August 7 Update

Construction continues in the Learning Commons and other areas in preparation for the new school year. 

Good afternoon Connect parents:

As we prepare to welcome students back to Connect beginning on August 20th, we understand that there are questions and concerns about the safety procedures and measures being taken to ensure our staff and students remain healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In developing our re-entry plan we have adhered to the directives and guidelines provided by Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education. In addition, we have consulted with health care experts to address areas of concern specific to Connect.  We have also collected feedback from parents and staff about the re-entry plan. One clear fact that repeatedly emerges from this process is that the divergent viewpoints on re-entry and safety precautions will be ever present and there will never be a plan that completely aligns with the values, beliefs, and philosophies of individuals and families. In the coming days you will be asked to make some important decisions about your child’s education for the 2020-2021 school year. This update has information that will assist you in making those decisions. 

 

Parent Webinar: Tuesday, August 11, 4 pm 

As a further opportunity to address your questions, we will be hosting a Zoom webinar for parents on Tuesday August 11th at 4pm. The link will be sent out by email on Monday.

e-Learning:

*Registration deadline: 5 pm, Thursday August 13, 2020*

We have previously stated our commitment to provide an online learning alternative during the pandemic for students who may have extenuating circumstances that make it impractical or unsafe for them to attend school in person. Our new KeeBo online learning program will be available beginning August 31st. Please view the program overview at www.connectcharter.ca/keebo. KeeBo will consist of a combination of online (synchronous) sessions with a teacher, asynchronous support sessions, and independent work. Due to the nature of the program, registering for KeeBo requires a minimum commitment for the duration of Term 1 until the end of November. It is not possible for a student to transfer from in-school learning to KeeBo or vice versa in mid term.  A google form to register for KeeBo will be sent to all parents in a separate email. 

Busing:

*Deadline to register or withdraw from busing is 5pm on Thursday August 13th. Email [email protected].*

Safety protocols – There will be several new procedures in place for students riding school buses this year.

  • Connect will be providing hand sanitizing stations inside the bus door and all students will be required to sanitize upon entering;
  • Masks are mandatory at all times while on the bus. The consumption of food and beverages will not be permitted as this would require removal of the mask in close proximity to others;
  • Students will be seated according to a plan whereby those who are picked up first will proceed to the back of the bus and the seats will be occupied from back to front as each stop is reached;
  • Siblings will be required to sit together. Depending on the number of riders, non-siblings may need to share a seat and in exceptional circumstances students may need to sit three to a seat. 
  • A seating plan will be in place for each bus route. There will be no provision for students to switch buses to visit friends or change their pick up / drop off stops;
  • Staff members will be present as buses arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. Any reports from drivers of students not complying with these expectations will be dealt with by school administration and may result in suspension of bus privileges.
The deadline to register or withdraw from busing is 5pm on Thursday August 13th. Once you have signed up for busing, you are committed to this until at least the end of Term 1 in November. Connect will not provide any prorated reimbursement for busing during this period. This will provide stability for all participants. After the first term, you will have the option to remain or withdraw from busing (minus the $100 administrative fee if you choose to withdraw) for the remainder of the school year. This change applies to everyone assuming we are in Scenario 1 (nearly normal daily operations with health measures) or Scenario 2 (in-school classes partially resume with additional health measures).
We appreciate your understanding as we strive to provide the same dependable busing service as in past years.
– Chris Gilmour, Superintendent

Masks

Due to the limited space in classrooms, masks will be mandatory for all students and staff in all indoor spaces. Students will be provided with one mask provided by the school (complete with school logo) and another provided by Alberta Education. Students may remove masks while outside during physical activity or when physical distancing of 2 metres or more is possible. Students who require an exemption from wearing a mask must provide a doctor’s note explaining the reason. Parents will be contacted and may be required to pick up students who refuse to wear a mask.

Parent Survey:

Results from the Parent Survey are posted here

During the Parent Webinar on August 11, we will have a brief discussion of the survey and how it has informed our re-entry planning. Please note:

  • All public schools in the province of Alberta are required to follow the directives and guidelines from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education on a Scenario 1 return to school. Within the guidelines set out by AHS and Alberta Education, schools and jurisdictions create individual re-entry plans with an e-learning option for students who are unable to attend in-person.  Any potential move to a Scenario 2 (hybrid learning model), or Scenario 3 (a return to full e-learning) would be directed by AHS and Alberta Education, not individual schools or jurisdictions.
  • As communicated to parents in June, all fall camps are cancelled. The Alberta government’s K to 12 school re-entry plan states: “To align with physical distancing, field trips and activities requiring group transportation should be postponed at this time.” This directive does not impact outdoor learning spaces on campus or within our walk zone. 

In the words of a health care professional who helped guide our planning, “one of the most important things we can do during the pandemic is to look out for each other”. Doing so means wearing masks to protect ourselves and others, practicing frequent and thorough hand hygiene, trying to maintain 2 metres of physical distancing, adhering to the requirement to accurately complete the screening tool every morning before leaving for school, and staying home and getting a COVID-19 test when even mildly ill. Anxiety around re-entry is normal and will hopefully dissipate over time as we grow accustomed to new realities. Thank you to all of you for your support and the confidence you have shown in Connect Charter School. Let the year begin…

Phil Butterfield

Principal