School Re-entry Update 1
I want to start by saying that I am extremely proud of our students and families as we have navigated through these challenging times over the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I want to thank our families for supporting Red Deer Public and our schools. There has never been a higher level of cooperation and teamwork between families and schools. The saying ‘We’re in this together’ continues to ring true. We certainly appreciate your patience, understanding and willingness as we have transitioned to at-home learning following the government’s decision to temporarily close schools on March 15.
It’s been a while since I’ve touched base, and I’m sure you have a number of questions. I want you to know that there is much work taking place behind the scenes as we are currently planning for what the 2020/2021 school year might look like for our students, families and staff.
In a few weeks’ time we will be sending a survey out to all of our families in which we will be looking for feedback and intentions in terms of what the fall could look like for you based on the potential scenarios we are planning for.
The Alberta Government has indicated the reopening of schools will be in Phase 2 of the overall relaunch. Earlier this month the government outlined three possible scenarios, which could exist by September including:
- Normal school operations are able to resume
- Schools are partially reopened, with some level of restrictions
- Teacher-directed at-home learning continues
Our priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. It is important to note that any return to school will be done under the guidance and direction from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Alberta Education. In the meantime, we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
If we proceed with Scenario 1, we realize there may be a small percentage of our students and families who don’t feel comfortable returning for various reasons or who aren’t able to return due to health concerns.
If we move to Scenario 2, there is much to consider including:
- Bussing of students (in light of the two metre social distancing regulation this will result in the transportation of 11-12 students at one time)
- The possibility of staggering classroom entry and instruction so social distancing can be maintained (for example, this may be done by splitting classrooms up into Day 1 and Day 2 groups)
- Examining rules and new procedures for the use of technology and manipulatives
- Protocols around sick staff and students and those who become ill during school hours
- Enhanced cleaning procedures
- Protocols around the use of (or non use of) PPE materials
- Social/emotional supports for staff, students and families
If the Government decides to continue with Scenario 3, we also need to consider:
- Increased time expectations for students in regard to their coursework
- Requirements for students to pass their courses
- Refining of practices over the past three months to maximize learning
The Senior Administration team at Red Deer Public Schools is working in collaboration with the Alberta School Boards Association, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, Alberta Health and neighbouring school jurisdictions to come up with the best approach to the three scenarios that we have before us. I want to reinforce that any decisions that are made will be under the guidance and direction from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Alberta Education.
As I mentioned earlier, in a few weeks’ time, you will receive a survey in regard to your intentions for the fall for your child and family depending on which scenario we are facing together.
We appreciate your support, patience and understanding as we move forward with our plans for re-entry and the 2020/2021 school year.
On behalf of staff across Red Deer Public Schools, please know that we are thinking about you and your children. We miss having them in classes and we can’t wait to see them in our schools again in the near future.
Superintendent of Schools