Updated Return to School – Message to Parents and Guardians

  Posted: January 10, 2022

To all parents and guardians,

The Government of Alberta released the new guidance document for schools in the evening of  Friday January 7th, 2022. We appreciate the patience and understanding from all our school communities as we continue to respond to the changes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Updated guidelines for HFCRD schools:

Masks

  • Masks are required for grades 4-12 students, staff members and visitors while in indoor shared areas of the school, outside the classroom.
  • Masks are strongly recommended for grades 3 and below. 
  • For grades 4-12 students are strongly recommended at all times, however they are not required while students are working quietly and desks are arranged so students are not facing each other. If close contact between students, or students and staff is going to occur as a result of classroom activities, masks should be used for the duration of this activity.
  • In Phys Ed class, use of non-medical masks is required when students are not physically active.
  • Masks remain mandatory for all students, staff and visitors on a school bus.
  • Staff may remove their masks when alone at a workstation and separated by at least 2 meters from all other persons.
  • Medical masks will be provided by the Government of Alberta and will be distributed to families. When the medical masks are received from the government, your local school will communicate how they will be distributed.
  • Wearing the medical masks is encouraged. If non-medical masks are worn, they should be constructed of at least three layers and should fit appropriately. The three layers are recommended to include two cloth layers and one layer such as non-woven polypropylene.
  • Face shields are not equivalent to non-medical face masks and offer insufficient protection on their own. Other alternatives (ex. Neck gaiters, buffs or bandanas) offer less protection than masks and are therefore not recommended.
  • Persons seeking a mask exception at a school should discuss their request with the school administration.
  • Exceptions to the mask requirement for students in grades 4-12, staff and all visitors include:
    • Persons who are unable to place, use or remove a non-medical face mask without assistance;
    • Persons unable to wear a non-medical face mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
    • Persons consuming food or drink in designated areas;
    • Persons engaged in physical exercise;
    • Persons seated at a desk or table within a classroom or place where instruction is taking place and where the desks, tables and chairs are arranged in a manner to prevent persons who are seated from facing each other, and to allow the greatest possible distance between seated persons;
    • Persons providing or receiving care or assistance where a non-medical face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance, and
    • Persons separated from every other person by a physical barrier. 

Field Trips

  • Field trips where a class/cohort can be contained and there is no contact with anyone outside the class/cohort are allowed. 
  • Field trips where students interact with anyone outside their class/cohort are not allowed.
  • For further details, please refer to the Guidance for Schools (K-12) document page 8, 9.

 

Events and Sports

  • Spectators for school sports and events are not allowed at this time. 
  • Extracurricular activities, such as sports, are allowed at the discretion of each school. 
  • Students are permitted to participate in group physical activity as part of an education program curriculum (i.e., physical education class and sports academy classes may occur). Participants must continue to follow the school guidance regarding cohorting (kindergarten through grade 6), physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and use of non-medical masks when students are not physically active.
    • When possible, physical education should be done outside instead of inside as the risk of transmission is higher in indoor settings.
    • For physical education classes, administrators and teachers should, where possible, choose activities or sports that support physical distancing and limit face-to-face activities (e.g., badminton over wrestling).
  • Games between school teams are allowed only with other schools in Zone One. 

 

Cohorts

  • Grades K-6 will continue to cohort wherever possible. 

 

Daily Health Checklist

Before entering a school, all individuals must self-screen for symptoms using the daily health checklist provided by the Government of Alberta. If your child has symptoms, no matter how mild, please keep them home.

 

Rapid Tests

The Government of Alberta is providing rapid test kits for families. When schools receive the rapid tests, they will distribute them to families. Here is what to do with your rapid test results.

 

School Shifts to At-Home Learning

A shift to at-home learning can happen by class or by school and will be due to operational reasons, not due to an individual positive case. A 10-day shift reduces the need to have extensions to the length of shifts which results in uncertainty for students, parents and staff. This also aligns with the maximum isolation period. When or if a shift to at-home learning occurs, we will contact all parents and guardians affected as soon as possible.

 

Please continue to refer to official sources when looking for information:

If you or a member of your family has any of the symptoms of illness listed, please fill out the
online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811.

 

We thank our school communities for their support throughout this pandemic. Together we can slow the spread of COVID-19.