Clearview release FAQ about school re-entry
Clearview School Division Release August 11, 2020 @ 8:50 PM
A note to our families: While we are looking forward to seeing our students face to face, we are committed to doing so safely.
The answers to the frequently asked questions below are based on what we know today. On July 21, the Alberta government announced that we will re-enter in Scenario 1 this fall. It is important to note that between this date and the beginning of the school year we may receive different directions from the government.
Scenario 1: Return to near-normal operations and routines in schools, with additional health restrictions implemented
Scenario 2: Schools are open for classes, with some health restrictions that affect operations (i.e. 2m of physical distancing (wherever possible), not all students attending in-class sessions at the same time)
Scenario 3: In-person classes remain cancelled and students continue to learn from home
Q: Who decides which scenario we will re-enter school in? A: The Alberta government has made the decision to re-enter in Scenario 1 and will continue to make all future decisions about which scenario is to be applied in Alberta schools. In the coming weeks they may issue new directions with respect to public health measures or programming and this may change the answers below prior to school starting again in the fall. If the rate of infection increases in our region, Scenario 2 or Scenario 3 may be implemented with little notice. As always, we will do our best to keep you up to date with their direction and its impact on our school re-entry planning. Q: How long will my child's school day be? A: Your child’s school day should be similar to school days prior to COVID-19. We are returning to school to near-normal which means school hours remain the same with all subjects being taught. Q: What about Start Right Preschool? A: During both scenario 1 and 2 Start Right will continue to operate with health measures in place. Masks will be optional. Q: Will my child or staff be required to wear a mask? A: Yes. As of August 4, 2020 masks are mandatory for all students and all staff in Grades 4 - 12. For students in Start Right to Grade 3, masks are optional. If parents would like their child to wear a mask we will respect and honour that decision. Masks are mandatory for all students on the buses Grades 4 -12. Q: Will my child or staff be required to wear a mask all day? A: Masks will be required when students are in common areas such as in the hallways, and school buses, or when teachers and students are working closely together. If students or teachers are interacting in a way that involves them working close together then mask-wearing is expected. Also if teachers are at the front of the classroom and students are sitting quietly at their desks then masks may not be needed. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs. Q: Will my elementary-aged child get recess? A: Yes. Students will have a chance to play outside with their classmates. Recesses may be staggered so that fewer children are on the playground and class sets of play equipment will be provided. Low contact games and activities that support reasonable distancing will be encouraged. Q: What about options and "fun" classes? A: Almost all classes will operate in Scenario 1. School and division leaders will be working with teachers of classes such as, but not limited to, Foods, Fashion, Physical Education and Music, in order to safely continue these programs for students.
Learning experiences involving unprotected (without a mask or physical barrier) in-person singing, cheering or shouting or playing wind instruments will be postponed at this time. Preference for participation in physical education will be for those activities that allow students to use their own equipment and those that do not encourage physical contact (for example individual skills, running, yoga). Alberta Education is working with Alberta Health and education partners, including the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association, to explore future possibilities for athletic activities and events within the context of health measures being in place. Q: Who will do the enhanced cleaning? A: Custodial staff will be engaged in deep cleaning. Daytime custodians will be cleaning “high touch” surfaces (doorknobs and so on) and common spaces (bathrooms) frequently throughout the day.
Cohorting (see next question) is being done in elementary and, for the most part, in middle school. This, coupled with strictly limiting the sharing of space and materials, will reduce the need for frequent cleaning of student workspaces. That said, students (where age-appropriate) and staff will do their part to clean their personal workspaces. Q: What is a cohort? A: The risk of transmission of COVID-19 is reduced by limiting exposure to others. Contact tracing is also more feasible when groups (cohorts) are maintained. It is recommended, where possible, that students be cohorted by grade.
A cohort is defined as a group of students and staff who remain together. The size of the cohort will depend on the physical space of the classroom or learning setting. Although schools will do their best to adhere to the classroom cohort most of the time, students will find themselves in more than one cohort. For example, an elementary student will be in their class cohort, bus cohort, recess cohort and even a small group cohort within their classroom. Cohorting will decrease the number of close contacts a case of COVID-19 would have in a school and assist public health officials in their efforts to trace contacts and contain an outbreak.
For the purposes of contact tracing, schools are considering limiting the capacity of rooms to a number that allows for physical distancing (i.e. less students in a smaller room and more students in a larger room). Q: Will you cohort high school students? A: Cohorting high school students is complex but high schools are currently working to create cohorts to minimize contact with others. Schools will aim to minimize the number of different instructors who interact with students throughout the day. High Schools may schedule breaks to avoid crowding hallways. Lunch breaks will be staggered as well. Students in 30 level courses will be able to write diploma exams in November, January, April and June. Q: Will my child be required to sit at their desk all day? A: "Near normal" return to school means students will be able to move around their classrooms and work with their classmates. Our staff will make every effort to maintain physical distancing when reasonable to do so. Part of why classes are being kept together as much as possible is to create (within the school day) a “cohort” where students and staff can work together in as normal a way as possible. Q: What about hallways and transitions? A: Schools will have set procedures to limit the number of transitions and the number of students out and about in the halls at any given time. However, measures like assigned entry doors for classes or grades and the use of directional arrows (not unlike what we see in commercial spaces) will help us meet the guidelines of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Schools are examining locker practices in their building. Q: Will transportation still be provided? A: Yes. All buses will have seating plans with siblings sitting together where possible. Assigned seating will allow for as much space as possible between students and buses will load back to front on the way to school. Drivers will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Staff and students in Grade 4 -12 will be required to wear masks on the bus. Bus drivers will be disinfecting the buses after each run and will be focussing on high touch areas.
These measures will allow us to provide appropriate contact tracing if someone tests positive for COVID-19 and has used school bus transportation. For more information on transportation operations in a COVID-19 environment, please watch for Clearview Bussing Regulations coming out soon. Q: What is required before I send my child to school? A: A COVID-19 checklist will be provided to all families. If you can answer no to all the questions on the COVID-19 checklist, you may send your child to school. This checklist is not to be submitted daily. We trust that each member of the school community will honour the need for this new morning routine. Q: What if someone gets sick at school? A: Anyone who develops symptoms while on the school bus or while at school will be required to wear a mask immediately. They will be, as directed by Alberta's Medical Officer of Health, directed to an isolation space and their parents/guardians will be contacted for immediate pick-up.
The family of the child or the staff member will be encouraged to access COVID-19 testing by accessing the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Online Testing tool. Students will be permitted to return to school if they either: no longer have symptoms and confirm a negative COVID-19 test, or they no longer have symptoms and have been isolated for ten (10) days. AHS Covid Testing Information
If your child has a known, pre-existing condition that causes COVD-19 symptoms, they should be tested to confirm that COVID-19 is not the cause of the symptoms and to establish a baseline for staff.
Should two or more members of a cohort develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we will initiate the “Outbreak Notification Procedure” that will be provided by Alberta Health Services prior to the beginning of the school year. Q: What if someone tests positive for COVID-19? How will parents be notified? A: If a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, Alberta's contact tracing process will be initiated, and the school will be contacted.
You are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have tested positive for COVID-19. The isolation period is for 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve.
The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to quickly:
identify close contacts
create isolation measures when needed
The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to provide follow-up recommendations.
A COVID-19 case will not automatically lead to school closure. It could be that only the group of students and staff who came in close contact will be required to stay home following guidelines from Alberta Health Services.
Parents will be notified if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at school and public health officials will contact those who were in close contact with the person.
We will support students and staff to learn or work at home if they are required to self-isolate. If an individual who has tested positive comes to school (or was sent to school) we would soon become aware through the contact tracing process. In this case, we are obligated to notify Alberta Health Services and they would issue consequences as supported by regulation. Q: What happens if someone in a household is exhibiting symptoms? A: Where a member of the home is exhibiting symptoms, the family would use the Alberta Health Services online test to see if the adult or student should be tested. If no one else has symptoms, then the adult or student would be physically isolated as best possible in the home. Other students or staff in the same home can attend school if no symptoms are present and isolation is occurring until the COVID-19 results are in. Q: Will parents and volunteers be permitted in schools? A: In order to minimize risks, parents and volunteers are not permitted in schools unless by appointment. However, we are optimistic that we will find ways to work with parents volunteers later in the school year. If attending an appointment at the school, visitors are asked to call the school on arrival, wait in their vehicle and they will be admitted by a member of the staff. All visitors will be required to complete the self-screening tool which will be posted on the school door and will be expected to wear a mask. If a visitor answers YES to any of the questions, the individual will not be admitted into the school.
A record of all visitors who remain within the school for more than five minutes must be recorded in the school’s visitor log book. Preschool and Kindergarten families will be invited to come to the school to meet their teacher and see their classroom prior to the beginning of the school year. Once the school year begins, parents and guardians will not be permitted to enter schools at drop off and pick-up. Parents are welcome to walk their children to outside doors if they respect physical distancing. Q: What will be done for students who don't attend in-person classes? A: We believe that having students learn in school is always the best, but recognize there is uncertainty for some of our families as we move closer to September. An “at-home” learning approach will be offered to students in grades K-12 for the 2020-2021 school year only. This approach is offered to families who are not comfortable returning to in-person classes at this time. It will involve a combination of online instruction and independent work which requires a significant commitment from both students and parents. It will not provide the same learning opportunities or support as in-person learning (eg. science labs, immediate access to teacher support, social interaction with other children, etc.). Unlike the emergency pandemic learning that took place in the spring of 2020, at-home learning will require students to participate full time in their learning and to meet all of the curricular outcomes and assessments in the Alberta Programs of Study.
Each school is committed to educating all of its students regardless of the choice of learning option. It will be important for schools to know the intention of each student so they can plan and staff appropriately. Q: What learning options are available for fall 2020? A: We are looking forward to seeing the Clearview students in the fall but there are options for parents.
1. In-person learning - Scenario 1 - students attend every day with a teacher
2. At-Home Learning (remote/online) - Scenario 1 - students would receive daily remote/online learning with a teacher and at home parental support.
3. Homeschooling (Home Education) Scenario 1 - students would receive their education from their parents. The parents would be doing the planning, delivery and marking. Clearview will support parents if they are interested in homeschooling. Please see Alberta Education Guidelines for Home Education. Face to face is almost always better and we encourage families to consider attendance at school for the best learning experience.
Whatever your decision, we appreciate your patience as this will be a fluid and complicated school year. Our teachers care deeply about your children. We want them to succeed. We will do our very best and will regularly review our plan. Q: After school care? A: Some of our schools offer After School Care within the school. Each school that offers the program will be sharing its health and safety protocols in the fall. Q: How will my child be graded and what are expectations to complete assignments? A: Unlike when COVID-19 first emerged, we are not approaching this as an emergency. We are moving into a stage of schooling that is different, requires creativity, wisdom and care. Students and families, with our staff, will be asked to work together in order to achieve success. Students will be expected to complete assignments that demonstrate their learning of the curriculum.
High School: High school students who do not engage in a course of study will not succeed in that course. While the principal may assign credits (known as unassigned credit) to help a student to get the required number (100) of credits for graduation, they will not permit passing grades in required courses for students who do not complete course requirements. Not engaging at school and home will have an impact on grade progression and graduation.
Q: Will there be any changes to class sizes? A: In Alberta Education Scenario 1, all students will be returning to school. The class sizes will depend on the number of students who will be returning in-person. Schools have developed cohorting plans and classroom furniture arrangements to maximize the distance between students. Schools are also looking at using other rooms available to them to create optimal physical distancing situations.
At this time, there are no proposed changes to class sizes, in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Alberta Government and the Chief Medical Officer. Should scenario 2 be adopted class sizes may be adjusted. Q: How will hand washing and disinfecting be promoted and supported in the classroom? A: Teachers will educate students on appropriate hand and respiratory hygiene. In addition to some classroom sinks, hand sanitizer will be available at building and classroom entrances throughout the school. Hand hygiene will always be required including when entering and exiting the school and classrooms, and before and after eating. Students will be reminded of respiratory etiquette by staff and through the use of age-appropriate posters. Regular, enhanced, and as needed cleaning will be performed by custodial staff, as will monitoring to ensure all necessary supplies are available. Daytime custodians will disinfect contact surfaces and high contact areas. Where available, evening custodial staff will thoroughly clean needed areas. On non-student contact days, custodial staff will be doing a thorough cleaning.
Clearview will provide cleaning kits for each school that will include spray bottles with approved and properly mixed sanitizer/disinfectant and cloths. School staff will clean and disinfect shared equipment and surfaces between uses and as needed during the course of the school day. Cleaning by staff, other than custodians and other select support staff, will be limited to their own workspace or shared equipment that they have or are going to access. Q: What about field trips and extracurricular activities? A: For the most part, field trips (off-site activities) will not be permitted, as the direction from the government is to avoid activities that require bus transportation. Additionally, we are concerned about taking students to other environments away from the school building where we are taking steps to mitigate the spread of the virus.
We are awaiting direction and guidance from the Alberta government and from the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) with respect to extracurricular sports. To date, we believe that entire leagues will be limited to no more than 50 participants and that play will not be permitted outside our immediate zone. Once we receive this direction, the superintendents of the school divisions in our region will come together to discuss how/if extracurricular sports will proceed.
In the fall, Clearview facilities will be closed to usage by outside groups and extracurricular activities to minimize the risk of exposure for staff and students, and to assist our custodial staff with the change in cleaning. We have shifted many of our custodians from evening to day shifts to do frequent cleaning of the high touch areas in the schools. Q: Am I required to purchase school supplies for my child? A: Yes, students will receive a supply list from their school. Additional things to consider for the supply lists might include
Q: How will students with unique needs be supported? A: Clearview believes that all students will succeed. Schools will be working with families and students with unique needs to ensure they are supported. Each school will have a solution for the particular needs of the child and what will work best for all. Our Director of Inclusive Services will be supporting our schools towards ensuring plans are in place and developed in consultation with the family and respective teachers.
Students will be supported by their local school staff. If you have questions about support for your child please contact your school. Q: What support will be available for students and their mental health? A: The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in prolonged stress, loss of control, and unpredictability for students, parents, and staff. Upon re-entry to school we can predict students, parents and staff will experience higher levels of dysregulation and require mental health and psychosocial support.
Dr. Bruce Perry’s work around trauma and the R’s will be used as the framework for responding to students, parents, and staff’s mental health and psychosocial needs.
Regulate: Individuals must first be regulated before they are able to connect to others, learn new content, or engage in reasoning.
Relate: An individual is only able to connect and relate to another individual after they are regulated (in a calm state).
Reason: Once an individual is regulated and feels safe and connected to others, then they are able to reason and learn new content.
If you or your child need any mental health supports, our Family School Liaison staff will be available. Also, if you would like to access mental health resources, please use the Caring and Resilient Students (CARS) website.
When school begins in August, Clearview Public Schools will be ready to welcome students and help everyone move forward with their education.
Clearview Public Schools firstname.lastname@example.org 403-742-3331