On August 13 the government updated its safety guidelines for the start of the 2021-22 school year, stating that it will be a normal return to school with in-class learning for the majority of students. They also stated a shift from previous mandatory health measures to recommended health best practices.
What mandatory health measures will no longer be mandated by the government?
- wearing masks in school
- strict cohorting of students
- contact tracing to identify and isolate close contacts
- physical distancing measures
- any or all of these measures may continue to be required if a school experiences a COVID outbreak during the school year
What recommended health practices must continue in 2021-22?
- maintaining proper ventilation
- regular cleaning and disinfection of high traffic and high touch areas
- hand hygiene
- respiratory etiquette
- staying home when sick (Alberta Health Daily Checklist)
- school reporting to Alberta Health Services if they experience 10% absenteeism
Additional items of importance:
- COVID-19 vaccines will be made available in schools, like we already do as part of the routine school immunization program (parental consent required)
- Masks will be required on all public transportation including school busses
- Students and staff may choose to wear a mask during the school day
- The 2021-2022 School Year Plan also includes two contingency scenarios, should the COVID-19 situation change. These contingencies are similar to those implemented in the 2020-2021 school year.
- The implementation of this provincial plan is subject to change with direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health who will continue to monitor the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic
- For further details, please see the following government of Alberta documents:
2021-2022 School Year Plan
Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools
Parent letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Health
Parent Guide 2021-22 School Year
Vaccination continues to be an effective means of protecting Albertans from COVID 19, and it is an important part of ensuring our schools can safely return to normal. This is why, before the school year begins, we encourage all eligible teachers, staff, students, parents and guardians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
School authorities continue to have the ability, based on local context, to implement measures that exceed the above provincial guidance. This could include a return to physical distancing, cohorting or masking requirements. The Wild Rose School Division Board of Trustees will be discussing this possibility at our August 24 public Board meeting. Prior to making this decision, the Board is welcoming input from all stakeholders. Please use the following link to provide your feedback.
Student and staff safety will continue to be the top priority of Wild Rose School Division in 2021-22. We look forward to the start of the school year and are asking everyone involved with our schools to help us keep our schools safe and open for in-school learning.