December 14, 2020 - Mario Vergara
As we continue to field calls from members since last week’s Provincial Government’s announcement, the following is an update to alleviate some of your concerns.
Most members have been seeking clarification since the announcement regarding our employer’s expectations for teachers and our work requirements during the January 4-8th time period.
As your President I have continued to seek clarification with the Chief Superintendent and I hope the following information will clear up some of your questions.
The Provincial announcement stated that there was no change to the current school restrictions. Students in grades 7 through 12 will continue to be engaged in at-home learning and K-6 students to be in school until December 17th (for CSSD students).
All students will be online from Jan 4-8, 2021, with the exception of students in congregated programs and educational support settings (i.e.: ES classrooms). Principals will continue to work with families to determine the best way to support student learning during this time.
January 4-8 period
For the Jan. 4-8 period, schools will remain open, and teachers are expected to accommodate families that request appointments or in-person support for their students.
However, school administrators will be on site and will work with their teaching and support staff to determine the possibility of working from home and to determine the needs for adequate supervision of students that remain in their identified programs.
Principals have the authority to approve a teacher’s request to work remotely away from their regular District Worksite. Schools will be open for staff to provide access to classroom technology and support if required. As our Provincial Association has stated, not all teachers wish to work from home.
For any employees working away from their regular worksite, AP 405.1 would apply.
Form 405.1-1 “Remote Work Agreement” must be completed, and adhere to section 5.2.6, - employees must be available to be called in within 2 hours’ notice.
Please refer to the AP for further details. https://www.cssd.ab.ca/administrative-procedures
Grade 7-12 students will continue to follow their schedule as per the last transition in December.
Note, however, that being “available” does not imply or require that teachers provide sustained accompanying or streaming instruction for the entire instructional time block.
Elementary teachers are being asked to develop a digital and/or paper package of work for their students to complete during the week. The learning package should be available to students by December 17th. It could be a paper package that mirrors the online lessons that students take home. This will allow those who prefer to work on paper or students that do not have access to adequate technology or Wi-Fi. Teachers are not expected to deliver both in-person and on-line lessons.
Students in grades 1-6, depending on grade level, will follow a modified schedule working a combination of online and independent work for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. Teachers are encouraged to develop daily/weekly schedules for these virtual connections that provide options for student participation. These should be communicated to parents prior to Christmas break. Teachers are also encouraged to take attendance to monitor student wellness.
Lesser time will be required for kindergarten students, as younger students may require less screen time and families may require flexibility in their learning times due to childcare situations and accessibility to technology at home.
From January 4th-8th, teachers will arrange to connect daily with students while at home through technology (face to face virtual connection). Students that do not have access to technology that will be working on “hard copy packages” can be checked via a wellness phone call(s) from the teacher.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will follow the direction given by the Provincial Government.
Please support each other and ask for support if you need it.
We want to encourage you to be safe and to relax over the holiday. Thank you for the incredible work that you do. Please know that we recognize that this Christmas holiday will be like no other and we are here to support the efforts that you are making to keep yourselves and others safe as we continue to try and bend the COVID curve.
God Bless you and your loved ones.
Mario Vergara | President
Calgary Catholic Teachers' ATA Local 55
January, 2021 - Mario Vergara
No Message in January 2021
February, 2021 - Mario Vergara
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Welcome to February and thank you for your contributions during the past year.
The previous year has brought many changes in our lives, in our schools and in our practice. Thank you for choosing to embrace the challenges that we have faced, not just with COVID-19 but also the challenges and injustices to the marginalized and racialized groups within our school communities. This month we will be recognizing Black History Month at our schools. Link
It is no secret that teachers are struggling, we are at the midpoint of the year and are worn down by the extra labour of remote and hybrid learning instruction. Teachers are understandably concerned and are experiencing heightened anxiety about health and safety.
What are we doing as your Association to help you? In collaboration with the District, we participated in the first District wellness day on December 18th. The day was well received by teachers and we will continue to work with our senior admin team to plan for a similar day in the near future.
Together with our Provincial association, our District and other Education stakeholders, we are asking Alberta Health to include us in their COVID-19 vaccination plans for the next phase of distribution.
Personally, I have met with Minster LaGrange and have brought the following concerns to her attention. Contact tracing being downloaded to our school admin teams, adequate funding for schools, reduced class sizes and support for students. This has also been at the forefront of our meetings with our District’s senior admin team. They are aware of our challenges and have assured us that they too are following up with the Provincial Ministry.
As we look ahead to February and convention season, there are exceptional speakers and sessions brought to us by our committee. Don’t forget to register for CCTCA and enjoy from home.
Please continue to take care of yourselves, follow the key health measures as directed by Alberta Health and stay home if you are experiencing symptoms.
I will continue to work with our district leaders to use their autonomy and flexibility to ensure that your needs are being met.
God bless and keep safe,
President, Calgary Separate Local 55.