Thu, 6 Jan, 2022
Yesterday, the provincial government announced that in-person learning will resume on Monday, January 10. Division staff have spent this week preparing to welcome students back with additional health and safety measures in place. Here is what families can expect as both in-person and online students return to school.
In addition to the strategies that we’ve already been using, we also plan to distribute medical masks and rapid test kits to students and staff.
As outlined in our 2021-22 Back to School Plan, students and staff are required to wear masks while in schools. Medical-grade masks offer improved protection when compared with many other types of masks, and we encourage you to consider this when choosing a mask for your child.
The province has announced that they plan to initially supply each student and staff member with:
We expect to receive the initial shipment of masks and test kits from the provincial government next week, and we’ll distribute them to schools as quickly as possible.
Our yellow school bus carriers have told us to expect yellow bus service delays in the coming weeks because of potential driver absences. Student Transportation is working closely with carriers to minimize disruptions, report delays when they occur and provide updated information to schools about the routes affected.
We encourage you to check Where’s My Bus? in SchoolZone every day for the most up-to-date information about bus delays. We know these delays are disruptive for families, and we appreciate your patience and understanding. If your child’s bus is significantly delayed, we encourage you to drive your child, if possible.
It’s important to keep your child home if they have any symptoms. Continue to screen for illness using the daily COVID-19 checklist and follow provincial isolation requirements. If your child develops symptoms at school, we’ll contact you to pick up your child immediately.
The province recently made changes to who is eligible for testing. Visit Alberta Health Service’s COVID-19 testing and online booking page for more information.
If your child tests positive for COVID-19, we encourage you to let your school know so that staff can track student absence rates accurately. This helps us recognize if a particular grade or class needs to shift to online learning.
Schools will continue to notify families when Alberta Health Services confirms a positive case of COVID-19 within a school while infectious. However, since the province is moving away from offering PCR tests to Albertans and encouraging families to use rapid tests, we expect most positive cases will no longer be confirmed by AHS to the Division. This means families will no longer be notified about most cases in schools.
We are awaiting more information from the province about their process for COVID-19 cases in schools, and expect that the way we publicly report COVID-19 cases on epsb.ca will also change.
Shifting a class or grade online: If a class or grade needs to shift online, we are well-prepared to support this and will do our best to minimize interruptions to learning. We expect that high case numbers in the community means some classes or grades will temporarily shift online. Student absences and staffing levels will help inform our decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Shifting a school online: If a school needs to shift online, we will work with the province to support students and families. The provincial government decides if an entire school or school division needs to shift online.
The province announced last week that January diploma exams have been cancelled. A decision will be made about April and June diploma exams at a later date.
The deadline to choose how your child will learn for the second half of the school year is approaching. The second half of the year is from February 1 to June 28, 2022. Sign in to SchoolZone by 4 p.m. on January 11 to make your selection.
With our Division’s safety strategies, the distribution of medical masks and rapid test kits, and rising vaccination rates among students, we look forward to welcoming as many students as possible back for the second half of the school year.