Red Deer Public School Division

Board to make decision on school re-entry this week

After three hours of review of Red Deer Public’s Re-Entry, Recovery and Resurgence Plan, the Board of Trustees will now finalize their decision on school re-entry on Thursday, August 19 when they have their Back to School Retreat.

On Tuesday, August 17, Trustees reviewed a comprehensive plan for Re-entry, which focuses on health guidelines; Recovery, focusing on academic supports to close learning gaps due to the pandemic over the past school year; and Resurgence to address mental health supports, which includes looking after each other.

Last week, the Alberta Government announced its 2021/2022 School Year Plan Update, which opened up health restrictions. Red Deer Public initiated two extensive public engagement processes - one with our staff and one with our parents. This resulted in nearly 2,000 thoughts and perspectives from parents and staff being shared regarding a safe return to school.

The common perspectives heard from the participants in our community engagement process include:

  • Quality teaching and learning as a priority
  • Staying home when sick
  • Enhanced cleaning
  • Diverse perspectives on masking

“Over the past five days, we have heard from our parents and staff through our engagement process, which allowed us an opportunity to hear diverse opinions and perspectives regarding a safe return to school. We are also mindful and influenced by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Education School Year Plan Update, earlier plans we have followed, as well as all of our experiences over the last 18 months,” said Nicole Buchanan, Board Chair. “These perspectives show the challenges in making decisions, given divided perspectives, but all of these are important in informing, and are certainly helping us shape our plans for a successful start to the school year as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“While these are challenging decisions for the Board, our focus continues to be on what is best for teaching and learning for our students and staff,” said Buchanan. “While we will be making decisions based on current circumstances, we will continue to monitor and be responsive, when needed, as the school year progresses and if conditions change. Ultimately, we are preparing and looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to school on September 1 for what we expect will be a great year of teaching and learning.”