On July 22, 2020 the Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) sent an email updating parents about the re-entry information for 2020-21 school year, specifying that in-school classes will return “to near normal” this fall according to the government’s latest announcement at that time. CRPS also reminded about the three Alberta Health Services tenets for maintaining safety of students and staff:
- Cohorting: A group of students and staff who remain together. The size of the cohort may depend of the physical space of the classroom or learning settings.
- Physical distancing of at least 2 meters whenever possible
- Proper hygiene and cleaning in a COVID-19 environment.
In the same letter the CRPS explained a general plan to make sure their schools are as safe as possible for students and staff during COVID-19 pandemic. That plan was given again with more details on August 14th, 2020. Some of the main points of the district re-entry guidelines for public schools in the Canadian Rockies are:
- All students will have access to school every day on the district calendar. CRPS assumes delivery of all curricula.
- Schools will be a “closed campus” which means that once students arrive on campus, they will be expected to remain on site until the end of the school day. Only students, school staff and essential-service providers are allowed inside the school, everyone else (including parents) will need to book an appointment 24 hours in advance.
- Masks are optional for students from kindergarten to grade 3, and compulsory for students from grade 4 to grade 12. Masks must be used during transportation, shared spaces and when social distancing is not possible.
- Every day everybody (students, school staff, essential-service providers) must complete the questionnaire Self-Screening Questions to make sure that everyone who enters the school is healthy. If any individual has answered “Yes” to any of the questions about COVID-19 symptoms, the CRPS suggest the person not to enter the school and not stay around the bus stop. The same questionnaire must be completed by a parent in case of an appointment at the school before entry (please remember that appointments must be booked at least 24 hours in advance). If the student leaves the school for lunch, the student must complete a new questionnaire before re-entry the school.
- Students will be required to bring a lunch/snack that does not require too much preparation because there will not be microwaves available. Food or utensils (salt & pepper, ketchup, etc.) cannot be shared. Please make sure you kid has everything to eat his/her lunch properly. The same will happen with school supplies. There will no be sharing of school supplies. Please make sure your children are bringing to school everything they need for the day at school.
- Students will be required to bring their own bottles of water because drinking directly from a water fountains will not be allowed. Nevertheless, fountains and water filling stations, where available, can be used to refill personal water bottles.
- No person, including staff and students, shall enter the school if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, even if symptoms resemble a mild cold. If a kid is showing any COVID-19 symptoms at pick-up time or during a school bus ride, the bus driver will supply the student a mask and will call transportation office who will then contact the school to inform about the ill kid. The student will be located inside an insolation/sick room at the school and the parents will be contacted to pick up their child up as soon as possible. The same would happen if the kid shows symptoms inside the school. Schools encourage parents to pick up their ill children from the school within the hour.
- Parents are encouraged to drive their children to school or to encourage their children to ride their bikes or walk when possible.
- Parents must wait outside the school to pick their kids up. There will be a specific timing for drop-off and pick-up in order to avoid gatherings of big groups of people. That information may be released next August 24th .
- If a class cannot be staffed, children may be sent home until a substitute can be secured.
- If many bus drivers become ill with COVID-19 or are not at work due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms, some bus routes may be cancelled.
- Fields trips requiring bus transportation are suspended at this time.
- Drama lessons, wind instruments or projecting voices within an enclosed environment are not allowed at this time.
- Physical education will take place outside as much as possible and there will be shared equipment only if it has been previously sanitized.
- Alberta high school sports are authorized to return this fall, but restrictions on inter-school competitions and in-school practices are in place until further notice.
- Kids are not allowed to play in the school playgrounds and the schools are not going to be open for community use.
- Teachers will be provided with a common set of instructional resources that will include the following topics, but will not be limited to:
- hand hygiene
- proper use of hand sanitizer
- respiratory hygiene
- how to maintain physical distancing
- Parents will be required to provide updated information on children’s pre-existing conditions on the CRPS demographic form at the beginning of school year.
- Students with exceptional learning needs will continue to be included in the learning of the whole classroom with support. Educational assistants, learning support teachers, and others who provide learning support will wear special equipment (mask, face shields and gloves).
- Volunteers or face-to-face classroom guest speakers will not be allowed inside the schools.
- Daily cleaning will be arranged for all the areas of the school. Washrooms and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned several times a day. Regularly scheduled deep-cleaning will take place when students are not present.
There is going to be a community conversation on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 7:00pm – 8:00pm facilited by AHS (Addiction and Mental Health, Right from the Start), Family Resource Network, and Canmore FCSS. This will take place at the Spring Creek Opera House. All are welcome to attend and COVID mitigation measures are in place.
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