ECACS September Newsletter

"Growing in Christ, Making a Difference."

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Students, Parents and Staff:

As I was driving to work this morning I was thinking of the multitude of administrative things that I had to do today. Then, I passed a family standing on their front lawn. The mother was taking pictures of a little guy with his new backpack and his slightly older sisters were fussing around him. It was obviously his first day of school. It is scene playing out in many families this week. For me, it took my mind from the management mode to the reality that, despite the preparations, cleaning, planning, memos, scheduling, procedures, policies and administrivia, this week is all about the excitement of the first day of school.

I want to welcome you all back to a new school year. The great thing about our catholic school system is that each September we are given a chance for renewal. No matter what happened last year, this is a new year. We all get a clean slate and a chance to have a fresh start.

I also realize that this is a year like no other. We are opening schools under a global pandemic. Like me, I know many of you have concerns and reservations. There are universal debates about the wisdom of opening schools for students at this point in time. However, I do think students need to get back to school, for a multitude of reasons.

I can make a commitment that this school division will do everything we can to keep you safe. Your principals have worked with the school division over the summer to ensure all schools have an adequate supply of cleaning materials, hand sanitizer, face masks, face shields, protocols for visitors, practices for social distancing and safety supplies. We have hired additional cleaning staff to regularly clean high touch areas during the school day.

I encourage you as well if you feel apprehensive; if you have anxiety, reach out to your administration and share your thoughts. I can assure you that you are not alone. If there is anything we can do to make your year better, please contact us. Unfortunately, mental health issues are a consequence of this pandemic but support is just a phone call or a visit away.

While there will be challenges this year, there is also a great opportunity to get back to business. I always thought students were eternal optimists because each year they pile in with smiles, jokes and that wonderful sense of comradery. Like the students, let’s start the year with a smile and make this a great year for everyone.

On behalf of the board chair, Debra Klein, the trustees of East Central Catholic School Division (ECCS) and the entire staff at the central office we welcome you back for a new school year!

Take care,

Charlie McCormack

ECACS Board Updates

Congratulations to Debra Klein and Greg Ibach who were re-elected as the board chair and vice-chair for the East Central Alberta Catholic School Division on August 27th at the startup organizational meeting.

School Division Website Transition

East Central Alberta Catholic appreciates everyone's patience and understanding as to the division transitions to a new website platform. The division website was transitioned over the summer months and can be located at the following URL:

East Central Alberta Catholic Schools -

The remaining school-specific sites will be transitioned by the end of October.

Blessed Sacrament School -

Blessed Sacrament Outreach -

St. Jerome School -

St. Thomas Aquinas School -

Theresetta School -

Christ-King School -

Visitor Protocol & Screen Tool

In order to minimize risks, volunteers and guest presenters are not permitted until further notice. Authorized visitors include parents, delivery personnel, ECACS staff, RCMP, and personnel from Alberta Health Services. Prior to a visitor entering the school, they will use the posted self-screening tool, which is posted on the school’s door. If a visitor answers YES to any of the questions, the individual must not be admitted into the school.

Parents/guardians must remain off school grounds or within their vehicle when dropping off their children. They must not enter the school unless approved by the principal. The principal will utilize as many entry doors as possible and assign all students an entry point. Students should move directly to their designated entry door and wait for permission to enter the building while staying two metres apart where possible.

Click here for the latest ECCS Re-Entry Planning Updates.

K-12 School Re-Entry Plan

The school re-entry plan (2020-21 school year) allows schools and parents to prepare for learning while putting student and staff safety first.

The plan offers guidance on a wide range of operational issues including:

  • hygiene and health requirements
  • student learning
  • transportation
  • diploma exams
  • mental health and psychological supports for students and staff

Parent Re-Entry Guide

All parents will be required to complete daily screening of their child(ren) prior to students getting on the bus or entering ECACS school buildings.

Parent COVID-19 Screening Checklist

All students and staff who have pre-existing symptoms not related to COVID-19 are highly recommended to get tested prior to the beginning of the school year to establish a baseline.

Note: All the families who rely on Buffalo Trail for transportation services will be updated on the busing COVID-19 guidelines through the BTPS notification system in the near future.

Update on COVID-19 - September 21, 2020
COVID-19: How to use a non-medical mask
Elementary - Returning to school safely
Junior and High School - Returning to school safely

2020-2021 School Year

First Day of School:

North Schools:

September 1, 2020, for the following schools: School of Hope, Vermilion Home Schooling, St. Jerome's School, Blessed Sacrament School, Blessed Sacrament Outreach and St. Thomas Aquinas.

South Schools:

August 31, 2020, for the following Schools: Christ-King School and Theresetta School.

Supply Lists

Supply lists can be found on the district website as well as the school websites.

2020-21 ECACS Family Program Choice

East Central Alberta Catholic School Division is fortunate to be able to offer our families the opportunity to enroll in our local community schools or the School Of Hope Online Program. The School of Hope offers our full programming of Gr. 1-12 online classes and courses.

Parents need to complete the following steps if there is an interest in enrolling in our online teacher-directed program:

  • If you have already registered your child(ren) at a local community school (BSS, St. J, St. A, Theresetta, CK) contact the local school administration to inform them of your intent to enroll your child(ren) in the School Of Hope online teacher-directed program at this time.
  1. BSS - Michelle Folk - 780-842-3808
  2. BSO - Michel Despins - 780-842-3944
  3. St. Jerome - Allan Chase - 780-853-5251
  4. St. Thomas Aquinas - Jeremy Cairns 780-753-6838
  5. Theresetta - Roger Fetaz - 403-882-3309
  6. Christ-King - Tara McMillian - 403-742-0280
  7. School Of Hope - Michel Despins - 888-350-4673

  • Parents will need to call or email the School Of Hope office to complete the enrollment process once your local school administration is aware of your intent to enroll in the School Of Hope Online program.
  • Parents will have the opportunity to attend our local community schools or enroll in our online teacher-directed program at two different times in the school year:
  • September - January
  • February - June
  • If you have already completed the student registration process at your community school, parents will need to complete the SOH online program forms required to enroll your child(ren) in the online teacher-directed program.

School Of Hope Admin Contact Information:

email - principal -

email - vice-principal -

Office Phone: (780) 853-2188

Toll-Free: 1 (888) 350-4673

St. Thomas Aquinas New School Construction Project

The construction of the new K-12 school in Provost has begun. Special thanks to Chris and Nathan Ritchie who are providing daily photos and aerial footage updates.

The division will be welcoming the Alberta Infrastructure Minister, Prasad Panda, on August 12th for a site visit to review the construction progress of the new school in Provost.

Catholic Archdioceses of Edmonton Live Streaming Mass Schedule

Live-streamed Sunday Mass

We invite the faithful to join celebrations of the Mass ‘virtually,’ through video live streaming from their own parish or from St. Joseph’s Basilica with Archbishop Smith.

Sunday Mass at the Basilica is live-streamed at 10:30 a.m. each week. Find it on Grandin Media at


Archdiocese of Edmonton Youtube Channel

or on Facebook @

or Twitter @

or on Telus Optik TV Channel 876

Orange Shirt Day - September 30th

Our goal is to support Albertans in staying healthy and to provide you with the best possible healthcare experiences. In order to do that, we need to understand the unique culture and perspective of the various peoples we serve.

This includes the more than 220,000 Albertans who self-identify as Indigenous, making Alberta home to the third-largest Indigenous population in Canada.

It is important to honour, recognize and celebrate the strengths and resilience of the First Peoples of this land. By focusing on these and building greater understanding and awareness, we can build a better and more inclusive health system.

Reconciliation is also an important part of building understanding. Orange Shirt Day — Wednesday, Sept. 30 — is an opportunity for us to show a personal commitment to reconciliation and creating culturally safe environments for Indigenous patients and families.

Wearing an orange shirt is meant to recognize the harm done to residential school students, and show a commitment to the principle that every child matters.