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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
News Item

November 9, 2020 - a message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

November 09, 2020

Introduction

If you are travelling today, please do so safely. As of 5:30 am this morning, travel was not recommended on lots of our highways. It appears things will improve the more the day wears on but use your judgement and know you will not be judged. Safety has to be our priority…for our children and each of us. Thank you for staying safe.

Covid-19 Cases

Over the weekend, Horizon was made aware of a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 in Ituna School. We have informed families of the school, and our incredible Public Health partners have engaged their processes for contact tracing and further guidance.   Operating out of an abundance of caution and care, the Ituna School building will be closed for students for Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10. Learning will continue this week, as our Ituna School teachers are prepared to support Learning from Home on Monday and Tuesday. As a reminder, we recognize Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and there is no school on Thursday and Friday.

We have also been made aware of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Punnichy area, with connections to several of our schools. The cases are not within our schools; however, operating out of an abundance of caution and care, we have decided to move to Learning from Home for students at Punnichy Elementary Community School and Punnichy Community High School for Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10. Students will not have access to the school building on these days, but their teachers will be prepared to support their learning at home. George Gordon First Nation Chief and Council have decided to close George Gordon Education so the Education Centre will be closed for Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10. GGEC staff will support students in Learning from Home on these days.

I want to thank all Horizon staff for the preparatory work to make it possible to respond to these events and continue supporting student learning.

Election Day and More

As we head to the polls on Monday, November 9, for our Municipal and Board of Education Election Day, I will remind you of the information and resources available on our website, horizonsd.ca/Board/ElectionInfo. I want to thank all candidates, volunteers, and poll workers for their engagement with this important democratic process for local government in Horizon and across our province. This week, November 9 – 13, I Local Government Week. The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) is promoting a free webinar on November 12, which will feature a panel of experts on local government – Boards of Education, municipal governments, etc. – sharing information and answering questions. This webinar is open to all, and you can register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1RzTGCvBSuqsDiAfm46PIg. Please take advantage of this opportunity if you are interested to learn more, or share the link with community members or School Community Council members who you think might be interested.

Remembrance Day

With Remembrance Day on Wednesday, this year’s commemorative events will not be the same as what we are used to in previous years. But school staff have been creative in how our schools and students mark this solemn day within our current Health guidelines and I thank you all for these efforts. We wear our poppies to show support for our veterans, to show that we will never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served our country, and those who continue to serve.

Return to Sport

Last week, we shared an update related to our Return to Sport Protocol. That message for staff and families can be found here. We continue to closely monitor the situation around COVID-19 and how our Return to Sport may be affected by new realities. As new information arises, we will continue to share updates with all stakeholders.

Professional Development

We held our annual Literacy Symposium for school administrators last week. This year, we broke the symposium out over several days to allow for smaller groups of school-based leaders and to allow for physical distancing. I want to thank our principals for their engagement, and our Literacy and Numeracy Team, led by Assistant Superintendent of Literacy, Numeracy, and Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, and her team for the incredible preparation and highly effective professional development opportunities. I also want to thank Superintendent, Darrell Paproski, for his leadership throughout these PD days.

Our ongoing work developing the provincial SaskMATH resource brought the SaskMATH Working Group together – some in-person and some remotely – for another day of important discussions and planning on Wednesday.

Throughout the week, I had multiple meetings with our partners in Health, my fellow Directors of Education and Board Chairs. I appreciate the partnerships and the collaboration that exists within our sector and across sectors in this province.

Christmas Hampers

As we get closer to the holidays, I want to share another reminder about Horizon’s Christmas Hamper Project. As I shared last week, we are looking at a record number of families and students that we hope to support this year. Any staff members can make a personal donation to this worthwhile cause through either a payroll deduction over one pay period or multiple pay periods (please contact Corinne Thoms at corinne.thoms@horizonsd.ca) or by donating in whatever manner you choose by connecting with my office and Marni Sogge at marni.sogge@horizonsd.ca. Every bit helps in this important, worthwhile cause to spread holiday cheer to families in need across our system.

Have a great week and stay safe, Horizon.

- Kevin

Kevin C. Garinger  B.Ed., M.A.Ed.
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205