On October 28 we celebrate the Feast of St. Jude.
St Jude was one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, and he is known as a patron saint of lost causes. He is a reminder to us that all things are possible with God, and that we are called upon to be people of Hope no matter our circumstances. “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. “ (Romans 8:24-25).
Most holy Apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, friend of Jesus, I place myself in your care at this difficult time. Help me know that I need not face my troubles alone. Please join me in my need, asking God to send me: consolation in my sorrow, courage in my fear, and healing in the midst of my suffering. Ask our loving Lord to fill me with the grace to accept whatever may lie ahead for me and my loved ones, and to strengthen my faith in God’s healing powers. Thank you, Saint Jude Thaddeus, for the promise of hope you hold out to all who believe, and inspire me to give this gift of hope to others as it has been given to me. Amen.
This week we are looking forward to celebrating Halloween with our students on Friday, October 30. We have consulted with other schools and staff to make the following decisions regarding our Halloween celebration;
- children wear costumes or orange & black clothing
- if they are wearing costumes for part of the day, the classroom teacher will communicate the process and time, so they can change while observing social distancing and mask protocols
- children are not to bring any weapons or accessories to school and must wear appropriate costumes
- medical masks must be worn – no costume masks
- children can bring in Halloween treats/candy for themselves, but they are not to share with others (as we can’t guarantee their safety)
- treats/candies should not contain any nut products
- we will not have any assemblies, dances, etc. – children will participate in appropriate activities in their classroom or portable
This week, we distributed one black mask and 3 grey masks for each student (provided by the Ministry and the Board). With this distribution, there is the potential for a lot of confusion and safety concerns as every student will have the same mask and may inadvertently wear a mask that was used by another student. Please label your child’s mask before they start wearing them at school and remind them to verify that they are wearing their personal mask and not one that belongs to someone else.
Outside is the safest place for physical activity so weather permitting, physical education classes are encouraged to take place outside whenever possible. The added benefit is that it also allows students to take a break from wearing masks. Students are encouraged to come to school each day prepared with appropriate clothing. This may include wearing warmer clothing to participate in outdoor activities.
Health and Safety
On October 19, we met with student transportation services, school council members, city and board staff to examine measures to increase student safety at the Birchcliff crosswalk.
Below are some of the things we discussed;
- The city is responsible for patrolling the street for speeding cars and by-law infractions.
- We are on the watch list for bylaw infractions. Unfortunately, the city has limited staff and they can only come 1/week.
- Student safety is a collective responsibility. If you observe a speeding car or bylaw infraction, please record the license plate and report it to bylaw (519-741-2345).
- Based on daily traffic volume we likely do not qualify for a city crossing guard.
- When staffing permits, the school will have a staff member in a safety vest on the school side of the crosswalk (8:05-8:20 am – 2:50-3:00 pm), to identify gaps when it is safe for students to cross the road. The school will provide a safety vest for a crosswalk volunteer on the other side of the road (coordinated by school council). We are not permitted to hold flashing stop signs.
- Cars are not required to stop at the crosswalk (i.e. pedestrians do not have the right of way).
- It is unlikely that the kind of crosswalk can be changed to one with overhead flashing lights.
- We need to continue to ask caregivers, parents and students who are not ready to cross, to stay clear of the area at either side of the crosswalk”. Please see the St. Paul’s parking map for pick up and drop off locations.
- Parent council will create a traffic safety sub-committee and consider the following measures;
- Implementing a program to educate drivers of the proper drop off/pick up locations/procedures
- Resident-led traffic calming grant in collaboration with student transportation services to create bumps out and increase the visibility of the crosswalk
- Walking school bus program at Giant Tiger Plaza or other locations to reduce traffic in front of the school
We have proposed the following ideas to the city for their consideration; mount flashing signs that indicate the speed of the oncoming vehicle and photo radar. Below is the response from the city with respect to a photo radar camera in front of the school.
We are working closely with the Region of Waterloo on their Automated Speed Enforcement program. Using speed data as the basis for evaluation we have prioritized schools within the City of Kitchener. While St. Paul’s is not a the top of the priority list based on speed data, we will continue to monitor speeds along Birchcliff Ave and update the ranking as new data becomes available. Using this priority list we will recommend school locations for future phases of ASE.
We will continue to include Birchcliff as a potential location for seasonal traffic calming for the 2021 Seasonal Traffic Calming Program.
We have worked with various schools in the past to implement Resident-led Traffic Calming measures where students and parents can get involved. There is grant money available and the City assigns a liaison to guide the process. Providing a link below if you’re interested: https://www.lovemyhood.ca/en/tools-money/traffic-calming.aspx
Aaron McCrimmon-Jones, Manager, Transportation Planning| Transportation Services | City of Kitchener