Updated health measures in Red Deer Public Schools
Following the provincial government’s new health restrictions announced on Wednesday, September 15, and a Special Board Meeting held on Thursday, September 16, Red Deer Public Schools will be adjusting health measures in our Division. These measures will take effect on Monday, September 20, 2021.
For students in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3, masking is optional. Masking is mandatory for students in Grades 4-12, and for staff in all classrooms. For those students required to wear masks, they will be able to remove them if they are sitting in their desks while facing forward, spaced to the greatest extent possible, and not interacting with other students.
Masking is still required for all students taking the school bus, or using public transportation.
We recognize that some students have challenges with wearing a mask, and we want to work with our families. There are processes in place to apply for a mask exemption in accordance with Alberta Health Services’ CMOH Order 40-2021. If your child is unable to wear a mask, we ask you to work with your school administration and follow the process for an exemption if you have not already done so.
All elementary schools (Kindergarten to Grade 5) will maintain class cohorting.
Reporting student absences
One of the safety measures that school divisions have been asked to implement as a response to COVID-19 is to monitor our absence rates. We have been directed to call Alberta Health Services when our absenteeism due to illness exceeds 10% of the school population. Our current system of attendance codes does not allow us to easily distinguish between different types of verified absences. For example, an absence for a family vacation is recorded the same way that an absence for an illness is. Starting on Monday, parents will see the following new absence codes in PowerSchool (V-I) will indicate that the student has been verified from school due to illness. (V-O) will indicate that the student has been verified away from school for any other reason besides illness. In an effort to support us in identifying potential outbreaks in our schools, when calling or emailing your child's school to verify an absence, please stipulate if the absence is for one of these two reasons - (1) COVID like symptoms or (2) Any other verified absence.
Physical activity in schools
Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain two-metre physical distancing during a physical activity such as physical education. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities and indoor sports/performance/recreation/special interests are permitted with requirements for two-metre physical distancing, where possible.
Children’s sport/performance/recreation activities
Indoor activities are permitted, with requirements for two-metre physical distancing and masking where possible, and symptom screening for participants. Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain physical distancing during a physical activity, such as a team sport. There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
Spectator attendance is restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity, and attendees are limited to a single household or two close contacts if living alone. Spectators must be masked and maintain two-metre physical distancing. Some of our schools may have to limit spectators to be compliant with physical distancing guidelines. Schools will communicate attendance rules directly with their school community.
Alberta Health continues to develop health orders around these guidelines and they will be subject to change based on recommendations made by the Chief Medical Officer.
Red Deer Public Schools will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in our community, as well as throughout the province. Vaccination remains an effective means of protecting Albertans from COVID-19, and it is an important part of ensuring our schools can safely return to normal.
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together. We will continue to provide quality teaching and learning, while prioritizing the health and wellness of our students and staff.