Skip To Content

Relaunch 2020

We are ready for the 2020-2021 school year, whatever it may hold! While we are planning for all three possible scenarios (see below) as directed by the provincial government, we are focusing on the first scenario, which will see all students return to "near normal" classroom instruction this fall. The government has now confirmed that this is the scenario under which students will be learning this fall. 

We are excited to be welcoming students back to our schools in September. We would like to reassure you that our focus will remain on the safety of our students and staff, and we are developing plans around Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) guidelines for physical distancing, cohorting, hand hygiene, cleaning, etc. to ensure we provide the safest possible environment for your child.

As we return to school, we will also focus on connections, relationships and learning. Students have been out of school for a long period of time so we will make sure they feel safe, secure and have a sense of belonging, as these are foundational to the continuity of learning. Our teachers are already putting plans in place to address any learning gaps and guide students forward. We will be focusing on essential curriculum to ensure that any transitions among the scenarios are as smooth as possible.

However, although we are returning to “near normal”, you will notice some changes. Here’s a glimpse of what to expect, but please note, this information could change. If you still have questions after reviewing the information below, please look at our Questions and Answers page

Provincial government scenarios

1. In-school classes resume (near normal with health measures)
2. In-school classes partially resume (with additional health measures)
3. At-home learning continues (in-school classes are suspended/cancelled)

At this point, the government has indicated their plan is to return to school in the fall under Scenario 1. Please be aware that deciding which scenario to enact is a government decision, not a school division decision, and we could be directed by the government to switch among these scenarios during the school year with very little notice. Our planning includes strategies which will allow us to switch scenarios rapidly and as with as little disruption as possible.

Provincial government return to school info 

Attending school in the fall

In August, schools will be reaching out to families to find out if their children will be attending in-person instruction at school in the fall or if they will be choosing at-home learning. This would apply under Scenario 1 or 2. 

Illness

Parents are required to screen their children every day before sending them to school or on the bus. The screening checklist will be sent to each family. Do not send your child to school if they are sick. If they arrive at school sick or develop symptoms during the day, you will be notified immediately and required to pick up your child. While waiting for pick up, the child will be isolated from others, and expected to wear a mask (when feasible). Please ensure your emergency contact list is up to date, and that someone is available to pick up your child if you are not.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) considers two diagnosed people in a class to be an outbreak. We will follow AHS requirements for notification to other parents if/when this happens. Please refer to the AHS website to review the steps that will be taken if students or staff become ill or are diagnosed with COVID-19.

Guidance for parents

We have compiled some information parents should review and take into consideration for the upcoming school year (please note this info may be updated as the situation changes): 
Preschool
Kindergarten
Elementary
Junior high
Senior high
Inclusive education


Cleaning and personal protective equipment

Enhanced cleaning will take place throughout the day, especially frequently-touched areas like doors, light switches, etc. Staff will be provided with face shields and masks, although at this point we are not making their usage mandatory. If you would like your child to wear a mask during the day, please send one with them. Students will be required to wash or sanitize their hands before entering and upon leaving the classroom, and at other times during the day. We will have hand sanitizer stations set up throughout the school, especially where sinks are not close by.

Cohorts

To limit the number of contacts each child and staff member will have, students will be grouped into cohorts in elementary and junior high as much as possible. A cohort is defined as a group of students who remain together. This means that our students will do most of their activities within their own cohort as much as possible. When implementing cohorting guidelines, student safety, wellbeing and programming are considered, balancing the use of cohorts with the social and mental health needs of our students. Using cohorts also enables AHS to do contact tracing should an outbreak occur. Seating plans will be kept for each class.

Movement through the school and locker use

We will be taking steps to minimize the number of students in the hallways/common areas at any one time. Break times will differ for each cohort. Students will eat their lunches in their classrooms. Students will be directed to enter and exit through specific doors. Depending on the school, lockers might not be used, or if they are used, their use might be limited. Instead, students would bring their backpacks into the classroom and keep their belongings with them.

Technology

Technology will be important in any scenario, and even more so if we have to make a sudden switch to Scenario 2 or 3. To reduce the potential spread of any illness, we will limit the number of students accessing each school-owned device (e.g. ChromeBooks) while in school, and they will be cleaned in between uses. However, if parents wish, we would encourage you to consider purchasing or sending with your child your own device. All teachers will be using Google Classroom to reduce the number of papers and materials being passed among students, teachers and home.
Staples device purchase options

Yellow bus transportation

New safety measures will be in place on yellow buses. A seating plan will be developed for each bus, with siblings sitting together. To reduce the amount of contact among students, those entering the bus first will proceed to the back. Those last to board will sit at the front. High-contact points on buses will be wiped down between runs. Children will be instructed to avoid touching any surfaces unnecessarily. As physical distancing will not be feasible on the bus, families may choose to have their children wear a mask (please provide masks for your children).

High schools

Instead of the traditional two-semester system, we are planning a shift to a four-quarter system next year. This would still allow students to take their full complement of core and option courses, but helps reduce the number of people we are all in contact with on a daily basis. Quarters would also make any transition to Scenario 2 or 3 much smoother.
Quarter System Info 
Quarter System Calendar

Visitors/volunteers

To reduce the number of people in our schools, access will be limited to staff, students and families. Schools will not be accepting volunteers (including parent volunteers) or non-essential visitors until further notice.

Libraries and textbook usage

Where possible, we will rely on digital textbooks and library books. School libraries will be set up differently or may even be closed to students in the fall. Each school will provide more information in September. 

Field trips

Field trips will be limited to local, low-risk locations, as many venues may not be in full operation, taking children offsite increases their exposure to a larger number of people, and transportation to and from is difficult.

Playgrounds

Currently, playgrounds in the city are open but are not being cleaned. This practice will continue under Scenario 1. Students will be required to wash their hands before and after use, and use will be limited.

Recess/lunch/cafeterias/vending machines

Lunch breaks may be shortened, and we encourage students to stay at school during lunch as nearby convenience stores and restaurants will be limiting capacity and will likely have long lineups. To limit contact points, vending machines will not be operating next year. Cafeterias will be closed or will only serve foods that are pre-packaged or can be served by a staff member. Please ensure your children have a full lunch with them, as options will be limited. Microwave use will also be eliminated or limited so please consider using thermoses for hot food or sending food that does not need to be heated up.
home
St. Albert Public Schools