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COVID-19

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates
Protecting the health and safety of our Community is our priority at Hillfield Strathallan College. This website content is meant to keep members of our community informed about COVID-19 and how the virus is affecting the College and our community.

For further information regarding the communication of information pertaining to COVID-19, please contact:

Zahra Valani
Director of Advancement and Communications
Hillfield Strathallan College
Email: Zahra.Valani@hsc.on.ca
905-389-1367 Ext: 162

List of 38 items.

  • October 4 - Confirmed Case

    A member of HSC’s staff has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member was last on campus on September 24 and has had no contact with students. 

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the staff member and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.
  • May 27 - Vaccine Update

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    The Government of Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals ages 12 and older. HSC is committed to providing and maintaining a safe school environment for all students, teachers and staff. Consistent with this commitment, the College strongly encourages all students ages 12 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as able to. 

    Eligible students can now book an appointment through the provincial booking system to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines and/or to book an appointment, please click here.

    It is recommended that students and their parents/guardians consult with their healthcare provider regarding whether to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.

    Regards,
    Cindy Lima Rivera, RN
    Manager of Health Services
  • April 21 - COVID-19 Update

    HSC was informed on April 20 of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case within our community. The case was NOT on campus during the period of communicability, and therefore there is no risk of exposure within HSC.
  • April 14 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,

    This is to notify you that we have received confirmation of three positive cases of COVID-19 within our HSC community. All students and staff that have been identified as close contacts of the cases have been contacted and advised to isolate under the direction of Hamilton Public Health Services. None of these cases at HSC have an epidemiological link, meaning there is no evidence of school transmission.

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the student and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 18 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear students, parents and guardians,

    HSC was informed on March 17 that a student in the Senior School tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last on campus on March 10. Hamilton Public Health Services has determined that this confirmed case is NOT CONNECTED to the Senior School faculty member who tested positive for the virus on March 13. Given the last day the student was last on campus, no other students or staff are considered to be close contacts at school. Please note that we will be sending a follow-up communication tomorrow with an update on when Senior School students can expect to return to in-person learning.

    Your patience and understanding during this time is greatly appreciated, both for HSC and for the student and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 15 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear parents and guardians,

    The outbreak that was declared on March 1 as a result of two (2) confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the same Middle School classroom cohort has ended effective Tuesday, March 16. Hamilton Public Health has assessed all those in the affected cohort and given them clearance to return campus starting tomorrow.

     
    We look forward to a warm welcome for those returning to in-person learning. Further inquiries can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 14 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that we were informed on March 13, 2021, that a Senior School faculty member tested positive for COVID-19. The faculty member was last on campus on Wednesday, March 10.
    In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, HSC is acting as directed by Hamilton Public Health to provide contact tracing information, including attendance records and any other groups the confirmed case had contact with. Hamilton Public Health will determine who the close contacts are and will contact them directly to inform them. In addition, we have reported the positive case to the Ministry of Education.
     
    While HSC is not responsible for contact tracing, all students, faculty and staff in the affected class cohorts and their families were notified by the College that Public Health will be reaching out to them. If you have not been directly contacted by HSC today, then you can continue to attend classes on Tuesday, March 16 as normal. According to Public Health, siblings of the contacted students do not need to isolate as long as everyone in the household is symptom-free.

    As always, we want to remind parents/guardians that they are responsible for actively screening their child(ren) at home every morning before boarding HSC’s transportation or arriving on campus. We understand it can be difficult to decipher whether a symptom in your child is an indication of COVID-19. We must err on the side of caution. Unless related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., seasonal allergies, asthma), we cannot take any chances. If your child(ren) fails the screening, they must remain home, and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.

    We remain committed to operating a safe and supported academic program through modes of learning outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plans document. We want to remind you that having your child attend HSC for in-person learning is voluntary, and we have established HSC@home for those that wish to learn from home.

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the faculty member and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 9 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,

    This is to notify you that a member of HSC’s non-teaching staff tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member has not been on campus since Friday, February 26.
      
     
    We remain committed to operating a safe and supported academic program through modes of learning outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plans document. We want to remind you that having your child attend HSC for in-person learning is voluntary, and we have established HSC@home for those that wish to learn from home.
     
    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the staff member and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 5 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear parents and guardians,

    As you are aware from yesterday’s communication, HSC has confirmed two (2) cases of COVID-19 from the same Middle School classroom cohort. Hamilton Public Health defines an outbreak in a school as two or more positive related cases of COVID-19. Given that definition, an outbreak has been declared at the Middle School. Students and staff in the affected classroom cohorts have been self-isolating per Hamilton Public Health protocols. Unless you or your family have been contacted directly by Health Services or Public Health, there are no necessitated changes to current daily routines. 

    As per Public Health protocols, outbreak signage will be posted at the main campus entrance and on the doors to the Middle School. At this time, the outbreak is expected to end Tuesday, March 16 but Hamilton Public Health will determine when in-person operations can safely resume for those currently isolating. 

    We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 4 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,
     
    On March 4, 2021, the College was informed that a second Middle School student in the same cohort as the March 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 has also tested positive for COVID-19. This student is already part of the cohort undergoing mandatory isolation. As Hamilton Public Health advised, the affected cohort will continue to isolate at home and learn and work online if able. In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, we have reported the positive case to Hamilton Public Health and to the Ministry of Education. 

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the student and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 2 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that we were informed on March 1, 2021, that a Middle School student tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last on campus on Friday, February 26. In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, we have notified Hamilton Public Health, and they are working to determine all close contacts of the positive case. In addition, we have reported the positive case to the Ministry of Education.
     
    HSC is acting as directed by Hamilton Public Health to provide contact tracing information, including attendance records and any other groups the confirmed case had contact with. Hamilton Public Health will determine who the close contacts are and will contact them directly to inform them. While HSC is not responsible for contact tracing, all students, faculty and staff in affected bus and class cohorts and their families were notified by the College that Public Health would be reaching out to them.
     
    Hamilton Public Health advised the College that the Middle School’s confirmed case, as well as all those in the affected bus route cohort and class cohort will remain at home for a 14-day isolation period and continue learning and working online if able. Hamilton Public Health further confirmed that any siblings of students in those affected cohorts must also isolate themselves and will provide those families with further guidance.
     
    In addition, parents/guardians are responsible for actively screening their child(ren) at home every morning before boarding HSC’s transportation or arriving on campus. It is the parent/guardian’s sole responsibility to ensure their child(ren) is healthy, symptom-free and able to participate in the daily school program. If your child(ren) fails the screening, they must remain home, and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.
     
    We understand it can be difficult to decipher whether a symptom in your child is an indication of COVID-19. We must err on the side of caution. Unless related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., seasonal allergies, asthma), we cannot take any chances. We ask that parents and guardians respond to symptoms of COVID-19 as outlined by Hamilton Public Health Services’ symptomatic decision guide available here
     
    As part of our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, HSC has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, increased frequency of hand hygiene, enhanced screening procedures and increased frequency of health checks in an effort to mitigate further spread of the virus. 
     
    We remain committed to operating a safe and supported academic program through modes of learning outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plans document. We want to remind you that having your child attend HSC for in-person learning is voluntary, and we have established HSC@home for those that wish to learn from home.
     
    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the student and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.
     
    Regards,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • February 26 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC parents and guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that we were informed on February 25, 2021, that an HSC student in the Senior School tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last on campus on February 11, 2021. Based on this, Hamilton Public Health has advised the College that no students or staff will need to be isolated due to this situation and Public Health is working to determine all close contacts of the positive case.

     
    Please continue to screen your children daily before boarding the school buses or arriving on campus. Senior School students have been doing a great job at self-screening before attending school in-person. We must remain vigilant at all times, and we ask that you follow these same guidelines on weekends, holidays or days where your children are attending school remotely.  
     
    It is the parent/guardian’s sole responsibility to ensure their child(ren) is healthy, symptom-free and able to participate in the daily school program. If your child(ren) fails the screening, they must remain home, and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.

    The College has worked very hard throughout this pandemic to ensure that we have robust protocols to protect the safety and wellbeing of our community. We are incredibly proud of how well everyone has adopted these protocols and want to remind the community of the shared importance of remaining vigilant. As we have seen so far, these collective screening efforts and stringent health measures have worked to protect us against outbreaks in our community. Let’s keep up the good work.

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time both for HSC and for the student and their family’s privacy. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • February 19 - Updated COVID-19 Screening Guidelines

    Important Message from Health Services
    Updated COVID-19 screening guidelines (Feb. 19, 2021)
     
    Dear parents and guardians,
    The Chief Medical Officer of Health has directed all schools in Ontario to update the symptoms of illness screening criteria for all children and staff in schools. HSC remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for your children and our staff and will immediately implement all the recommendations in the updated guidelines. These updates are already reflected in the provincial school and child care screening tool and have been applied to HSC’s daily student screening form. Hamilton Public Health is in the process of updating their screening and symptom decision making tools; we will share those with you as soon as they are available. 
     
    The following updates to the screening process, supersede those outlined in the Parent Attestation Form you signed electronically a few weeks ago.

    Symptoms
    • Students experiencing one or more new, different or worsening symptoms must stay home even if the symptom(s) is mild or has resolved (e.g., over the weekend or scheduled HSC@home day).  Symptoms include: fever >37.8 ℃, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, sore throat or painful swallowing, stuffy/runny nose, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling unwell, muscle aches and/or fatigue. The student must stay home, get tested for COVID-19 or contact their health care provider. Students will not be able to return to school until COVID-19 has been ruled out through testing or a healthcare provider has provided an alternate diagnosis. If you chose not to have your child assessed, he/she must stay home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. 
    Household Members
    • If a student’s household member (parent, siblings, other) has one or more symptoms as listed above, the student(s) must stay home until COVID-19 has been ruled out for the symptomatic household member and/or follow instructions from public health.
    • If a student is dismissed from school due to illness, his/her siblings will also be dismissed and must stay home until COVID-19 has been ruled out for the symptomatic student.
    Close Contacts 
    • If a student has been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, the student must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days even if they don’t have symptoms. A negative COVID-19 test does not reduce the isolation period.
    •  If a student’s household member has been instructed to self-isolate because of close contact with a positive case of COVID-19, the student must stay home for 14 days (until the household member has completed the self-isolation period).
    Travel (International and Interprovincial)
    • If a member of the student’s household has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, the student(s) must stay home until the individual that travelled has completed their 14 day mandatory quarantine period. This does not apply if the household member is exempt from quarantine requirements (e.g., pilot, truck driver).
    • If a student travels outside of Ontario, they should self-isolate at home for a period of 10-14 days in accordance with the current advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health for interprovincial travel.
    Please continue to screen your children daily prior to boarding the school buses or arriving on campus. Senior School students have been doing a great job at self-screening before attending school in-person. It is imperative that we remain vigilant at all times and we ask that you follow these same guidelines on weekends, holidays or days where your children are attending school remotely.  

    If you have any questions, please contact healthservices@hsc.on.ca or visit our COVID-19 Advisory Page.

    Regards,
    Cindy Lima Rivera, RN
    Manager of Health Services
  • February 17 - Head of College Update on March Break

    Dear parents, guardians and students,
     
    Last Thursday, the Minister of Education announced that all publicly-funded schools would postpone their March Break until the week of April 12 to continue to curb the spread of COVID-19. As I communicated last week, the Ontario Heads of School met Thursday night to discuss our options that would best support the province’s efforts to combat the virus while balancing the health, wellbeing, and learning of our community.
     
    Before the meeting, the Private Schools and Independent Education Unit (PSIE) sent out the memorandum below from Jeff Butler, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education. It reinforced the message shared by Minister Lecce during the announcement and press conference on Thursday:
     
    “We recognize the importance of providing students, staff and families with an opportunity to rest and recharge. This is why we will be moving the planned break to the week of April 12, 2021, in the publicly funded school system. It is the Ministry’s expectation that private schools in Ontario will also postpone any planned breaks until April 12 where possible in order to support our collective fight against COVID-19. This is based on the best advice of public health officials, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health. We will continue working with the Chief Medical Officer and local medical officers of health to support compliance with public health directives and advice.”
     
    At present, our holidays for the remainder of this year are as follows:

    • March Break: Friday, March 12 to Friday, March 26 (11 school days)
    • Easter Break: Friday, April 2 to Monday, April 5 (2 school days)
    • Victoria Day Weekend: Friday, May 21 to Monday, May 24 (2 school days)
    • The last day of school is June 16, 2021

    In discussions with our school and our Leadership Team, we feel we have an obligation to support the Province’s initiatives and align with the Public School March Break. We also have a lot of faculty, staff, and families who have children or partners in Public Schools and want to be able to spend that time together.
     
    That said, we also know how hard everyone has been working this year, and that everyone needs a bit of a break before April. We believe that we can meet the spirit of cooperation that the Minister has requested, while still taking a bit of a breather in March and shifting some holidays to the end of the year, when hopefully, we will truly be able to enjoy them. We believe the following proposal can achieve that and have the same number of teaching and holiday days as we have communicated above. 

    • March Long Weekend: March 12, 2021 to March 15, 2021 (2 school days)
    • Easter Break: Friday, April 2 to Monday, April 5 (2 school days)
    • Spring Break: Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16 (5 school days)
    • Victoria Day Weekend: Friday, May 21 to Monday, May 24 (2 school days)
    • Early June Release Days: Friday, June 11 to Wednesday, June 16 (4 school days)
    • The last day of school becomes June 10, 2021

    While we recognize that no scenario that we could create would meet all of our constituents’ needs, we feel this plan is the best balance to achieve the goals outlined above. I’m proud to say that I had not thought of the idea of the March long weekend myself. One of our Grade 8 students emailed me on Thursday night and said, in reference to moving the March Break to April, “Personally, I think that it is too long without a break”. I agree.
     
    Thank you for your continued support, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.
     
    Warm regards,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • February 3 - Important Message About Returning to Campus on February 8

    As you may have heard, the Government of Ontario and the Ministry of Education announced that the re-opening of in-person learning across schools in the Hamilton region will take effect Monday, February 8, 2021. Given this news, HSC will welcome students back to campus on that day.
     
    Undoubtedly, this is a much anticipated day for all of us and we are excited to be able to resume in-person learning. Please look for a communication from your child’s principal on Friday with information specific to each school’s return to in-class learning. 

    As always, you have the choice to return to in-person learning or continue learning remotely through HSC@home. HSC@home operates on a week-by-week plan and we ask that you register your intent to learn remotely in advance at the links below: 
    For more information on our continuity of learning plans, please visit www.hsc.on.ca/continuityplans.
     
    The health and wellbeing of our community continues to be our top priority. The protocols and measures we had in place prior to the December break have been enhanced as per the updated Ministry of Education and Hamilton Public Health guidelines. Please take a moment to review the following information:

    Daily Symptom Screening:
    Parents/Guardians play a key role in ensuring the safety of our community by actively screening their child(ren) for symptoms compatible with COVID-19 on a daily basis, prior to boarding HSC transportation or arriving on campus. This is a must in order to decrease the risk of transmission in our community. As such, the College will be sending an updated parent attestation document to each of our families via your myHSC account. It is imperative that a parent or guardian signs this new attestation form prior to your child returning to campus.

    Montessori, Junior and Middle School:
    You can use the online tool from the Ministry of Health, refer to Hamilton Public Health symptom decision guide, or use HSC’s screening form. We are adhering Hamilton Public Health’s guidelines as outlined and we ask for your diligence in doing the same. If your child(ren) has any of the symptoms listed, keep them home and contact Health Services.

    Senior School (Updated Ministry of Education Guidance):
    All Senior School students will be required to show proof of their daily symptom screening before being allowed on school buses and on campus. HSC has developed an electronic form for students to complete on a daily basis. Using their student number and myHSC password, students can access that form at the link here. After completing their screening, students will receive a green “Pass” message or a red “Fail” message. Students must pass their screening in order to attend school. If your child(ren) does not have an electronic device, he/she will be required to complete a paper document each and every day which will be collected at the door. You can click here to print copies of the Daily COVID-19 Symptom Screening form. If your child(ren) does not have proof of having completed the daily screening form, they will not be allowed to board school transportation or enter the campus. Should the Ministry of Health make any changes to the screening guidelines, we will communicate this to our families. 

    The same process above will be followed by all staff working on campus.

    Masks:
    The Ministry of Education has now made masks mandatory for Grades 1 through 3 and outdoors when physical distance cannot be maintained. HSC had already implemented these measures as of Oct. 19, 2020. As a reminder, masks are mandatory for all students from JK/M4 to Grade 12. Masks must be worn at all times (school bus, indoors and outdoors) and can only be removed to eat or drink. Although not mandatory, we strongly recommend children under the age of 4 to wear a mask if able to do so. Children under the age of 2 are not required to wear masks. In accordance with Health Canada recommendations, HSC requires masks be made of at least three layers of breathable material and have a comfortable and snug fit without gaps. Neck gaiters, masks with an exhalation or exhaust valves are not recommended. 

    For tips on how to help your child with wearing a mask, please click here

    Illness at School:
    If your child becomes ill once at school, Health Services will be notified by staff. Your child will be accompanied by a member of Health Services to a Health Office for further assessment. If the student is over the age of 2 and able to tolerate a mask, a non-medical disposable mask will be provided. A nurse will assess the student’s symptoms, check their temperature and contact a parent/guardian or emergency contact for pick up. It is expected that the student will be picked up within an hour of receiving a call from Health Services. The student will be cared for and supervised in a designated Isolation Health Office by a member of the Health Services team.  

    Medical Assessment and COVID-19 Testing:
    Health Services will advise you on what the next steps are in accordance with Hamilton Public Health’s guidelines.

    Parents/Guardians will be provided with information and resources, including information on how to book an online appointment for COVID-19 testing. HSC will request a copy of the COVID-19 test results or a medical clearance letter from your healthcare provider for your child(ren) to be able to return to campus.

    Asymptomatic Testing and PCR Antigen Testing:
    While the Ministry of Education will be implementing asymptomatic surveillance testing and rapid PCR antigen testing, HSC will not be taking part in on-site testing at this time. This added measure currently applies only to publicly funded schools in designated zones as determined by their local public health unit. Should Hamilton Public Health determine that HSC is eligible for this program, we will inform the community.

    Mental Health Wellbeing:
    All students at the College, whether attending in-person or participating in remote learning, have access to health and counselling services to support their mental health and socio-emotional wellbeing. We encourage you to discuss mental health with your child(ren), monitor their transition back to school and reach out if you have any concerns. We recommend the following resource to assist you:


    In addition to the above, students 14 years of age and older have access to 24/7 counselling services through keep.meSAFE – Mental Wellness Student Support Program. This service is available free of charge and students can access it in a confidential manner and in many different languages.

    Immunizations:
    Please ensure your child(ren)’s immunizations are up to date and report them to Hamilton Public Health. If you live outside of Hamilton, you must also report it to your local health unit. The Grade 7 Immunization Program (Hep. B, Meningitis and HPV) continues to be on hold for this year. You can now get these publicly funded vaccines from your healthcare provider. There should be no cost to you, your doctor will receive the vaccines free of charge from Hamilton Public Health.

    For some students, the transition back to school may be challenging. We ask that you remain vigilant for any changes in your child(ren)’s physical and mental health and to reach out if you believe your child(ren) could use our support. We will continue to inform you of any changes to our protocols and practices to reflect the most up to date guidance from public health. For more information on our COVID-19 management visit https://www.hsc.on.ca/covid-19.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support. If you have any questions, concerns or wish to update your child(ren)’s health information, Health Services can be reached at healthservices@hsc.on.ca.
     
    We know that these last few weeks have been a challenge for our entire community and we appreciate the support that has been given by parents to our students and teachers while we worked remotely. We look forward to seeing students in classrooms next week.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • January 12 - Important Update Regarding Delay in Return to Campus

    Today, the Ontario government shared a press release which details the declaration of a second provincial emergency that includes a stay-at-home-order and the extension of school closures. Given this news, in-person learning at HSC’s campus will remain closed to students until Wednesday, February 10, 2021 in compliance with provincial ordersStudents currently learning remotely through myHSC and HSC@home will continue to do so.
     
    Please note that under the Child Care and Early Years Act (or CCEYA), all licensed child care and early years classrooms can remain open for in-person programming. This means that any CCEYA licensed classrooms at HSC will stay open to students.
     
    Again, please reach out to your school principal if you have any questions regarding your child(ren)’s programming.
     
    Truly,
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • January 6 - provincial government's plans for the re-opening of Ontario's schools

    At the links below, you will find a letter to parents from Minister Lecce as shared by the Private Schools and International Education (PSIE) Unit.
     
    1. Minister of Education Letter - January 2021 ENGLISH
       
    2. Minister of Education Letter - January 2021 FRENCH
     
    In the letter, Minister Lecce confirms the provincial government's plans for the re-opening of Ontario's schools:
     
    Recognizing the importance of in-person learning, students will return to class across the province beginning January 11​.  

    For HSC,​ this means the following:
    • There will be no programming from January 4 through January 8 for MT/M3 and PK2/PK3 students. On campus programming will resume for these students on January 11, 2021. Given there is no form of remote learning available for our youngest students, we plan to make up for the loss of this week by adding an additional week of programming in June 2021 for students in MT/M3, PK2 and PK3.

    • From January 4 through January 8, 2021, JK/M4–Grade 8 students will switch to a remote learning curriculum through myHSC and HSC@home. In-school classes will resume for those who wish to return to campus on January 11, 2021.

    • Grade 9–12 students will learn remotely from January 4 to 22, 2021. Since January 25 and 26 are exam designated days and classes are not scheduled, Senior School students will return to campus on Wednesday, January 27, the start of the second semester.
  • December 21 - Return to Campus Postponed - Switch to College-Wide Remote Learning

    Dear parents, guardians and students,
     
    I hope you are enjoying the first few days of the break and have found time to unwind with close family. 
     
    Given the announcement today from Premier Ford, and a review of public health and ministry recommendations, HSC will close the College campus and postpone in-person learning in the following manner:

    Starting January 4, 2021, JK/M4-Grade 12 students will switch to a remote learning curriculum through myHSC and HSC@home. There will be no programming from January 4 through January 8 for MT-M3 and PK2-PK3 students with more details for that age group to follow in a separate communication early in the new year.

    • All Montessori and Junior School students will combine tools in their take-home learning kit with modules provided through HSC@home to ensure continuity of learning for the week. 
    • All Middle and Senior School students will receive instruction via HSC@home’s virtual curriculum. 
     
    Starting January 11, 2021, students from PK2/MT- Grade 8, will return to in-person learning if they wish. HSC@home will be available for JK/M4- Grade 8 students. If you decide to continue with remote learning, please follow the links below and register your decision by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 8:
    All Senior School students will remain in remote learning until Friday, January 22. As we move closer to that date, the decision to return to campus will be communicated based on updates from the Ministry. 
     
    • With respect to Senior School exams and summative assessments, there will be a communication before the end of the break outlining any changes to previously communicated plans by Ms. Cicchetti.
     
    It is critical that students (with help from parents if needed) check-in to their myHSC classroom page each morning to keep on top of assignments and be informed of upcoming virtual presentations. For more information on our continuity of learning plans, please visit www.hsc.on.ca/continuityplans.
     
    I understand that this change will be a challenge for many, but we have proven for the last nine months that we, with the support of our parents, can effectively implement multiple learning modes with great success. We assure you that we will do everything we can to facilitate this transition to remote learning. 
     
    As always, please reach out to your school principals or teachers if you have any questions or concerns. 
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • November 11 - Message from Health Services

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    As we find ourselves in the midst of an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city and across the province, we remain committed to doing all we can to maintain the safest possible environment for all members of our community. We cannot do this without you. Your diligence in screening daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and adhering to Hamilton Public Health guidelines are the first line of defence we have to safeguard our community.

     
    We are grateful for your support and cooperation and we ask that you please continue to screen daily and to keep your children home if they have any symptoms at all. There have been a number of students that have arrived at school while feeling unwell and this is a risk we cannot take. To help you screen your children everyday, we have created a screening tool that you can download by clicking here.

    Last week Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer, recommended the use of 3 layered non-medical masks with a filter, as they provide more protection against the transmission of COVID-19. Research shows that a 3 layered mask with a filter also protects the wearer from potentially infectious droplets. For more information, please click here. There are a number of ways a two layered mask can be converted to three layers, please consider those options as well. A Google search will provide you with a variety of options. Please note that masks with exhalation valves, neck gaiters (neck warmers), bandanas and masks with velcro “straw” openings are not acceptable at HSC as they are not recommended by public health.

    As the weather gets colder, children playing outside will experience weather related runny noses. Please make sure your children have spare masks at school so they can wear a clean mask when they return to the classroom from spending time outdoors.

    Influenza season will be an added burden to our health care system with the current strain of the pandemic. We strongly encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated against influenza to help protect one another and to protect those who are at higher risk of health complications from the flu and COVID-19 that are unable to get the influenza vaccine. Please contact your health care provider or visit one of the many locations offering flu shots. For more information about influenza please click here.

    Thank you for your ongoing support, for more information please email us at healthservices@hsc.on.ca or visit our COVID-19 Information and Advisory Page.

    Regards,
    Cindy Lima Rivera, RN
    Manager of Health Services
  • October 16 - Community Update on Mask-Wearing

    As we move along in the school year, we are repeatedly reminded of the overwhelming support and cooperation from our community in making the best of this unique situation. Time and again, we’ve witnessed your shared commitment to the health and safety of HSC families, and we cannot thank you enough. For our part, we’re ensuring the practices and protocols in place across campus are guided by public health and that we’re proactive and nimble in our response to the ever-evolving pandemic. 
     
    As you undoubtedly know, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases across the province and our own neighbouring communities. While Hamilton has not been declared an active hotspot for the virus by the provincial government, HSC wishes to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding against the spread of the virus. As such, we are enhancing our mask-wearing practices and protocols for students on campus. 

    Starting Monday, October 19, all students from JK/M4 through to Grade 12 (aged four and above) will be required to wear a mask at all times during the school day, both indoors and while outside. The following scenarios are exceptions to this rule:
    • When the students are physically distanced and eating their lunch;
    • When the students are physically distanced and eating their snack;
    • When the students are physically distanced and require a hydration break;
    • When students in Senior School are physically distanced and playing a wind instrument under teacher supervision;
    • When the students are physically distanced and engaged in prolonged strenuous physical activity during supervised Physical Education classes.
    While not required, we also encourage those students under the age of four who are capable of wearing a mask effectively to do so while on campus. 

    We have seen great success and participation from students thus far when it comes to wearing masks, and we have no doubt they will adapt quickly to the new requirements. While students have been attentive to physical distancing, there are instances where they forget or find themselves in situations where keeping six feet apart is a challenge. It is at those moments that we want to ensure the safest environment and believe it is prudent to expand mask-wearing across the campus to better protect us all. 

    Implementing these enhanced mask protocols aims to ensure that all our students have the freedom to learn together in a safe and risk-free environment. We greatly appreciate your collective efforts in adapting to this change. 

    Again, we encourage anyone with questions or concerns to reach out to the HSC Health Services team at healthservices@hsc.on.ca
  • October 2 - Ministry of Health Update for COVID-19 Symptom Screening

    As per our communication last week, HSC will continue to align with the recommendations of public health experts and will adapt our practices and protocols accordingly. COVID-19 is and will continue to be an evolving situation for the foreseeable future and it is important that we continue to be flexible and adaptable as we navigate through this pandemic together.

    New symptom screening guidelines were released by the Ministry of Health yesterday for children attending schools and daycares in Ontario. The new symptoms guidelines take into consideration a number of factors including the incidence of other viral illnesses with similar symptoms at this time of the year and the risk of COVID-19 infection in children. At this time, the majority of confirmed cases are in the 20 - 39 age group for Hamilton and for most of the province.
    Dear HSC Parents and Guardians,

    As per our communication last week, HSC will continue to align with the recommendations of public health experts and will adapt our practices and protocols accordingly. COVID-19 is and will continue to be an evolving situation for the foreseeable future and it is important that we continue to be flexible and adaptable as we navigate through this pandemic together.

    New symptom screening guidelines were released by the Ministry of Health yesterday for children attending schools and daycares in Ontario. The new symptoms guidelines take into consideration a number of factors including the incidence of other viral illnesses with similar symptoms at this time of the year and the risk of COVID-19 infection in children. At this time, the majority of confirmed cases are in the 20 - 39 age group for Hamilton and for most of the province.

    HSC will follow the new guidelines as outlined in the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children in School and Child Care. We ask that you read through this document and become familiar with the new guidelines. You will also find this information in our COVID-19 Information and Advisory Page. To ensure you are up to date on the most current public health screening protocols, feel free to bookmark http://www.hsc.on.ca/COVIDscreening as it will always feature the most current screening guidelines. 

    The health and safety of our community is our top priority and we are grateful for your support and diligence in screening your children for symptoms prior to their arrival on campus. As we move forward with the new guidelines, it is imperative that you continue to screen for symptoms daily and that you keep your children home if they are not feeling well. We ask that you err on the side of caution to mitigate the risk of infection in our community. Please use the  COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool which can also be found on our COVID-19 Information and Advisory Page.

    There are currently a number of families who are at home waiting on test results or are booked for testing this weekend. We ask that you use the screening tool above to help you determine whether your child can return to school based on the new guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact HSC’s Health Services.

    We are grateful for your ongoing support and cooperation.

    Sincerely,
    Cindy Lima Rivera
    RN, Manager of HSC Health Services
  • September 27 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC Parents and Guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that we were informed this weekend that on September 23, 2020, an HSC student tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last on campus on September 21, 2020. In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, we have notified Hamilton Public Health and they are working to determine all close contacts of the positive case.
    Dear HSC Parents and Guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that we were informed this weekend that on September 23, 2020, an HSC student tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last on campus on September 21, 2020. In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, we have notified Hamilton Public Health and they are working to determine all close contacts of the positive case.

    HSC is acting as directed by Hamilton Public Health to provide information for contact tracing, including attendance records and any other groups the confirmed case had contact with. Hamilton Public Health will determine who the close contacts are and will contact them directly to inform them. HSC is not responsible for contact tracing. Hamilton Public Health will also determine if the affected contacts need to be excluded from school based on their investigation.

    On September 26, 2020, Hamilton Public Health advised the College that the affected cohort in Montessori School will remain at home for the isolation period and will continue their learning online. Hamilton Public Health further confirmed that any siblings of students in that affected cohort can continue to come to school as they are considered contacts of a contact and as such are considered to be low-risk.  At this time, your child is still able to attend class unless explicitly instructed to self-isolate by Hamilton Public Health.

    In addition, we have reported the positive case to the Ministry of Education and the Child Care and Early Years Act as per their specific requirements for all publicly funded and private schools and daycares in Ontario.  

    As part of our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, HSC has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, increased frequency of hand hygiene, enhanced screening procedures and increased frequency of health checks in an effort to mitigate further spread of the virus. In addition, parents/guardians are responsible for actively screening their child(ren) at home every morning before boarding HSC’s transportation or arriving on campus. It is the parent/guardian’s sole responsibility to ensure their child(ren) is healthy, symptom-free and able to participate in the daily school program. If your child(ren) fails the screening, they must remain home, and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.
    HSC understands it can be difficult to decipher whether a symptom in your child is an indication of COVID-19. We must err on the side of caution. Unless related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., seasonal allergies, asthma) we cannot take any chances and we ask that parents and guardians respond to symptoms of COVID-19 as outlined by Hamilton Public Health Services’ symptomatic decision guide available here. We have also created an FAQ that provides answers to many of the questions you may have on how to manage when your child presents symptoms of COVID-19. Find it at www.hsc.on.ca/COVIDfaq. It is our pledge to keep this document updated so that parents and guardians can rely on it as a trusted source for accurate information.

    We remain committed to operating a safe and supported academic program through modes of learning outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plans document. We want to remind you that having your child attend HSC for in-person learning is voluntary, and we have established HSC@home for those that wish to learn from home.

    We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time both for HSC and for the privacy of the student and their family. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.

    Regards,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • September 23 - Resources for COVID-19 Symptom Screening

    Dear HSC Parents and Guardians,

    We want to extend our sincere thanks for your cooperation and patience over the past few weeks as the HSC community has worked diligently to ensure a safe and successful start to the school year. HSC couldn’t have done it without you. We also recognize that our work continues and we are committed to ongoing collaboration to ensure an agile and receptive approach to establishing new routines and daily operational procedures. This pandemic has put immeasurable pressure on parents and guardians and our goal is to relieve as much of that as possible. We are in this together.

     
    HSC is well positioned to navigate the evolving COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the guidance and knowledge of our Health Services Team, with 3 registered nurses and a certified counsellor. These highly trained professionals are devoted to ensuring the physical and emotional wellbeing of HSC’s community. With their expertise, HSC has adopted enhanced health protocols to ensure that we keep students, staff and families as safe as possible. If your child displays COVID-19 symptoms – at school or during daily screening – it is important to stay calm and to understand next steps. For an overview of what to do, visit www.hsc.on.ca/COVIDflowcharts to consult Hamilton Public Health Services’ step-by-step symptomatic decision guide for managing various symptom scenarios.

    HSC understands it can be difficult to decipher whether a symptom in your child is an indication of COVID-19. We must err on the side of caution. Unless related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., seasonal allergies, asthma) we cannot take any chances and we ask that parents and guardians respond to symptoms of COVID-19 as outlined by Hamilton Public Health Services’ symptomatic decision guide available here. We have also created an FAQ that provides answers to many of the questions you may have on how to manage when your child presents symptoms of COVID-19. It is our pledge to keep this document updated so that parents and guardians can rely on it as a trusted source for accurate information.

    As a member of HSC’s family, you know how important a safe and healthy learning environment is for providing excellence in education. Our top priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of you and your child(ren) and we are here to support you. While we encourage you to access the resources attached to this letter and on our COVID-19 Information and Advisory Page to determine next steps if your child is ill, you can also email HSC Health Services at healthservices@hsc.on.ca. Our team is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will strive to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

    Again, we thank you for working with us to ensure we have a safe, healthy and happy school year. 

    Sincerely,

    Bob Neibert
    Deputy Head of College, Student Wellbeing
  • September 11 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear HSC Parents and Guardians,
     
    This is to notify you that on September 10, 2020, an HSC student tested positive for COVID-19.  The student has not been on campus and will be quarantined at home for the next 14 days. In accordance with the government of Ontario and HSC’s COVID-19 protocols, we have notified Hamilton Public Health, and they are working to determine all close contacts of the positive case. Hamilton Public Health will determine who the close contacts are and will contact them directly to inform them. HSC is not responsible for contact tracing. Hamilton Public Health will also determine if the affected contacts need to be excluded from school based on their investigation. At this time, your child is still able to attend class unless explicitly instructed to self-isolate by Hamilton Public Health.
     
     
    In addition, we will follow the protocols to report a confirmed positive case to the Ministry of Education as per their specific requirements for all publicly funded and private schools in Ontario. 
     
    As part of our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, HSC has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, increased frequency of hand hygiene, enhanced screening procedures and increased frequency of health checks in an effort to mitigate further spread of the virus. In addition, parents/guardians are responsible for actively screening their child(ren) at home every morning before boarding HSC’s transportation or arriving on campus. It is the parent/guardian’s sole responsibility to ensure their child(ren) is healthy, symptom-free and able to participate in the daily school program. If your child(ren) fails the screening, they must remain home, and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.
     
    We remain committed to operating a safe and supported academic program through modes of learning outlined in our Continuity of Learning Plans document. We want to remind you that having your child attend HSC for in-person learning is voluntary, and we have established HSC@home for those that wish to learn from home.
     
    We greatly appreciate your understanding during this time, both for HSC and for the privacy of the student and their family. Further questions or concerns can be directed to healthservices@hsc.on.ca.
     
    Regards,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • September 10 - Health and Counselling Services for the 2020-2021 Academic School Year

    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    We are looking forward to welcoming students back on campus next week. After months of diligent planning and preparing for the College’s re-opening, we are confident that the measures and protocols we have put in place will provide a safe and healthy learning environment for your child(ren).
     
     
    We have implemented a few changes to HSC’s Health and Counselling Services to better support students’ physical and socio-emotional wellbeing. All students will have access to our services and resources as needed. We will be actively engaged in health teaching, building resilience and providing students with strategies to help them adapt to the changes they will encounter at school and/or as they continue with HSC@home.
     
    Please review the following information as it pertains to our services and addresses the questions we have received.
     
    Screening
    Parents/Guardians will be responsible for actively screening their child(ren) at home every morning before boarding HSC’s transportation or arriving on campus. It is your sole responsibility to ensure your child is healthy, symptom-free and able to participate in the daily school program. If your child fails the screening, he/she must remain home and you must inform Health Services. Please click here to access the student screening questionnaire.
     
    Masks
    Masks are mandatory for all students on buses and students in Grades 4-12 inside the campus. Students may remove their masks for snack and meal breaks and outdoor recess. It is important that you talk to your child(ren) about wearing masks, caring and storing their mask and practice wearing a mask. Masks should be made of breathable material and have a comfortable and snug fit without gaps. Masks with an exhalation valve or exhaust valve are not recommended. For tips on how to help your child with wearing a mask, please click here. While masks are not mandatory for students up to grade 3, we recommend and suggest they wear a mask.
     
    Illness at School
    If your child becomes ill while at school, Health Services will be notified by staff. Your child will be accompanied by a member of Health Services to a Health Office for further assessment. If the student is over the age of 2 and able to tolerate a mask, a disposable mask will be provided (students from Grade 4 and up will already have their own mask). A nurse will assess the student’s symptoms, check their temperature and contact a parent/guardian or emergency contact for pick up. It is expected that the student will be picked up within an hour of receiving a call from Health Services. The student will be cared for and supervised in a designated Health Office, away from other students, by a member of the Health Services team.
     
    Medical Assessment and COVID-19 Testing
    Further medical assessment and testing will be recommended for students who leave campus with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in accordance with the current reference document from the Ministry of Health. Parents/Guardians will be provided with information on how to access testing centres in Hamilton or their respective municipalities. Parents/Guardians will be responsible for arranging further medical assessment, testing as recommended and communicating results of the assessment to the Manager of Health Services. Students must remain at home while waiting for test results. Please note that parental and/or student consent is required for COVID-19 testing and you do not need to worry that testing will happen without your knowledge. At this time, testing will not take place at school.  
     
    Mental Health Wellbeing
    All students at the College, whether attending in-person or participating in remote learning, will have access to Health and Counselling services to support their mental health and socio-emotional wellbeing. We encourage you to discuss mental health with your child(ren), monitor their transition back to school and reach out if you have any concerns. We recommend the following resource to assist you:
     
     
    In addition to the above, students 14 years of age and older have access to 24/7 counselling services through keep.meSAFE – Mental Wellness Student Support Program. This service is available free of charge and students can access it in a confidential manner and in many different languages.
     
    Health Forms, Attestation and Individual Student Care Plan
    If you have yet to complete and submit your child(ren)’s Health Form and/or Attestation, please do so before the start of school. To find the required forms, please log in to your myHSC account. At the top of the page, you will see a yellow banner with the forms to be completed. If your child has anaphylaxis, asthma, diabetes or epilepsy, you must complete an Individual Student Care Plan (ISCP) and submit it to Health Services. You will find these in the Health Services Resource Board or by clicking here.
     
    Immunizations
    Please ensure your child(ren)’s immunizations are up to date and report them to Hamilton Public Health. If you live outside of Hamilton, you must also report it to your local health unit. The Grade 7 Immunization Program (Hep. B, Meningitis, and HPV) is currently on hold for this year. If your child(ren) received their first dose of these vaccines last fall, it is recommended that you complete the series through your family doctor.  
     
    Concussions
    While there will be no contact sports at the College for the foreseeable future, we know that concussions can happen under other circumstances. Please let us know if your child is diagnosed with a concussion outside of school so that we may implement a gradual return to school and physical activity. Our concussion management protocol remains the same.
     
    For some students, the transition back to school may be challenging with the current pandemic situation. We ask that you remain vigilant for any changes in your child(ren)’s physical and mental health and to reach out if you believe your child(ren) could use our support. We will continue to inform you of any changes to our protocols and practices to reflect the most up to date guidance from public health.
     
    Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support. If you have any questions, concerns or wish to update your child(ren)’s health information, Health Services can be reached at healthservices@hsc.on.ca.
     
    COVID-19 management at HSC
    For more information on our COVID-19 management protocol visit www.hsc.on.ca/covidmanagement.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Cindy Lima Rivera, R.N., Manager of Health Services
     
    Gina Ranger, R.P., College Counsellor
  • June 18 - COVID-19 Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    As we come to the end of a year like no other, it is time for reflection and gratitude while knowing we have much work ahead preparing for September. The Emergency Order closing schools in Ontario for the entire spring term forced an incredible adjustment by staff, faculty, parents, and especially, students. The resilience and adaptability of the entire community were put to the test, but we have prevailed. Our children’s learning continued on, uninterrupted, and we know that should we ever be forced to close in the future, we have a practised and reliable plan in our teacher-led remote learning program HSC@home.

     
    At this point, what we are hearing from students is that while they have appreciated being able to continue their learning in a supported fashion, what they need and crave the most is some form of interaction with their peers and with their teachers. What we are hearing from parents in our most recent survey is that supporting students at home has been challenging while balancing work and all of the other duties of parenthood.

    Since March, we have been communicating to families our plans for our program with the caveat that we are under the direction of the various government agencies and must conform to those edicts. Within those constraints, we have continued to provide programming while simultaneously charting out various return scenarios. These “Continuity of Learning” plans were shared with the community on June 1 and can be found by visiting: www.hsc.on.ca/continuityplans.

    While we are still awaiting direction, as of June 18, HSC is planning for the following scenarios for September based on research we have done of schools opening in other provinces and countries who have gone back this June. Of course, our ideal scenario would be to be able to have all of our students safely back on campus for face-to-face instruction every day. Our hope is to give parents and students some sense of what to expect with the caveat that these plans may have to be altered in the coming weeks pending ministry announcements. 

    In addition, it should be noted that a school closure from a public health directive at any point during the year is possible. Specific details of how this will present in each of the four schools will be refined and communicated regularly over the course of the summer.


    We will be meeting as a Leadership Team all summer to work out as many of the details as possible and will continue to provide regular updates to our families over the summer months. As with HSC@home, this will require the support and patience of the entire community as we continue to adjust to this new world.

    Please refer to the Continuity of Learning plans document (www.hsc.on.ca/continuityplans) for all the contact information of the Leadership Team and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions that you may have.

    On behalf of the faculty and staff, thank you for your continued support of HSC and for your efforts in ensuring the success of HSC@home. I wish you and your family a safe and restful summer.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • June 1 - HSC@home Continues

    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    We hope that everyone is remaining well and that you are able to enjoy some of the renewed options for activities outside of the home. We want to thank you for your continued support of the faculty, staff, and, most importantly, the students of HSC. Never has the parent-teacher-student partnership been more valued or more tested. Overwhelmingly, thanks to a yeoman’s collective effort, we have made the best of a challenging situation.
     
     
    On May 27th, the Ontario government announced a further extension to ensure private schools remain closed until June 9, 2020. On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The order closing private schools and daycares was made under Regulation 51/20.
     
    In addition, the Premier and Minister Lecce confirmed over a week ago that public school boards will remain closed for the duration of this school year. The Premier also announced the closure of all overnight summer camps but noted the possibility of opening summer day camps under strict safety guidelines. Please read the May 19, 2020, Ontario News Release for more details. 
     
    The Premier and Minister Lecce have not yet provided any specific details about the plans for re-opening Ontario schools in the fall. Before the end of June, the government is expected to share a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. 
     
    We have made the decision to continue to maintain our HSC@home program until the end of this school year. Please click here for our Continuity of Learning plans for our program in September of 2020.
     
    The Board of Governors met on May 27 to review the analysis of the College’s costs as they relate to the mandated closure and transition to HSC@home. We have appreciated your patience as we wanted to ensure that this analysis was complete, thorough and fully reflected all of the costs related to the transition of HSC@home, and the inability to offer learning on our campus.  Specifically,  our review indicated reductions to the following:
    • Transportation and Food Services
    • Levels of Staffing
    • Fees related to athletics and arts
    • Overall reductions in professional development, instructional supplies, community events, various administrative departmental expenses and utilities
    The Board’s commitment is to share these reduced costs with our parents in the form of tuition credits, which you will see applied to your late June or July billing depending on your chosen payment plan. For parents of graduates or children no longer continuing their education at HSC, the net amount of the applied credit will be refunded by cheque and mailed early July.
     
    As previously mentioned, the Board is committed to ensuring that we are supporting our families through this challenging time and has approved the following: 
     
    1. For the 2019–2020 school year reflecting the period March 30 - June 18:
    • Tuition credits of $1,100 per student for those students in JK/M4 - Grade 12.
    • Prorated credit for fees applied to students who participated in our licensed child care spaces.
    2. For the 2020–2021 school year:
    • Waiving the Expansion Fee of $975 for the first student enrolled; $375 for the second student enrolled.
    • Monthly comparisons of costs against budget during the school year to determine costs related to any model that is different from our regular face-to-face experience. These amounts will be analyzed and credited back to families at the end of the 2020–2021 school year.
    • Increasing the availability of Financial Aid for current families that require it due to the Emergency Order impacting income.
    • Flexible payment options for families that require it.
    You can contact admissions@hsc.on.ca or finance@hsc.on.ca for more details and customized plans to meet your family’s needs.
     
    In true HSC fashion, some of our families that have not been negatively affected financially due to the pandemic have enquired about how they can donate their tuition credit to the Emergency Bursary Fund that the Board has created to support current HSC families in need. This offer speaks to how important it is to keep the HSC community together during this time. If you would like more information about supporting the Emergency Bursary Fund, please contact zahra.valani@hsc.on.ca or click here to donate. Thank you to our families for suggesting this option and for your consideration.
     
    Thank you all for your continued, amazing support of HSC during this challenging time.
     
    Yours truly,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • May 14 - Head of College Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    We hope that you are all keeping well and looking forward to a nice Victoria Day weekend together as a family. It looks like we are done with the winter weather for the foreseeable future, so I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting outside.
     
     
    As you are aware, as an independent school, HSC was required to close under an order issued on March 17, 2020, under section 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. On Tuesday, May 12, the emergency order was extended to June 2, 2020. While we are mindful of the public school closure to May 31, 2020, and are using that date for planning purposes, we are not governed under that edict.
     
    We learned on May 13 that there will be an announcement early next week from the Minister of Education, in conjunction with other health authorities, about the province’s plan for the remainder of this school year. After that announcement, there will be an email from your child’s Principal about how this impacts our end of year plans. 
     
    In advance of that, and as I shared last week in my message, we are frequently meeting in teams working on the various return scenarios that may be presented to us. I can’t stress enough that these are just plans as we will have to take direction from the various government authorities, including Hamilton Public Health as to when our return will be and what the conditions of that will be. 
     
    We are closely monitoring and learning from the countries and provinces who are ahead of us in this planning. We are creating scenarios specific to HSC while predicting what Ontario’s mandate will be. Click here to see an example of what the British Columbia government has released. 
     
    For our purposes, we are working on multiple scenarios investigating the following areas in great detail: 

    • Academic implications (face-to-face instruction, remote learning, blended models)
    • Student wellbeing (co-curricular, health services, screening, mental health)
    • Operational implications (transportation, food services, cleaning services, maintenance, and ensuring health and safety measures are in place for a safe return)
    • Staffing implications (working face-to-face, working remotely, blended scenarios)
    • Financial implications (minimizing costs, deferring capital projects, tuition credits)
    The caveat to all of this is that we are only speculating as is the rest of the world. While it is impossible for me to share granular details of what this might look like exactly, we are examining the possibilities of students having rotating schedules that would be a mix of face-to-face and remote learning. We are examining scenarios where all of the students in a grade are on campus at the same time, but half the students are with the teacher working directly, and the other half are working asynchronously in a supervised environment. We are also preparing that, at any point, if there is another mandated closure that we can quickly and seamlessly revert exclusively to HSC@home.
     
    We are also sensitive to the fact that some families will not be comfortable in the short term with their child returning physically to campus even when we are allowed to re-open the campus. We are developing flexible plans that would support those decisions and still allow the child’s educational journey to continue at HSC remotely. 
     
    We are examining what staffing would look like if all or part of the campus is being used. We are examining what multiple bus runs in the mornings would look like in order to accommodate social distancing on the bus. We are reviewing delivery models for food service in order to maintain that program with social distancing. Each of these scenarios has a wealth of logistical challenges and different cost implications which would, in return, impact the amount of tuition credit that we would be able to provide to families.
     
    The Board of Governors is committed to ensuring that we are supporting our families through this challenging time, both with tuition credits on all net savings and with a robust and expanded financial aid program to support those in need. The commitment is to maintain an educational program that far exceeds the standard set by the Ministry and to do so in the most fiscally responsible way possible. 
     
    Given that HSC is a non-profit, independent school, the Board of Governors’ fiscal decision making in this time of uncertainty is focused on:
    • Being sensitive to the position of our families given that circumstances and personal financial situations have changed.
    • Long-term and contingency planning to protect the financial stability of the school and ensure HSC will be here for our students today, tomorrow, and in the future.
    • Attempting to minimize the impact on our faculty and staff who are the lifeblood of the school but represent the largest percentage of our total costs.
    • Taking all steps to minimize variable costs associated with the delivery of an exceptional educational program while recognizing that the majority of the College’s costs are related to human resources.
    As previously stated, in June we will have detailed information on those considerations for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.
     
    I know what students, staff, and especially parents want right now is certainty. We want to know what this is going to look like for us all and that it is going to be great. All I can commit right now is that we are doing our best to plan in a rapidly changing environment and awaiting some direction from various government authorities. We are planning for every eventuality, but there has never been a time or situation that has so many variables. As soon as we have accurate information and direction we will communicate our plan in a timely, transparent, and detailed fashion as to what the HSC experience will look like for your child in the coming weeks and months. We will ensure that we will continue to deliver the first-in-class, personalized education and community experience that HSC families are accustomed to.
     
    Thank you for your continued, amazing support of HSC during this challenging time.
     
    Yours truly,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • May 6 - Head of College Update

    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    I hope that you are enjoying as best you can the glimpses of Spring weather with your families. As strange as it seems, there is almost a sense of new normalcy for our faculty and staff as we enter our sixth week of HSC@home. Our adjustments with respect to synchronous and asynchronous work, the balance of academics, social time and wellbeing, as well as increased opportunity for flexible curricular support, are resonating well and feeling more balanced. Our virtual Chapels, awards ceremonies and athletic practices don’t have exactly the same feel, but the focus on community and togetherness is still evident.
     
     
    At the time of this writing, we don’t have firm confirmation from the various ministries on a potential return date or even what that might look like. We have already begun the arduous process of planning for a variety of scenarios. We have the benefit of constant communication and sharing amongst not only our fellow Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) but also other independent schools from around the world. Schools in Europe, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore have been sharing their experiences of what has worked and what they should have done differently. It is almost like having a time machine for a few weeks into the future. With Quebec schools returning ahead of Ontario at the K-8 level, we will have the benefit of that information as well.
     
    Our preparations include reviewing busing, staggered starts, set up of classrooms and hallways in the age of social distancing. We are also looking at what health and safety and cleaning protocols will need to be put in place in order to keep our students and staff healthy and safe. We also know that some of the lessons learned from our successful transition to HSC@home will help support our transition back to our campus. Students will continue to be well supported in their learning regardless of the potential blend of face-to-face and remote learning that may be the reality in the short term after our return.
     
    One of the things that we will miss most this Spring will be when we come together as a community to celebrate our various graduating classes. We have committees in each school looking at how we will celebrate and honour these students. Obviously, our hearts go out to our amazing Class of 2020, who will have many of the cherished events of their graduating year postponed. We have involved the entire class in the discussions of possible virtual ceremonies in June. They were adamant that they want to have a formal graduation when we are able to do so. We will find a unique way to celebrate them this June and plan a huge celebration befitting this special group whenever possible.
     
    More information about activities and other information such as the June summative assessment schedule for our older students will be coming out from your child’s Principal in the coming days.
     
    As we continue to navigate what the remainder of this year will look like, we are also cognizant that some of our families may need some financial support for the 2020-21 school year.  At the April Board of Governors’ meeting, they made a major commitment of financial aid for families that have been impacted by COVID-19. This support is being provided in addition to the amounts that we will be crediting to our families accounts.  Those amounts are being credited in June to ensure we have a complete understanding of the financial impact of the remote learning model.  Should your family like more information about our financial aid process, please reach out to the Admissions office at admissions@hsc.on.ca and they can assist you.
     
    We want to thank you for the amazing support that we have received throughout this time. Not a day goes by that we don’t receive an email that picks up our spirits and makes us appreciate what an honour it is to serve this community. We hope that your families are staying well and we can’t wait to see you all as soon as possible.
     
    Warm regards,
     
    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • April 17 - Campus Closed until Tuesday, May 12, 2020

    The Government of Ontario announced on April 17 that in a further attempt to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all publicly funded schools in the province will remain closed until May 12. As such, Hillfield Strathallan College will remain temporarily closed until May 12.
  • April 2 - Campus Closed until Monday, May 4, 2020

    The Government of Ontario announced on March 31 that in a further attempt to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all publicly funded schools in the province will remain closed until May 4. As such, Hillfield Strathallan College will remain temporarily closed until May 4. 
  • March 19 - Campus Closed until Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    In our ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hillfield Strathallan College will be closing our campus until Tuesday, April 14th, 2020. While campus classrooms will be inaccessible, we will continue teacher-supported online learning. 

    Teacher-supported Online learning for HSC students will begin on Monday, March 30, following the end of March Break. Details of our specific lesson plans and reminders about login information will be forwarded to your family in a separate e-mail from your child’s teacher(s) on or before Friday, March 27.

    At HSC, while teachers at all levels have training and experience in online education, and students in several of our grades have already participated in online learning, there will be an element of experimentation over time to determine what will be the best approach. Our online approaches will, of course, be age-specific, and we have resources that will inspire children of all ages. We will be drawing on our expertise and enthusiasm to ensure that our students will have a stimulating and rewarding learning experience. As always, we appreciate parental support with their children’s learning.

    I hope that your family remains healthy. I will continue to share with you new information as it emerges with regards to COVID-19 and our school closure. 

    Thank you all for your support during this trying time. It is part of what makes Hillfield Strathallan College such an amazing community.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Ayotte
    Head of College
  • March 16 - Self-assessment for COVID-19

    From Hamilton Health Sciences:

    The Ontario Ministry of Health has created a new tool to help people self-assess for COVID-19. Unless you are experiencing an emergency, please use this tool before seeking medical help for possible COVID-19.

    CLICK HERE for the Self-assessment tool.

    If you think you have 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment to help determine if you need to seek further care.

    If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.
  • March 13 - Postponement of HSC Events

    • Based on the recent announcement by the Ontario government to suspend all gatherings over 250 people, the College has decided to postpone the following events:

      • Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - London Area Alumni Reunion
      • Thursday, April 2, 2020 – Kingston Area Alumni Reunion
      • Sunday, April 5, 2020 - CISMF
      • Monday, April 6, 2020 - The Staff Appreciation Breakfast
      • Wednesday, April 8, 2020 -  The Middle School Awards Ceremony 
      • Wednesday, April 8, 2020 – Toronto Area Alumni Reunion 
      • Saturday, April 18, 2020 - The HSC Gala
      We will notify you when new dates have been scheduled. 

      There will be no general access to the Campus and facilities.  If you need to access the College, call the main office at 905-389-1367. 
       
  • March 12 - Online learning after the March Break

    The Ontario government has issued a statement confirming they have made a decision based on advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that all publicly funded schools in Ontario will be closed for two weeks following March break due to COVID-19 outbreak.
     
    For the week commencing March 30, we will move to teacher-supported online learning.  More details with respect to the Academic Plan will be provided the week of March 23.
     

  • March 12

    As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our community.
     
    The College’s plans over the March Break:
    • Monitor the situation with federal, provincial and local public health agencies with regard to school guidelines.
    • Additional deep cleaning of College facilities and school buses.
    • Additional communication will be sent to faculty, staff and parents the second week of March Break on/around March 26 outlining the latest information and plans for the return to school.
    We have asked students to bring all their Academic materials home today in the event of a school closure and the College moves to supporting student learning remotely. The College’s Academic Plan will be communicated daily by each school principal should a College closure occur. Each school has a plan to ensure regular teacher-student interactions will continue. 
     
    The College will continue to strengthen our current infectious disease control measures by stressing the importance of proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, avoid touching the face or handshaking and staying home when ill.  
     
    If you are travelling:
    • The World Health Organization recommends that you avoid travel if you have a fever and a cough.
    • Be aware of all Government of Canada travel health notices regarding places to which you may be travelling and be aware that some countries have imposed their own specific entry and exit requirements with regards to COVID-19.  At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending you avoid all cruise travel.
    • If you are travelling, please adhere to any recommendations made by Public Health, including monitoring for symptoms after returning from an affected area for a period of 14 days, self-isolation of individuals who are or become symptomatic, and reporting those cases to Public Health.  
    • Refer to the Government of Canada for the latest travel advice and advisories with regards to COVID-19.
    • If travelling to affected areas, avoid contact with animals and avoid visiting farms.
    Returning from March Break:
     
    Before returning to the HSC campus after March Break, it’s crucial that you follow these guidelines—whether you were travelling or staying home:
    • If you or your child have a fever or feel unwell, do not come to school. Stay at home and contact HSC Health Services. 
    • Consult Ontario’s Telehealth service or your doctor if you are sick.  If you have travelled to an area affected by COVID-19 or believe you may have come in contact with someone that has COVID-19, please call Hamilton Public Health at 905-546-2424 ext. 7970.
    • To support the health of our community, we encourage the reporting of travel to HSC Health Services and voluntary 14-day self-quarantine if community members have travelled to or have been in contact with someone who has recently travelled to a high-risk area as identified by Public Health or the Canadian government.
    We thank you in advance for your understanding as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and hope that you are able to enjoy a safe, happy and healthy break.
  • March 10

    Your health and safety is our primary concern. As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students in our care. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada.   The PHAC is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in other countries and updating travel advisories as the situation for impacted countries becomes available.
    With the spread of COVID-19 continually evolving, we recommend that you monitor the travel advisories from the Government of Canada, at the Gov't of Canada Site or Gov't of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories. If you are traveling this March Break and are covered under Sun Life's travel insurance please ensure you check with Sun Life to ensure that your destination doesn't have any specific travel advisories that will nullify your travel insurance. www.sunlife.ca
     
    With the current advisories, we are implementing the following changes effective immediately:
     
    • Staff and faculty are encouraged to adopt a "no hand shaking" policy for upcoming parent teacher interviews or meetings.
    • Employees who will be travelling to any of the countries identified as high risk at the websites listed above will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days post arrival.
    • Employees who are travelling outside of Canada are to advise their Principal/manager of their destination(s) including any destination outside of those identified as high risk.  This will assist in the proactive planning of any arrangements that may have to be put in place, in the event the travel destination becomes a high risk.  
    • Staff or faculty returning from any known high risk areas or who are in contact with anyone returning from a known high risk area that live in the same household are to inform their Principal/manager and to self-quarantine for 14 calendar days subsequent to the date returned to Canada or the date the contact occurred.
    • Employees who are ill or demonstrate any of the symptoms related to the Coronavirus (or similar illness) are to remain in regular contact with their Principal/manager or designate and obtain clearance to return to work from their doctor.  
    • Employees who experience community contact with an infected individual as identified by an institution (for example Metrolinx, Air Canada, etc.), are to self-quarantine for 14 days subsequent to the day the contact occurred.
     
    Please refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) website for an overview of the virus, its symptoms and preventative measures.  In the event you are ill, please do not come into work and seek medical assistance as required.
     
    In all cases where self-quarantine is required, the College will work with staff and faculty on the appropriate alternate work arrangements (e.g. remote work arrangements). All faculty and staff should be bringing their laptops home in case of a work disruption. 
     
    A member of the health services team or HR will be in contact with any staff or faculty who are self-quarantined to complete a health self-assessment prior to the staff or faculty return to work. This will assist with proactive planning and minimizing the risk of community spread.
     
    As mentioned we have increased cleaning and sanitizing protocol and will continue to do so.
    We thank you in advance for your understanding as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19. 
  • March 9

    Whether you will be travelling or you plan to enjoy March Break at home, keeping your family healthy is important. Please take a few minutes to read this important message about controlling the spread of infection, including COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
    Although older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease) are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with COVID-19, the virus can infect people of all ages. To help control the spread of this—or any—infection, it is extremely important that you keep your children home if they are feeling unwell and/or have a fever.  Your children must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medications such as Tylenol or Advil. Please refrain from administering medications before dropping them off at school to get them through the day.  If they are sick, please consult your local Public Health Authority, Ontario’s Telehealth service, or their doctor.

    Throughout March Break, the College will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely, and we will adhere to Public Health guidelines for infection prevention and control.  As this is an evolving situation, we anticipate that it may change over the next few weeks, and if that is the case, we will revise our plans accordingly and keep you informed.  HSC staff are taking extra infection prevention measures by increasing the disinfection of frequently touched surfaces around campus and will continue to do so over the break. 

    If you are travelling:
    • The World Health Organization recommends that you avoid travel if you have a fever and a cough.
    • Be aware of all Government of Canada travel health notices regarding places to which you may be travelling and be aware that some countries have imposed their own specific entry and exit requirements with regards to COVID-19.  At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending you avoid all cruise travel.
    • If you are travelling, please adhere to any recommendations made by Public Health, including monitoring for symptoms after returning from an affected area for a period of 14 days, self-isolation of individuals who are or become symptomatic, and reporting those cases to public health.  
    • Refer to the Government of Canada for the latest travel advice and advisories with regards to COVID-19.
    • If travelling to affected areas, avoid contact with animals and avoid visiting farms.
    Returning from March Break
    • Before returning to the HSC campus after March Break, it’s crucial that you follow these guidelines—whether you were travelling or staying home:
    • If you or your child have a fever or feel unwell, do not come to school. Stay at home and contact HSC Health Services
    • Consult Ontario’s Telehealth service, or your doctor if you are sick.  If you have travelled to an area affected by COVID-19 or believe you may have come in contact with someone that has COVID-19, please call Hamilton Public Health at 905-546-2424 ext. 7970.
    • To support the health of our community, we encourage the reporting of travel to HSC Health Services. and voluntary 14-day self-quarantine, if community members have travelled to or have been in contact with someone who has recently travelled to a high-risk area as identified by public health or the Canadian government.
    Follow infection prevention guidelines
    To minimize the risk of infection, everyone should take these necessary infection prevention measures: 
    • Wash your hands frequently, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched household objects and surfaces, using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
CONTACT
For further information regarding the communication of information pertaining to COVID-19, please contact:

Zahra Valani
Director of Advancement and Communications
Hillfield Strathallan College
Email: Zahra.Valani@hsc.on.ca
905-389-1367 Ext: 162
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