Welcome to Niagara Catholic’s COVID-19 Student Learning From Home Resource Page

*Updated 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, 2020* 

Earlier today, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all Ontario schools - public, Catholic and private - will remain closed to students until at least May 4. The Minister has advised that this date is entirely dependent upon the situation with COVID-19 closer to that date, and upon the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. Read the government's announcement here.

The key ares of focus are:

    • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
    • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings with minimum hours of work per student in the suggested areas of curriculum focus: .
      • Kindergarten-Grade 3: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math);
      • Grades 4-6: five hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies);
      • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies);
      • Grades 9-12: three hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation);
    • Teacher teams, including specialist teachers, to develop assigned work for students, including curriculum areas such as art, music, French as a Second Language, English as a Second Language and Health and Physical Activity, and to contribute to board identified resources for learning at home;
    • Students with special education needs should receive appropriate accommodations where necessary and be provided with assigned work by teachers, as well as feedback or assessment.  Modifications to reflect a student’s IPRC and IEP are encouraged and expected;
    • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
    • Developing a program of training for educators to support virtual learning delivery;
    • Requiring final report cards for all students;
    • Modifications to graduation requirements for the Class of 2020;
    • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate; and
    • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction

To support this final point, earlier today, Niagara Catholic reached out to all families, asking for information about their access to technology while schools are closed. Families with WiFi and devices for students to use do not need to do anything. Families that have do not have access to the Internet at home, or do not have devices for student use (or both), are asked to please call their child(ren)'s school(s) and leave a message on the main phone line with what they need. Principals will receive these messages through email. We will then begin allocating resources as available.

We will also continue to update the tabs below with new resources as they become available.

Ontario’s Ministry of Education has provided resources to assist students with staying engaged while schools are closed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In such unprecedented circumstances, these at home resources can assist students. Please click on the tab below for access to grade-appropriate programming for your child, updates from the Ministry of Education and on COVID-19.

In addition to updating this site daily as new information is provided, we will continue to provide information to students and families through School Messenger and from our schools.

Pray, stay well and be safe.

Board and Ministry Communications

*New* - April 6, 2020

As we embark on a new path in Catholic education at Niagara Catholic, Director of Education John Crocco has reached out to parents about this unprecedented time for students, staff and families. Read his letter here.

March 31, 2020

Following today's announcement that schools will remain closed until at least May 4, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has provided a letter to families. Read the letter here.

March 27, 2020 - 4:30 p.m.

Director of Education John Crocco has updated families about steps being taken at the system level during this extended school closure.

Read Director Crocco's letter. 

March 27, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

Niagara Region Public Health has confirmed that a staff member at Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School has tested positive for COVID-19, and is Niagara's first community-spread case of the illness.

Read Niagara Catholic's media release, and a release from Niagara Region Public Health.

March 24, 2020

Niagara Catholic is aware of Premier Doug Ford's comments on Monday, acknowledging the likelihood of the current school closure being extended beyond April 6. Contrary to many media reports, this does not mean that schools are closed indefinitely. Nor does it mean that 2019-2020 school year has been cancelled.

Premier Ford and many members of the Ontario cabinet will address the province at 1 p.m., and we will be watching. If an announcement is made at that time, we will advise all families.

We understand that the need to get outside and have some fresh air and exercise is important at this time, and that families have been visiting parks and playgrounds. We advise all families and the community that all Niagara Catholic playgrounds are closed, effective immediately, to stop the spread of COVID-19.Thank you for your cooperation.

March 23, 2020, 10:30 a.m. - A Message to Our Families

On behalf of the Bishop, Board of Trustees and Senior Staff, we continue to pray that you and your family are doing well, as we all adapt and follow the directions of the Medical Officers of Health and the Ministry of Education, during this unprecedented time in modern history.

COVID-19 impacts us all; our families, fellow citizens, communities, daily lives and social interactions, education, and the economy. We know that the brightest scientific minds are working on preventative measures until an effective vaccine is created. In the meantime, they continue to provide their best advice on how to avoid coming into contact with COVID-19.

Follow the instructions of our government leaders and medical experts to flatten the curve on the spread of this disease. Wash your hands often, practice cough and sneeze etiquette, clean and disinfect surfaces often and practice social distancing. If you went away for the March Break, federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Follow the steps provided by public health if you feel unwell during this period.

The only thing we can control in the midst of the rapidly changing news and information is how we react to the situation. Our response during this very stressful time may impact our own physical and mental health, and the physical and mental health of our families. We will get through this together by following the directions of medical professionals, taking the best care of ourselves and our families and by reaching out and supporting each other.

While we are inundated with coverage on the virus from the various sources, reliable and otherwise, consider taking a break to pray, read, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and stay connected with family and friends through emails, video chats and social media for your mental and physical health. There is much we do not know, but we do know that through our faith, prayers, compassion, cooperation, patience and self-care we will get through this together. If you or someone you know is struggling in the midst of this crisis, please take a break from consuming media, go outside for fresh air, or engage in an activity with your family. If that is not enough, please reach out to your doctor for support. Pathstone Mental Health is also available for children and youth. Find the information about seeking help from Pathstone Mental Health here.

It is our continued responsibility to ensure all families receive timely and accurate information as it becomes available, and as decisions are made at the federal, provincial and local level. Information will be provided directly to students and parents on here, our social media, through School Messenger and also through Niagara Catholic Virtual Learning Environment (NCVLE). Here is the most current information we can offer:

  • With the current State of Emergency in Ontario and the importance of social distancing all Board buildings are closed. With the mandated social distancing, no access or activities are permitted in any school. We will communicate with parents if and when items left behind prior to the March Break can be safely picked up if the closure extends beyond April 6, 2020.
  • Discussions about how student learning will continue during a pandemic are taking place locally, provincially, nationally and with UNESCO. We will inform all families about any decisions made by the province for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Amendments have been made to The Education Act, to permit virtual Board and committee meetings during a pandemic. To hear the Tuesday, March 24th Board Meeting, please call 1-647-484-1596 Access Code 644537931#.
  • School Mental Health Ontario has prepared a flexible COVID-19 response plan to assist boards with resources and support related to student mental health during the closure and upon return. Packages of information are being sent to boards this week. We are currently discussing ways to share this with students.
  • Grades 3, 6, 9 EQAO assessments and the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test provincial assessments have been cancelled for the remainder of this school year. The OSSLT will not be a graduation requirement for students who are otherwise able to graduate in June 2020. Decisions on the mandatory 40-hour community service requirement for graduates is still to be made, and will be shared once confirmed provincially.
  • Discussions with colleges and university admissions are currently underway, regarding mark submission and applications for students who have applied to post-secondary education. Additional information to follow.
  • Due to the nature and speed of the changes in Niagara and the province, we are reviewing system and school-based events scheduled for the remainder of the year. All international field trips between now and June 30th have been cancelled or rescheduled for next year. Events and activities scheduled to June 30th are being reviewed individually. We will communicate all cancellations or postponements as decisions are made.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all go through these unprecedented times together. Please pray, be well, look after each other.

March 22, 2020, 7 p.m. - Letter from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce
March 13, 2020, 2 p.m. - Letter from the Director and Chair

Elementary

March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for students and families to access to promote student engagement and student-directed learning during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended elementary learn at home resources.

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.

We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

Get resources designed to help young students learn at home, independently or with the help of a parent or guardian.
Additional resources are available in French through TFO.

Math story time
For Kindergarten to Grade 2
Using stories to explore simple math concepts, engage children in math and make learning at home fun, this resource is designed to spark conversations about math and its connections to the world of a child. You may be prompted to download the free Math Storytime app. No accounts or passwords are required.

TVO Kids
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Award-winning, advertising-free videos, games and content that supports the Ontario curriculum.

TVO Kids offers educational programing throughout the day for school-aged children. Check out their broadcast schedule to what is on and when.

TVO Kids also has YouTube Channels dedicated to STEM and literacy programs.
Science and Technology
Supports the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core science curriculum. Kids can learn from fun science experiments — and even try some of them at home.
Mathematics
Support the Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 core curriculum. Kids can learn math in a way that is intriguing and fun!
Language
Join in an imaginative world where learning language is paramount. View any of the specially chosen videos on this YouTube channel and witness the growth of language skills and the love of reading.

TVO mPower
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Free, award-winning online games that support the mastery of math concepts and bolster understanding of STEM and the social sciences. Boost foundational math skills and inspire a love of math. Sign up can easily be done by a parent. With a free account, students can track their progress in the games. Check out a sample preview of mPower.

TVO Mathify
For Grades 6 to 10
Free, one-on-one online support provided by Ontario Certified Teachers, is available to help students improve their math skills. Now accessible Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Sunday from 3:30pm to 9pm. Build math understanding and confidence with the help of a math tutor!

Secondary

March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for students and families to access to promote student engagement and student-directed learning during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended secondary learn at home resources.

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.
We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

Get activities and resources for high school students to use at home to supplement their learning.

High School Courses — Keep up with studies
For Grades 9 to 12
Students can review, refresh and extend their learning. During this time of school closure, teacher-facilitated online courses are being temporarily adapted to allow for independent study (not for credit). You can begin when you like and work at your own pace.

TVO Mathify
For Grades 6 to 10
Free, one-on-one online support provided by Ontario Certified Teachers, is available to help students improve their math skills. Now accessible Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Build math understanding and confidence with the help of a math tutor!

Special Education

Niagara Catholic has created a list of recommended websites for our special education students and their families to access during this prolonged school closure. We will add additional sites as they are vetted by Board staff.

Recommended elementary special education sites.

Recommended secondary special education sites. 

Continuing Education

March 27, 2020

Niagara Catholic offers Continuing Education Learner Resources for the following programs:

  • Adult Day School Credit Courses
  • eLearning Credit Courses
  • Personal Support Worker Program
  • International & Indigenous Languages Elementar
  • Student Academic Assistance • (also known as P3)
  • Literacy and Basic Skills Program
  • Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) for Mature Students
  • Career and Academic Counselling
  • ESL/LINC
  • TESOL
  • Community Services Resources

Parents, Guardians and Caregivers

The information below is from the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home page.
We have divided it for families to find information quickly.

A parent's guide to literacy and mathematics in kindergarten (PDF)
For Kindergarten
Learn how kindergarten is designed to give your child a stronger start in school and in life by providing an engaging learning program that is based on a child's natural desire to play. Children enter school capable, competent and ready to learn.

Doing mathematics with your child (PDF)
For Kindergarten to Grade 6
Find tips and activities to help keep your child thinking about math all year.

A parent's guide to the fundamentals of math (PDF)
For Grades 1 to 8
Make sure students have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of math to help prepare them for success, now and in the future. What students learn today will help them solve everyday problems and prepare for the future of work.

The Ontario curriculum
For Kindergarten to Grade 12
Browse the curriculum to find what skills and knowledge students learn by the end of each grade.

Faith-based Learning

Faith is about much more than religion classes at Niagara Catholic - our faith is alive in all that we do. The Religion and Family Life component of our curriculum is a very important part of student learning in our Catholic schools. With schools and parishes closed, Niagara Catholic will continue to offer faith-formation resources so students can continue their faith journeys at home.

*New* April 1, 2020

Live Streaming of Mass, Stations of the Cross, and the Rosary Available Online

The Cathedral of St. Catharine of Alexandria
(Live Sunday at 11:30 am)
https://www.thecathedralinstcatharines.com/

Our Lady of the Scapular Catholic Church, Niagara Falls
(Live daily at 9:00 am, Saturday at 5:00 pm)
https://www.facebook.com/OLOSNiagara/

St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, St. Catharines
(Live)
https://www.facebook.com/st.marys1867/
Weekend Mass
-Saturday at 5:00 pm and Sunday at 10:00am
Weekday Mass 
-Monday to Thursday
-Rosary 8:30
-Mass 9:00
​Adoration
-Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 12:00pm
Stations of the Cross
-Friday at 6:30 pm followed by Mass at 7:00 pm

St. Alfred Catholic Church, St. Catharines
(Live)
https://youtu.be/kh1uxJHOkVY
Weekend Masses
-Saturday at 6:00 pm, 7:30 pm (Spanish)
-Sunday at 7:45 am, 9:00 am (Italian), 10:30 am & 12:00 pm
Weekday Masses
-Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday at 8am
-Wednesday at 9:15 am, 7:30 pm (in Spanish)
-Saturday at 8:30 am
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the Rosary follow all of the above weekday Masses.
Stations of the Cross
-Friday at 6:00 pm followed by Mass<

Star of the Sea Catholic Church, St. Catharines
(pre-recorded)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDQfnstKAdADw3LR-NUPjXA/featured?disable_polymer=1

St. Joseph Catholic Church, Grimsby
(pre-recorded)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX5_TJMB7GpOw6M0LV8t9pw

St. Julia Catholic Church, St. Catharines
(Live weekdays at 9am and Saturday at 5pm)
https://www.stjuliastc.com/

Salt & Light TV
(Live daily at 6:30 am, 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, 10:30 pm)
https://saltandlighttv.org/mass/


Faith Formation Resources for Students and Families

Virtual Tour of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNl5J6SV4ZE
Just because we need to stay home physically doesn’t mean we can’t travel virtually! Explore the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and witness Renaissance art and architecture and the centre of the Catholic Church.

Daily Lenten Activities (K-12)
Daily activities and reflections for the forty days of Lent for children and adults.
https://carfleo.com/2020/02/22/lent-activities-from-sr-pat-carter-3/

Catholic Icing
Crafts and activities for K-4 on the Liturgical Year, Sacraments, Saints, and Prayer.
https://www.catholicicing.com/

Formed
The Catholic version of Netflix, Formed, is offering a free 40 day trial. Lots of great movies and resources for the family.
The Elementary Chaplaincy Leaders recommend the Brother Francis series for K-3 students.
https://formed.org/faithathome

 

March 23, 2020

Through Pearson Publishing's Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ student-home website, students, parents and guardians have access to videos, stories, activities, and songs all anchored in the celebration of their Catholic faith.

To access the site, please use the following login:

username: GIFGIC_student99

password: Student99

 

Mental Health Resources - Families

*New* April 1, 2020

Mental Health and COVID-19

School Mental Health Ontario
https://smho-smso.ca/covid-19/parents-and-families/

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic
https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19

Canadian Psychological Association – Psychological Impacts of COVID-19
https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PW_Psychological_Impacts_COVID-19.pdf

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Helping Families Cope with COVID-19
https://www.oacas.ca/upload/editor/outbreak-factsheet-1.pdf

Has COVID-19 Affected Your Mental Health
https://health-sunnybrook-ca.cdn.ampproject.org/c/health.sunnybrook.ca/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-mental-health/amp/

Covid-19 Toolkit
https://www.we.org/en-CA/get-doing/activities-and-resources/wellbeing/covid-19-toolkit

 

Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Child Mind Institute
https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

https://youtu.be/WhVad8ToCiU

Anxiety Canada
https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/talking-to-kids-about-covid-19/

Pathstone Mental Health: How to Talk With Your Kids About Coronavirus
https://pathstonementalhealth.ca/coronaviruscovid19/#/

Talking to Teens and Tweens about Coronovirus
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/well/family/coronavirus-teenagers-anxiety.html?referringSource=articleShare

A Comic Explaining the New Coronavirus to Kids
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus

 

Specialized Supports

Autism Canada – How to Explain COVID-19 to Your Child with ASD
https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.155.175/506.fdc.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Autism-Canada-COVID-19-Message.pdf

Tourette Association of America – COVID-19 Resources for Tourette Syndrome
https://tourette.org/covid-19-resources-for-tourette-syndrome/

International OCD Foundation – COVID-19 and OCD Resource Page
https://iocdf.org/covid19/

 

Addressing Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety Canada – What to Do if You're Anxious or Worried about COVID-19
https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/what-to-do-if-you-are-anxious-or-worried-about-coronavirus-covid-19/

Dealing With Stress and Anxiety During a Pandemic
http://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19

 

Fun Ways to Engage Kids and Build Connection

Random Acts of Kindness
https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/ 
https://assets.randomactsofkindness.org/downloads/hello_help_cards.pdf

Home Art Activities
https://theartofeducation.edu/2020/03/13/27-art-activities-and-lessons-to-try-at-home/

TED Talks for Kids
https://www.ted.com/playlists/86/talks_to_watch_with_kids

The Globe and Mail’s Tips for Keeping Kids Occupied
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/article-coronavirus-kids-home-ideas-occupied-entertained-march-break-schools/

Physical Activity for Children and Youth
https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/physical_activity

 

Mental Health Resources-Students

FAQ

This section will be updated as new questions are received.

 

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