teachers” during this challenging time. Please do not worry about “homeschooling” your children. Children need to feel safe and secure to be able to learn. Please maintain  your family’s security, safety and wellness as your top priority. Do your best to support and encourage your children to actively engage in authentic learning at home. This may include: moving their bodies (dancing, playing, being active), using their imagination (games, krafts, drawing, painting, puzzles, Lego, music, creative play), reading and real-life math (baking, cooking, cards, games, etc) STM educators will continue to connect with our students/families to offer a variety of weekly learning opportunities. These suggested activities will be flexible, age-appropriate and respectful of your family circumstances/challenges. This short-term school closure will not negatively impact the long term academic success of your children. 

This global pandemic is impacting our entire world; we are living in very unique times. Encourage your children to document this journey, keep a journal of some kind (handwritten, typed, photographs, video, drawings. etc) This is history in the making, your children are part of this journey, which will be talked about for generations to come. When this pandemic is all over, store this journal someplace special for your children. Some day your children will be able to share this with their children and grandchildren. This will be a tangible, personal source/artifact of their own history. 

GRADE 6/SIBLINGS PHOTOS: We have been in contact with Lifetouch regarding this Spring’s Grade 6 Grad and Siblings photos.  As you know we haven’t been able to distribute proofs or collect orders due to COVID-19 and recent school closures, but it’s not too late to order school pictures. Just call 1-866-457-8212 and Lifetouch will help locate your access credentials to place your order online if you wish.. For a nominal shipping fee these photos will be sent directly to your home. 

MILK/PIZZA/SUBWAY/POPCORN REFUNDS: We are awaiting direction from school board officials regarding the refund to parents for these school-based programs. We are in communication with our school Parent Council, as 3 of the programs are coordinated by our STM Parent Council. We will inform you of the plan for refund once it has been determined. 

We extend our sincere gratitude to our amazing STM staff for their dedication, compassion and creativity as we all learn to navigate this “new normal” in our lives. Special thanks to our parents/students for your continued support, communication and collaboration. Your flexibility and patience are greatly appreciated!

Stay safe! Stay well!

Wishing you a most blessed Holy Week. God Bless!

Your leadership team, Ms. Gotell and Mrs. Gamache

Holy Week Clipart (With images) | Holy week, Holy week images