Dear Golden Hills Families,
I’m sure most of you are aware of the announcement by government earlier this week regarding the plan to return to school in September. Alberta Education has notified us and the province that we will be following Scenario #1 which is the near-normal return to school. Based on the many comments we received through our survey in June, we know that the vast majority of parents have been hoping for this announcement and as normal a return to school as possible in September.
While we are anxious for as normal a school year as possible too, we also understand the need to keep everyone safe in school. We have had a few calls and emails regarding the plan for the fall and we have a detailed approach to managing learning and the health and safety of our students and staff. You can find our detailed plan, with the most recent information from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education on our website HERE.
I’m providing a short summary of some elements of the plan here, but would encourage you to visit our website and read the entire plan for the full picture. Here are some of the changes you can expect as students return to school in September:
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Hand sanitization will be located at various high traffic areas in your school including all entrances and classrooms
- Our students will be educated on and continually reminded of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
- Frequent hand washing and use of sanitizers will be actioned throughout the day.
- Clear signage will be visible throughout the building and will include direction on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, physical distancing guidelines and what to do if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
High Touch Surfaces
- Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas and equipment inside and outside the classrooms.
- Hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies will be available in each classroom.
- Throughout the school, floor markers and barriers will be used to ensure physical distancing is in place and to mitigate congestion in hallways and high traffic areas.
- Separate entrances will be identified for different groups of students/staggered recesses and lunch periods where possible.
- Reduce group sizes at loading and unloading at schools
- Large gatherings of student groups will be avoided (assemblies, staggered recesses, class changes, etc.)
General Safety Considerations
- Rooms will be reorganized to allow for more physical space.
- To reduce contact between people, students will be placed in cohorts where possible. Alphabetical seating plans will be implemented to aid in contact tracing.
- Reduction or elimination of high risk activities (singing, cheering, high contact activities).
- Removal of any personal soft surfaces that cannot be easily cleaned.
- Increased hand hygiene before and after use of necessary shared equipment.
- Increased cleaning of necessary shared equipment.
- Reducing and eliminating the use of shared student supplies.
- Propping doors open wherever reasonable.
- Parents will be asked not to send anything in their child’s lunch that cannot easily be opened by the student and to avoid the use of microwaves.
Student and Staff Illness
- Staff and students will be expected to conduct a daily screening questionnaire (see Relaunch Guide)
- Should you become unwell during the day, staff are asked to immediately notify their Principal, put on a mask, make arrangements to exit the building and follow AHS guidelines before returning to work.
- Students who become unwell during the day will follow a specific protocol. Students will be equipped with a mask and front office staff will notify parents. Parents will be required to follow sick child policies as outlined by Alberta Health Services and leave the school.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Golden Hills will continue to take direction from Alberta Health Services and the Ministry of Education on the use of PPE. Staff and students are not currently mandated to wear masks.
Visitors / Volunteering
- Parent volunteers and non-essential visitors will be limited and only enter the office if required or with permission of an administrator.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, has been clear that one of the most important things we can do is screen for any symptoms prior to coming to school. We will be communicating more on this with all our families in a few weeks.
This is a constantly changing situation. As we look around the world and even across Canada, it is clear that Alberta has done an excellent job of managing the COVID 19 challenges. We have developed a high degree of trust with our Chief Medical Officer and the decisions our government and Alberta Education have been making with her advice. We still have more than a month to go until our return to school, but are approaching September with that same trust in the new plan for September. We will be monitoring the situations in our classrooms and schools very carefully and we know, that should things change again, with the support of AHS and Alberta Education, we will make whatever adjustments we need.
Please enjoy the rest of the summer. Have fun and stay safe. We will continue to keep everyone informed with regular communication in the weeks ahead.