St. Bernadette Newsletter September 2nd, 2020

St. Bernadette Elementary School
September 2nd, 2020

• Ventilation and Safety Update
• Ministry Approval of Health and Safety Plans
• Reminder of Learning Groups and Staggered Start Times
• New Kindergarten and Grade 1 Drop-Off and Pick-Up location
• Option Four
• Stingers Club
 • Welcome New Teachers

Sept. 10th – First Day of School – Half Day
Sept. 11th – Full day classes
Sept. 14th – Stingers Club Resumes 

---This marks our first official school newsletter of the 2020-2021 year.  For new families to our school, you can expect to receive news and information on events, important communication and other school related items.  Our calendar items are reminders for what is upcoming the week or so ahead.  All grade specific information will come from your classroom teacher.  

From time to time, you will receive other newsletters that look similar to this but contain information that is from the PEC or is a special bulletin – similar to the updates you were receiving in August.  It is important that you check your newsletter every week.  Newsletters are typically send out on Wednesdays, but might be held back a day if we are waiting on approval, clarity or other information to come prior to sending it out.
Lastly, our school newsletter is a staggered send out so to avoid it being misidentified as spam.  It is done randomly and takes up to 4-5hrs to complete.  This might result in your spouse receiving a newsletter several hours before you do.  

On Monday we had BC Comfort spend all day at the school to assess and test our HVAC systems.  They conducted a very thorough investigation and I am very pleased to report that they have concluded that we have excellent ventilation in our school.  We have met or exceeded all industry standards.  They were impressed with our large fresh air intake panels and commented on the good air flow in all the rooms.  They inspected all aspects of our system, made some minor repairs and provided us with recommendations to keep our system healthy and in good working order.  This is great news for our staff and students as it confirms that we will be able to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for everyone.  Further more, we have procured more signage and traffic control structures to ensure children are safe when entering the school.  Yesterday the entire staff went through an orientation that focused on our health and safety plans and what it means to be a trauma informed school.  The staff is excited and ready to welcome your child into the classroom on September 10th and we are very prepared for the 2020-2021 school year. 

All of our plans were submitted for approval to the Ministry of Education.   We have received confirmation that all our plans are approved and they have confirmed their alignment with the requirements set out in the COVID-19 Operational Guidelines and the Provincial COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings.  We are very proud of all the work and effort that went into the creation and updating of our health and safety plans.  I would like to thank the task force team of Ms. Cristina Ricafort, Ms. Boni Kosman and Ms. Laurie Bennett who joined me in the creation and implementation of these plans.  I also wish to thank all the staff and teachers for their enthusiasm and commitment to see these plans in action.  And I wish to thank all the parents for their trust, engagement and support.  We are a strong community that strives to work together for the betterment of your children. To see our plans go to

We would like to remind you that September 10th is a half day.  This is to remind you of your child’s LG and their start and end times at:
LG1 – Kindergarten and Grade 1
LG2 – Grade 2 and Grade 3
LG3 – Grade 4 and Grade 5
LG4 – Grade 6 and Grade 7 

School Start 
8:45am – LG2 – enter through the doors by the gym
8:45am – LG4 – enter directly into their classroom
8:55am – LG1 – enter through the doors by the gym (except K and 1 – see below)
8:55am – LG3 – Grade 5 – enter directly into the grade 5 class 
9:05am – LG3 – Grade 4 – enter through the doors by the gym 

Half Day School dismissal – September 10th
11:50pm – LG2 – exit through the doors by the gym
11:50pm – LG4 – exit directly out of their classroom
12:00pm – LG1 – exit through the doors by the gym (except K and 1 – see below)
12:00pm – LG3 – Grade 5 – exit directly out of the grade 5 class
12:10pm – LG3 – Grade 4 – exit through the doors by the gym 

The task force team is reviewing the drop-off and pick-up location for younger students.  We understand how difficult it is for younger children to independently enter and exit the school.  It has been decided, through the help of Ms. Schollen, to have Kindergarten and Grade 1 use the exterior doors on the east side of the school for drop-off and pick-up.  This will allow parents the option of bringing their child to the door of the classroom.Parents are reminded that they are not allow into the classroom, must wear a mask and must practice physical distancing from other children and parents.We will monitor this change closely to see how well families are able to physically distance, find appropriate parking, and safety drop-off and pick-up their child both at the door and in the parking lot.  We will be monitoring to see if parents begin to gather, if procedures are being followed, if safety can be maintained and if it serves as a benefit to the child.  If this option proves successful, then there is an opportunity to expand this option to grade 2 and 3 students.  By having the school separated to an east and west side of the building, we can greatly reduce the numbers of students gathered in one area. 

On Tuesday September 1st, St. Bernadette’s was notified of the CISVA mandate to make a fourth option available to all families. Deacon Henk, Superintendent of Catholic Schools stated the following in his letter:

“It is the intention of the Ministry of Education that students return to full-time, in-person attendance at school on September 10, 2020. However, some families may not be ready to have their children return to full-time in-person instruction on this date. This option allows the child to receive an at-home learning package with limited grade-level support from a teacher.  It is important to note that this support will not be the same as that which was offered following Spring Break 2020.  The child will maintain their classroom placement at their current school and will be able to transition to full-time in-person instruction at selected dates in the fall (dates to be determined).  This is not intended to be a full-year option.  Normal tuition applies for this option.”

Further to this, the CISVA stated that the start date for learning for families that wish to select option 4 will be September 21st and that a return to school date will be October 13th or November 16th.  A child will not be allowed to return to the school prior to these dates.

St. Bernadette’s is in line with the Ministry of Education in having all students return to full-time, in-person attendance at school on September 10th, 2020.  We are concerned with the late start date for learning to begin and for a child to be out of the school for this long of a period of time, especially at the start of a school year where friendships are formed, safety lessons are taught, and routines are established. In the webinar, the school’s safety plans and in our newsletter updates, we have highlighted the importance of a safe and healthy return to school and that a trauma informed approach will be greatly beneficial to your child’s learning (please see the webinar powerpoint on the school website for more information).  When making this decision it is important to reflect on the following:

Logistics – Will you be able to provide a schedule and a positive learning environment for your child with limited support from the school?  Will you have access to sufficient resources at home so your child can continue their learning?  Do you feel prepared to lead your child’s education during this transition period?  
Learning – Will you be able to ensure a high quality of learning from home? Will you be able to address the social, emotion, physical, and spiritual aspects of your child’s education?  Do you have the resources necessary to provide your child with a trauma informed education? Will you be able to create a plan that addresses your child’s transition back into the learning environment after being out for several weeks? 

If there is something specific about our restart plan that would necessitate you to refrain from having your child start the school year with in-person learning, please speak with me so that I can ensure that all aspects of our restart plan are clear and understandable.
If after much consideration and reflection there is still a desire to have your childnot begin the school year with his/her peers in the classroom, please send me an email so we can further discuss the fourth option as described above.  You can reach me at 

Yesterday you should have received an email about registration for our Stingers Activity Club (before and after school care program).  All registration forms need to be sent to
Furthermore, please remember to send the Pre-Authorized Debit form in with your registration.  Both the PAD form and registration can be downloaded from the newsletter section on the website. 

I would like to take sometime to once again welcome 3 new teachers to our school.  In Gr. 1 we welcome Kathlyn Buenvenida.  Ms. Buenvenida comes to use from St. Francis Xavier School in Vancouver.  There she also taught Gr. 1 and we are excited to have her join our team.  In Gr. 2 we welcome Ms. Caroline Winship.  Ms. Winship was previously at Star of the Sea school in Surrey.  Ms. Winship brings a wealth of experiences and we look forward to her guiding our Gr. 2s in their sacramental year.  We also have Nathan Barber joining our school as the Physical and Health Education (PHE) teacher.  Mr. Barber comes to us from St. Anthony’s school in West Vancouver.  We are excited to see him lead our sports teams and take on the duties as our PHE teacher and Athletic Director.

School Calendar
Absentee Forms
Stingers Club

St. Bernadette Elementary Catholic School
13130 65B Ave
Surrey, BC V3W 9M1
phone: (604) 596-1101
fax: (604) 596-1550

PEC Letter to Parents June 2020

Dear St. Bernadette Parents,

We have made it to the end of the 2019/2020 school year! 
This year brought us many accomplishments as a community; as well it brought us – and the rest of the world around us – perhaps more than our fair share of challenges. Through it all our solidarity with one another remained – and even shone brighter in our times of most need. While we began in September with so much promise and the new year saw us gain momentum in our plans as a school community, our school year did not end with “business as usual”. As such, I would like to share with you where we are at in some key areas, as follows –


At the start of the 2019/2020 school year, we had set a fundraising goal of $30,000. As a PEC we planned to use our fundraising proceeds in the areas of School Technology and Athletics (specifically for safety padding in the gym), and to purchase a new portable PA/sound system to replace our current one that is already breaking down and becoming increasingly unreliable in our school events. In October, the Parent Support Group (PSG) generously sponsored the purchase of the safety padding in the gym from their own funds. We were on track with our fundraising and preparing to launch our biggest fundraiser of the year – our Walkathon – upon our return from spring break but as you know, schools did not reopen and all fundraising was halted for the year. In the end, we raised just under $11,000 (about one-third of our fundraising goal) from the Fall Social, Fall Clothing Drive, Christmas Purdy’s/Gift Cards, Lights of Hope, Family Bingo Night and Family Movie Night. Our remaining fundraising events would have been the Walkathon, Spring Clothing Drive and Year End BBQ. With the amount we raised we were able to purchase new Chromebooks, which helps augment our technological resources as we prepare for what school might look like in September 2020. The PEC has deferred the remaining funds (about $2,000) to next year, still for the purchase of a much-needed new portable PA system. 

Looking ahead, we are hoping to hold a Clothing Drive over the summer, provided health/safety restrictions will allow it and If we are able to make the necessary arrangements. Any further information on this will be shared on our school’s social media channels, so please keep an eye out for that. We do not know yet how exactly our children will be returning to school in the fall, but the PEC will determine closer to that time if we are able to hold any other fundraising events in a manner that will comply with the health authority measures in place, and ensure everyone’s safety.

School Building, Facilities and Grounds

This year we were able to improve safety in a few areas around the school. As mentioned, the PSG helped the school in the purchasing of the safety padding in the gym. As well, we made long-overdue improvements in our landscaping particularly in the playground area. This not only helps minimize possible injuries from the branches of dead/dried up bushes and eroded soil, it also allows our staff/parents to have proper sightlines during playground supervision – to see children on the top field, in the playground, and in the basketball area. This is a safety requirement that needed to be addressed and we are happy we were able to do it this year. Watering, weeding and other related maintenance work to care for our new landscaping will be done by parent volunteers over the summer. We are not yet able to confirm if there will be Work Bees taking place over the summer, but should there be any, information will be sent out via the OnVolunteers portal.

Inside the school, we completed a much needed replacement of all our window coverings, to cordless blinds in all classrooms, offices and the Learning Commons. All window blinds are now in proper working order; as well, having no cords hanging with reach removes yet another risk to students, particularly in the primary classrooms. There are still a few other areas inside the school that need non-safety related improvement, but we will wait until the required seismic upgrades are completed so as not to double up on any work/cost. Preparations for the major construction work needed in our school building are still underway, and updates will be provided as they become available.

PEC Elections

As you may remember from previous years, a number of PEC positions can become vacant at the end of each school year.

Elections/appointments for vacant PEC positions usually take place in May and new committee roles are assigned in June for the coming school year. This year, due to the school disruptions caused by the pandemic, the CISVA Board of Directors has postponed the PEC elections to the fall and all current PEC members have been asked stay on the committee until at least September, tentatively. We are still awaiting further instructions on the recruitment and election/appointment of new PEC members and we will communicate the new guidelines when we receive them. In the meantime, if you have an interest or any questions about joining the PEC, please feel free to reach out to myself or any of the current members of the PEC. We will be taking a break from our regular meetings in July, but will resume in the third week of August.

Parent ParticipationIn March, the PEC voted to suspend the Parent Participation program and forgive all remaining unserved participation hours. Parent Participation cheques were not cashed on June 15, regardless of how many hours you had completed when the school closure took effect. Moving forward, we will assume the mindset that the school will reopen as scheduled in September and that the Parent Participation program will resume as normal. As such, all families will be receiving their task group assignments for the 2020/2021 school year from our Parent Participation Coordinator shortly. If any adjustments need to be made to your particular task come fall due to whatever the circumstances may be then, those will be addressed and considered at that time.

Thank You’s

Indeed, many Thank You’s are in order because while I have only mentioned a few highlights above, we know it has taken all of our collective effort to achieve all the successes we did this year, and to weather the challenge that has been the last three months.

We thank Father Paul and Mr. Van der Pauw, for their great leadership of our parish and school, respectively. The strength of our community starts with the collaborative relationship between our parish and school leaders, and that filters down to all our parish and school groups that truly support each other in our every endeavour. From the Knights of Columbus bringing us on board their Casino Night to coincide with our Fall Social, to our school families’ generous response to an impromptu food drive to replenish the cupboards of St. Vincent de Paul at the height of the pandemic – and everything in between – we are blessed to be in such a caring community.
We thank our teachers and staff for all their hard work, dedication and love for our children. You were amazing the whole year through, but also thank you for not backing down from the challenge of imparting knowledge and skills to your students even in ways you may have not done before – and doing it with such kindness and patience.

We thank you, parents, for your presence and participation all year – in all our fundraising and school events, in your day-to-day volunteer tasks around the school, with our very much unplanned ‘Spring Video Tribute Series’, and most of all, for your huge role in your children completing Term 3 entirely from home! Thank you for your invaluable support and your friendship.

In a special way we thank our Class Representatives who have helped us so much, especially these last few months, when effective and timely communication has been so important. Even without the requirement to complete any more participation hours, they readily continued to help our teachers with sending out class-related instructions, as well as information from the Principal and the PEC. I would also like to extend this gratitude to the members of the PEC who have continued to take part in planning, critical decision-making and continued community building as the school responded to the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis. What a blessing it is to get to do this work alongside all of you!

Finally, and most importantly, a salute to our children, who have shown so much courage and resilience this year. It must not have been easy at times; the situation after spring break asked a lot of you without allowing you much preparation, and yet you did it! Thank you for giving us your best everyday. 

As our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, often reminds us, this crisis is not over yet. We truly don’t know what the future holds but I take comfort in knowing we will get through it as a strong, supportive and loving community. I wish you and your families a summer like no other – one that is safe, healthy and full of memories we won’t soon forget. Take care and see you all again soon!

Sincerely, on behalf of your PEC,
Cristina Ricafort | PEC Chair                              

St. Bernadette Elementary School

13130 65B Ave, Surrey, BC  V3W 9M1