The health and safety of everyone in our faith and learning community remain our top priority and is incorporated into all of our decisions, protocols, and actions, in order to meet Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) public health measures and guidelines.
UPDATED: May 7, 2021
This week has seen a number of announcements from Premier Kenney in regards to stricter restrictions to ‘stop the spike’ of COVID-19. Most recently, it was announced that all kindergarten to grade 12 students in Alberta will be learning online, effective Friday, May 7, 2021. We anticipate a return to face-to-face instruction on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021.
Please note the following:
- All K-12 students will be learning from home.
- Pre-Kindergarten programs continue with face-to-face learning.
- Students with exceptional learning needs may continue to access face-to-face learning as required. This is to be done in discussion with school administration.
Premier Jason Kenney and Minister Adriana LaGrange announced on Sunday, April 11, 2021 that the province will be expanding the COVID 19 rapid tests program to 300 schools by mid-May. The rapid-tests will be voluntary for staff and students, and signed consent will be required for participants. According to COVID-19 guidance and health measures for K-12 schools on the Alberta Education website, “Schools will be selected based on a variety of factors, including the prevalence of COVID-19 in the school or community and whether a school has had multiple outbreaks or school-acquired cases since the start of the school year.” We look forward to the impact of this added measure of safety in Alberta schools.
On March 25, 2021, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said variant cases now account for 21 per cent of active cases provincially, and she reported that Alberta also leads the country in cases of the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the United Kingdom. Following Spring Break, on April 6, 2021, Premier Kenney announced, “Alberta is reverting back to Step One of its public health restriction framework in order to curb the growing spread of COVID-19 and its variants. School measures have remained consistent and we look forward to continuing to work together to keep everyone safe.
On March 1, 2021, Premier Jason Kenney said a recent spike in the COVID-19 positive testing rate and the number of active cases, including more variant cases, means other parts of Step 2 can’t happen yet. “That’s why we have to proceed cautiously, while still moving forward. I know that many Albertans want us to relax many more health restrictions today, but we cannot and we must not allow exponential growth to start to take hold driven by these new more contagious variants,” Kenney said.
On Thursday, January 28, 2021, Premier Kenney announced relaxed restrictions for school authorities to start as of February 8, assuming that hospitalization numbers are at 600 or lower. On Saturday, February 6, 2021, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced further relaxed restrictions related to school athletics, extracurricular activities, and performances. Deputy Minister Tremblay provided further information about how to interpret these guidelines for schools.
On Dec. 8, 2020, Premier Jason Kenney announced new and stronger province-wide public health restrictions, which will be in place until at least Jan. 12, to protect the health-care system and slow the spread of COVID-19. A ban on all indoor and outdoor social gatherings, as well as mandatory mask-use, became effective immediately, while all other measures came into effect on Sunday (Dec. 13). The announcement did not include any changes for schools; thus, programming and protocols will continue as previously directed. We will continue to follow any new messages over the Christmas Break.
On Nov. 24, 2020 Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta. In response to continued rising cases of COVID-19 across the province, the Alberta Government has put in place “bold and targeted” province-wide public health measures, including some within schools, to slow down the spread of the virus. Unless otherwise stated, these mandatory restrictions came into effect immediately and will be in place for at least three weeks. The province says that, together, these measures will help protect our health care system, keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, and protect vulnerable Albertans. Health officials and government authorities are monitoring the situation and will adjust measures if required.
Starting Nov. 30, 2020 students in Grades 7 to 12 will move to at-home learning until Jan. 8, except for the Christmas break (Dec. 19 to Jan. 3). Diploma exams are optional for the rest of the school year. In-person learning for students in Pre- K to Grade 6 will continue until the scheduled break and will move to at-home learning following the break (Jan. 4 to 8). In-person classes for all students (K to 12) will resume on Jan. 11. School principals will provide more information to parents/legal guardians in the days to come. If you have specific questions, please reach out to your child’s school directly.
Near-normal operations - Update - August 2020
Schools across Alberta returned to near-normal operations (in-school instruction, with health and safety measures in place) at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Premier Jason Kenney and The Hon. Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, made the announcement on July 21, 2020.
This decision is one of 3 scenarios that the provincial government considered in its school re-entry plan:
- In-school classes resume (near normal with health measures)
- In-school classes partially resume (with additional health measures)
- At-home learning continues (in-school classes are suspended/canceled)
Deciding which scenario to enact is a government decision - not a school board or division decision. While we expected this outcome, our division – and our schools – have been planning for all 3 scenarios so that we would be prepared for whatever scenario the province mandated.
Furthermore, like all school jurisdictions in Alberta, our Division may be directed to switch between scenarios, depending on what happens with COVID-19. Thus, our school re-entry plan allows us to transition between scenarios, if/as required.
As the COVID-19 situation continually evolves, we will be responsive and flexible as the year progresses. That means that our plan, and related practices in our schools, may also evolve.
We will continue to keep you informed about new developments as they happen. You can so stay informed by visiting our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Additionally, relevant information will be shared with students, parents/legal guardians, and staff through the Parent Guidebook for School Re-Entry: 2020-2021, which is updated regularly, and our weekly Superintendent's updates (sent to staff and families every Friday).
School Re-Entry Plan
Working with our community, we have developed a comprehensive School Re-Entry Plan that includes multiple safety protocols in all of our schools, as well as all Division buildings, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and to help keep our students, staff, and communities safe.
The following health measures are in place at our schools:
- Anyone coming to the school will be expected to do the daily prescribed COVID-19 Information Screening Questionnaire (PDF) (available in multiple languages); parents/legal guardians are expected to complete this daily checklist with their children before they come to school each day. If students show any signs of illness, they are not to come to school, unless the signs are established as part of a pre-existing health condition.
- Strict stay-at-home protocols are in place for those who are feeling unwell.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting in schools and on buses are in place.
- Encouraging physical distancing, where possible, is a focus.
- Creating cohorts of students will be implemented as much as possible.
- Mandatory masks for students from grade 4–12 and for all staff in settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, as outlined in provincial guidelines, is required.
- Asking students who are physically, psychologically, or developmentally able to wear a mask, to do so.
- Recognizing that individuals who under any protected grounds of the Alberta Human Rights Act may be excused from this health protocol.
- Following prescribed hand hygiene requirements for students and staff.
These strategies and protocols align with the recommendations of Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Alberta government's School Re-Entry Plan.
The provincial plan offers guidance on a wide range of operational issues and is informed by both Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy and expert advice from the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.