As per the Alberta Government’s announcement on August 13, 2021 regarding a normal school re-entry, this correspondence provides a summary of what re-entry will look like. The Peace River School Division (PRSD) is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students, and we thank our students, parents, staff and school communities for their patience and support as we start the new school year.
PRSD schools and facilities will continue to provide hand sanitizer, clean each school two times per week with an electrostatic fogging machine, maintain enhanced cleaning measures, and have masks available on PRSD school buses, at schools and all PRSD facilities. PRSD will maintain protocols regarding the response to students, staff and visitors who become symptomatic at school, and work with students and staff to promote ongoing hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Cohorting, physical distancing and masking in schools are no longer required; however, should there be a respiratory illness outbreak at a school, some of these measures may be put in place for a short duration of time. Furthermore, school principals have been granted authority to cohort and physically distance students at various times throughout the year as they feel necessary and practical in their local context. Principals will also ensure support for those staff and students who wish to wear masks for their protection during the school day.
All parents are required to screen their child for symptoms each day prior to their child attending school by using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist. Staff, parents and visitors are also required to screen for symptoms before attending any PRSD school or facility by using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist. If you or your child(ren) are not feeling well, please do not attend the school or PRSD facility.
Please be aware that the Peace River School Division (PRSD) will follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Alberta Education School Re-entry Plan. View the 2021-2022 Alberta Education School Year Plan here. The plan, along with other helpful COVID-19 Response information, is posted on our website at prsd.ab.ca under “COVID-19 Response.”
● Masks are mandatory for all students and all staff while riding the school bus. This will be re-assessed by the government on or before September 27, 2021.
● Masks are no longer required in schools but will be supported should students, staff and visitors choose to wear a mask.
● Masks may be recommended for a short period of time if there is a respiratory illness outbreak in a school.
● Masks will be worn by students, staff and anyone attending to those who have developed respiratory illness symptoms while at school.
● Cohorting is not required for the 2021-2022 school year. Cohorting may be recommended for a short period if there is a respiratory illness outbreak in a school, and principals have the discretion to establish cohorts from time to time as they deem necessary and practical to enhance the safety of students and staff.
● Physical Distancing is no longer required; however, those who wish to keep more space between themselves and others in certain situations will be supported in doing so. Principals have the discretion to establish physical distancing from time to time as they deem necessary and practical to enhance the safety of students and staff.
● School activities will resume as normal. School activities include but are not limited to: celebrations, assemblies, field trips, sporting events and competitions, performances, Christmas concerts, and graduation and commencement ceremonies. Students will have regular access to the library, physical education and music classes (including singing).
● Staggered recess times and cohorts during recess is no longer required. Schools will resume regular recess times and routines to ensure the focus on instructional time returns to normal to ensure student are best prepared for academic success throughout the school year.
Parent and visitor access to schools
● Parents and visitors will be able to visit the school without making prior arrangements. All parents and visitors to the school must screen for symptoms as per the Alberta Health Daily Checklist prior to attending the school and must follow the school’s sign-in procedures.
● Interschool busing services will resume at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
● Due to the nature of interschool busing, sanitizing during interschool busing is not possible (all school buses are thoroughly sanitized after the morning and afternoon runs).
Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams
● The administration of Provincial Achievement Tests will resume and be mandatory as per normal practice.
● The administration of Diploma Exams will resume and be mandatory as per normal practice. ● Principals will ensure the focus on instructional time returns to normal to best position students and staff for academic success in all subject areas, and to support enhanced performance on Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams.
Vaccination clinics in PRSD schools
● School principals will work with AHS to offer vaccination clinics in schools.
● Students aged 12 and older are eligible to receive the vaccination at school with the written consent of their parent or guardian.
● More information regarding vaccinations at schools will be provided to parents by their local school as the information is available.
Isolation and quarantine
● Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are required by the AHS to isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started, or until their symptoms have improved, whichever is longer.
● AHS is no longer identifying or following up with individual close contacts, and quarantine for close contacts is no longer required.
● All Albertans, including those who may be told that they are close contact, are asked to monitor for symptoms and stay home and get tested if they are feeling unwell.
● AHS will continue to manage outbreaks of respiratory illnesses in school settings, similar to the management of influenza or influenza-like illness.
Virtual Education and Home Education options
● PRSD offers virtual education programming for students in grades 1-12 led by dedicated and skilled virtual education teachers, support staff and PRSD’s District Principal. Learn more here
● PRSD offers both teacher and parent-directed home education programming that is supported by PRSD’s Home Education Coordinator and support staff. Learn more here
Should the nature of the pandemic change, the PRSD will follow guidance from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education. Alberta Education has developed contingency plans for schools to follow should things change and these plans are outlined in the Alberta Education 2021-2022 School Year Plan. Please note that any changes will be communicated to parents in a timely manner. Thank you again for your support, patience and understanding. We look forward to a safe and exciting new school year.