Dear Gaglardi Families:

Our world has changed drastically over the past few weeks, leaving few areas of life untouched by the impact of the response to COVID-19. Where once we felt confident, we now feel fear and uncertainty.

As Christians, we are called to confidence rooted in our faithful, loving God who will care for us throughout trying times. We have no promise that He will spare us from difficulties. We do have a promise that He is "the God who gives endurance and encouragement" and he is "the God of hope." Our faith gives us tremendous confidence. Meeting the health, well-being, safety and educational needs of our students and families is our priority.

As we look to the foreseeable future, our format for delivering Christian education will change. Following our Spring break, on April 6, your children will continue to shift from in-school instruction to learning from home to accommodate the social distancing requirements caused by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a change in how we carry out our mission. But it does not change who we are or why we exist.

Some of you may be feeling unsettled about the prospect of your children learning from home over the next few months. We want to reassure you that students and parents/guardians will remain connected with teachers and learning will continue. When teachers "return" to work on April 6, we will be preparing opportunities for classrooms to virtually meet together on scheduled days so that our classroom communities can stay connected and the children have a chance to be together. Also, we will be preparing some exciting learning opportunities, and we look forward to partnering with you on this learning journey. It is essential to bear in mind that we are moving to a home-based learning model, not a strictly "online learning" model. Home-based learning will use technology, but it will not be encompassed by it. We aim to use technology in ways that are appropriate to your children's ages and learning needs. This may be different for each student, teacher and grade level.

Scheduling & Learning Spaces after Spring Break

  • It will be helpful to keep your family’s schedule consistent when it comes to bedtimes, meals, exercise, recreation, family chores and learning. Our teachers will be happy to collaborate with you about developing a learning schedule for your children that accommodates your family's needs, including plans for children with diverse needs.
  • It will be helpful for you to consider the learning spaces in your home where your younger children can work on focused activities. You may want to have input from your children about where they may work best and how they can help design these spaces. We also encourage regular outdoor learning and physical activity where and when possible, given our social distancing restrictions.

Support for Families that have Children with Diverse Needs
We care deeply about all our families, and we will be considering the unique concerns of families that have children with diverse needs. We will continue to provide specialized services to students and families where possible. The health and safety of our students, families and staff is our priority. As such, we will be following the directives from the Ministry of Health, which currently involves social distancing.

Support services will look different for a while and may include:

  • EA’s working via Zoom or telephone to assist learning as needed.
  • Online consultation with outside service professionals such as counsellors etc.
  • In-home visits by EA’s will be limited to minimize contact and protect all those in our community. Still, they will be available to help develop individualized resources for your child.
  • You expect to receive a phone call by April 10 to discuss your child’s particular needs. If we cannot contact you by phone, we will rely on email or other electronic means.

Tuition Payments
While the COVID-19 crisis touches every family, no two families will be financially affected in the same way. We recognize that for many families, the loss of employment income will be a reality. If this crisis is affecting your family’s ability to pay regular tuition, please contact us. We wish to assure you that your children’s enrolment is not at risk. We will find a solution that is suitable for your family as we weather this storm together. Please contact Caron Mulgrew, our School's Comptroller, via email ([email protected]) during Spring Break to let her know of your family’s needs. Since we do not know how long our community will be affected by COVID-19, our school Board has recently approved the following tuition strategy.

March 20 – May 30 – For specific families that seek assistance via email to Caron Mulgrew, the School will defer payments until the crisis has abated. Mrs Mulgrew will negotiate an appropriate re-payment schedule on a case-by-case basis. The School will reduce expenses wherever possible, except for educational costs and wages. Our teachers and EA’s are vital to ensure quality education for your children.

June 1 - June 30 – Refund unused school activity fees to all families. As the crisis deepens, we will continue to invite families to defer tuition payments as needed. Since next year's tuition payments for the 2020-21 school year begin in July for those families on a twelve-month payment plan, the Board will need to review each case to decide if what was previously deferred could be cancelled. Please recognize that the School has limited cash to pay school staff and has restricted borrowing power. Should governments provide relief to independent schools, then the Board will ensure that our most financially vulnerable families will be assisted.

Also, keep in mind that the plans we make today may be impacted by further restrictions or conditions in the future. It's impossible to know when or where changes will come. We appreciate your understanding as we work to serve your family best. Your child’s needs are our priority. If you have questions or require more information, we’ll be available.

During these times may we find our confidence, hope and strength in our God of hope, encouragement and endurance. We pray for those who are most affected through illness, loss of employment and other effects. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV).

Blessings to you all,

Bernadette Pitcher