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Welcome back to the 2020-2021 school year. I hope everyone had a relaxing and restful summer vacation with family, friends, and loved ones, despite our country’s encounter with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been six months since we were last in school, so I am sure you were all anxiously awaiting the start of a new school year. 

I would like to first reiterate that at St. Raphael, we are committed to the safety of our students and staff.  We are monitoring the new information about COVID-19 and working with our board and TPH to keep our schools safe.  We want to share that we are taking the necessary precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of viruses and other germs, and are cleaning off high-contact areas, such as paper towel dispensers, light switches, doorknobs, keyboards and desks. The status of this situation is extremely fluid, and we are monitoring the progress of this matter thoroughly and consistently; we encourage parents and students to continue following safety safeguards, such as washing hands with soap and using sanitizers; covering coughs and sneezes and properly disposing of tissues; wearing face masks when in the building and avoiding others who are sick, and staying home - if ill.

In light of the events of 2020 thus far, we face unique challenges this September and we will need to draw on the strength and cooperation of our entire community in order to meet them.  Our students and teachers will be adapting to a new way of learning and teaching online, and I would encourage everyone to show patience and understanding. The mental health of our students is a perennial concern and we must be especially supportive of them during these extraordinary times. And at every opportunity, we must reaffirm our commitment to inclusiveness, diversity, and open inquiry.

Each year brings positive change. This includes a few additions to our staff. We are delighted to welcome Ms. A. Valente to Grade 1, Ms. C. Andriano to Grade 5/6, Ms. A. Ciafrini to ESL, we welcome back Ms. A. Grieco to Grade 5 (filling in for Ms. Lannan). We also have an additional ELP class and we welcome Ms. V. Ribeiro as the ECE and Ms. R. Duah as the temporary ELP teacher. We also welcome Ms. A. Correia ECE working with Ms. Minichiello.

In closing, I’d like to ask all of you to bear in mind the importance of maintaining personal distance among teachers and students. A call, an email, or a little recognition can make a big difference for their well-being and your own. For your own health, as well as the health of those around you, please remember that wearing masks or face coverings is required in common spaces in the building, practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and self-isolate if you’re not feeling well. These are simple safeguards that will contribute to the health and well-being of our community as we weather this storm.

Despite the many challenges we have faced over the past months, it has been heartening to witness our close-knit community exhibit such resilience and support for one another. Thank you for your continued efforts in this regard and for helping us maintain a unique sense of togetherness, despite being physically apart.

 

God Bless you,

R. Zaccak-Di Felice, Principal

N. Montanari, Vice Principal ​                        

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