In March our worlds were rocked. The decision to send 3/4 of a million students home in Alberta in March, was a tough one – and crisis schooling began. Following extensive consultant with school boards, Alberta’s K-12 education will open for in-school teaching in September and children will be able to return to school. Protocols will be adjusted as required, but as children are at a low risk of infection and severe infections of COVID19, the choice has been made to return to a full-time, new-normal for September 2020.
Dr. Hinshaw stated it ‘there is no risk free approach to living with COVID19’. We still need to take the virus seriously, as we’ll likely see spread in schools in the fall but there are plans in place to mitigate the risks.
School will return in September 2020
According to today’s presser, schools can be operated safely, with low risk, ensuring safety protocols are in place. We’re living in a new normal, and we need to find the best ways to protect the health of students, staff, family and communities.
The plan for re-entry includes the government providing the guidance for the return to school, and on the school board level to make changes like hiring additional custodians, changing from touch taps to touchless taps, using one way flow for foot traffic, staggering class change time, and swapping out water fountains for bottle fill up, and establishing zones in the school.
There will be no limits on class sizes.
What will the school day look like?
- Students will be grouped in Cohorts to limit exposure
- Sanitize when entering the school and classroom and at checkpoints throughout the day
- Increased surface cleaning in school and buses
- Daily self assessment and stay home if ill
- Students/teachers may choose to wear a mask
- School days planned to allow for physical distancing
- If a student shows symptoms at school, they will be separated from others and parents will be asked to pick up their child immediately
To learn more parents and students can access resources at www.alberta.ca/returntoschool
What happens if there is an outbreak? A public health team will investigate to minimize transitioning and perform contact tracing. Parents will be notified if a case is within the school and public health officials will contact if there is a risk. In the case there is an outbreak, the decision will be made to transition to partial online, or full online programming.
The fact is, there are massive social and economic impact of keeping schools indefinitely and keeping children out of school is more harmful than keeping them home. We are part of the 86% of parents who answered the survey that children should return to school, safely, and that in class learning is in the best interest of all students.
The best way to start the school year in the fall is to start with low local cases. Wear a mask, friends. Slow the rise in cases. Physical distance, and make sure we’re taking actions to stop the spread.