March 15, 2020
TO: Parents and Legal Guardians
RE: COVID-19 Update
With this communication, we wish to share some important information and provide direction regarding Clearview’s response to the epidemic. We are regularly checking for updates from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education. Please be advised that this situation is quite fluid and changes may occur at a rapid rate.
Along with the information below, I want to express my appreciation to all of our families for your cooperation. As adults who are looking after young people, it is critical that we remain calm and model resiliency during this chaotic time. Children will look to us and the adults in their life to ascertain whether they should panic or be reassured. As well, you have heightened anxiety, and you may have questions on decisions that are made at the provincial level.
Some parents believe Alberta should be following the lead of other provinces which are closing schools. Here are some of the reasons we are provided for why Alberta Health is not moving in that direction right away:
The cases in Alberta all relate to travel.
To be effective, school closures would need to be significantly longer than a couple of weeks.
About 75% of students in our province do not have a parent at home.
Closing schools does not stop students from interacting or gathering.
There would be a significant and deleterious impact on society through school closures.
The key strategy for mitigation of the pandemic is for anyone who is ill to stay at home. Alberta Health recommends a zero-tolerance for illness. A focus on hygiene and social distancing are also important strategies. Dr. Hinshaw has indicated that school closures, if implemented, would likely last from 8 to 12 weeks.
Many of the strategies identified below are to “flatten the curve”, so the stress on our health care system does not become overloaded.
Please be aware that we will be implementing the pandemic planning using the Hour Zero tool in our schools. As such, we would like to ensure legal guardians are informed of the following considerations while Clearview is addressing the COVID-19 situation in Alberta and our communities:
Ensure effective hand washing should be done regularly by all members of the household.
There are many resources on-line for correct hand washing procedures. Avoid touching the face where possible.
Any students exhibiting cold or flu symptoms during the school day will be isolated and legal guardians will be contacted to pick up the student.
The age of the child may allow the child to go home themselves with permission from the legal guardian.
Students that have symptoms are not able to be transported by school bus.
Legal guardians should call Health 811 for more support.
Legal guardians may need to keep the child at home for 14 days and follow isolation protocols.
At this time, if siblings are not exhibiting symptoms and the child with symptoms is isolated, siblings may still attend school but will be monitored.
When a child is being isolated at home, teachers will ensure that communication with the legal guardian is occuring, and homework will be assigned as possible to allow the learning with the student to continue as best possible.
Clearview has implemented enhanced cleaning standards for our transportation and custodial operations. Responsibilities will be to focus on high risk/high touch surfaces.
Field trips (curricular and extracurricular) trips will be minimized or rescheduled.
Where substitute teachers are not available, schools may consolidate classes or have education assistants monitor classes with teacher/principal monitoring.
If schools are not able to have adequate supervision of students using available teachers and support staff, information will be shared with legal guardians on next actions.
If you and/or your child are traveling outside of Alberta, it may be recommended to self-isolate for 14 days even if you are not exhibiting symptoms.
Please contact Health 811 for more information.
For more information, please see: COVID-19 coronavirus info for Albertans
Thank you for your support and cooperation during this challenging time. We are acting in the best interest of our students and staff. We will continue to communicate as this situation unfolds.
Peter Barron, Superintendent