August 18 Update

Our school staff and admin team meeting at school this week. 

Good afternoon Connect parents;

As our staggered entry dates edge ever closer, there are several details regarding school re-entry and procedures that you need to take into consideration. Many of these have been covered in previous updates but are revisited again here as there has been a tremendous amount of information shared with you lately. Please take time to review this update with your child and discuss how school might be different but still engaging.

Daily Screening

The Daily Screening Tool MUST be completed for each child prior to leaving home every school day. The office will be alerted if questions have been missed or a screen was not submitted. In those instances, the child will be placed in a controlled space and parents will be contacted. Each student’s personalized screening link will be sent out on Wednesday.

Designated entrances/exits

Streamlining foot traffic in and out of the school has led us to designate specific entrance/exit points for each grade. Students will only use the access door designated for their grade. All doors are clearly marked with the grade for that access point. The designated entrance/exits are:

Grade 4: Staff entrance off the parking lot

Grade 5/6 Northeast doors at the end of the grade 5 hallway

Grade 7 Main entrance through IAC

Grade 8: Playground doors on the west side of the school

Grade 9 Northwest doors at end of grade 8 hallway

Drop off zones

A decrease in the number of students taking school buses will correlate to an increase in those being dropped off and picked up each day. The area along Lewis Dr. in front of the school is a bus zone and must be kept clear of cars. The designated drop off/pick up zone is along the east side of 34th St. adjacent to the playground. We will monitor the volume of cars and congestion to determine if adjustments are necessary. Please be courteous of our neighbours and avoid blocking driveways.

Email contact by homeroom teachers

More than most years, we are aware of the anxiety and apprehension with which students and parents may be approaching the coming school year. In an effort to alleviate some of the uncertainty, homeroom teachers will be emailing their students tomorrow afternoon. The email will provide an overview of what the staggered entry day will look like and will cover details such as where to meet outside the school that morning:

  • Grade 4 – basketball court August 24
  • Grade 5 – basketball court August 21
  • Grade 6 – reflection grove field area August 21
  • Grade 7 – soccer field closest to the staff parking lot August 20 
  • Grade 8 – basketball court August 20
  • Grade 9 – reflection grove field area August 20

A reminder: Classes have been developed with cohorting as the main priority in case we need to switch to a different learning scenario on very short notice. Please do not contact teachers regarding class placements.

Parent access to school

Due to the requirement to limit the contact between people in the school, parents will not have access as in the past. If you need to pick up a child for an appointment, contact the office; your child will be notified and will meet you at the front entrance. 

If you have been called by the school to pick up your child because they are symptomatic, you will be met by a staff member at the west (playground) entrance and your child will be in a nearby isolation infirmary so you can exit the school quickly and directly.

Meetings with teachers or school administration will take place through Zoom for the foreseeable future.

Masks

As previously mentioned, all students and staff will be required to wear a non-medical mask while inside the school, including classrooms. Students may remove masks when outside, provided the activity in which they are engaged includes two metres of distance. 

Due to the nature of masks and the possibility of contamination, each student should have 3 to 4 clean masks with them each day. Washable masks that are removed should be placed in a reusable bag or container. The school will be providing each student with a clear plastic pencil case for this purpose, and should be washed nightly so they are ready for school the next day. 

All masks should be clearly labelled with the students name and homeroom number. We will be providing self-adhesive labels for each student with their Connect face masks. It is also recommended that parents encourage students to wear a face mask for increasing periods of time prior to returning to school to get used to having their face covered.

Devices

All students in grades 5 to 9 should bring their Connect issued device and charger to school beginning on their staggered entry day. Students will be required to transport their device home and to school each day in case we are required to switch to scenario 2 or 3 on short notice. 

Proactive COVID testing for students

The CMOH, Dr. Hinshaw, has recommended that all students with pre-existing conditions receive a COVID test prior to re-entering school. Many pharmacies are now offering this service by appointment in addition to the established testing centres. 

Grade 9 spots available 

We currently have 7 spots available in grade 9 for the 2020-21 school year. If you know of families who may have been seeking an alternative such as Connect for the grade 9 year, please have them contact Laurie Kangas at [email protected]

Following is a message from Nasreen Sunderani, Public Health Nurse and our COVID consultant:

PREVENTION

To help protect you and your family against all respiratory illnesses, including flu and COVID-19, you should:

Wearing Masks

Wearing a mask helps prevent us from passing illnesses on to other people.

Wearing a non-medical mask, such as a homemade cloth mask, has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, wearing a non-medical mask may be helpful in protecting others around you. This is because face coverings are another way to cover your mouth and nose to prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or surfaces. Additionally, wearing a mask may stop you from touching your nose and mouth.

When wearing a non-medical mask or face covering:

  • Ensure your mask is well-fitted and does not gape at the sides.
  • Be aware that masks can become contaminated on the outside. Avoid moving or adjusting the mask. Assume the mask has been contaminated and take proper precautions.
  • Critically, if you wear a mask, you must wash your hands before putting it on, as well as before and after taking it off.
  • Cloth masks should be worn only a short time, as there is some evidence that they can trap virus particles after they become damp, which may put the wearer at greater risk.
  • For those choosing to wear non-medical masks, it may be prudent to carry a bag with several clean masks in it, as well as a plastic bag that can be used to safely store used masks until they can be washed at home.
  • It is critical that used masks be carefully handled to avoid spreading infection to others.
  • Teach your children a “no sharing policy” – all students should have their own supplies.
  • Equipment will be cleaned between uses if students or staff share anything.
  • Practice physical distancing when possible.
  • Emphasize other hygiene practices in classrooms, buses and during activities when physical distancing may not be possible.
  • Follow foot traffic flow through entrances and hallways by using markers on the floor or pylons/barriers.

People with medical conditions

For students with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions or risk factors, parents should:

  • Consult your child’s physician to consider the health risks and make a decision about returning to school that will best support the child.
  • Contact your child’s school to discuss available options and support.

Staff should also consult a physician and discuss options with their school board.

In addition to consulting with a physician, Albertans can assess the risk of experiencing severe health outcomes from COVID-19.

A student showing COVID-19 symptoms who has allergies or other pre-existing medical conditions that cause similar symptoms should get at least one negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school.

These symptoms would be their baseline health status. The student can attend school as long as they stay the same. Talk to your school about your child’s pre-existing medical conditions so the school may keep a confidential record of these conditions.

 

If there is a case of COVID-19 at school

If a student shows symptoms at school:

  • student will be asked to wear a non-medical mask and be isolated in a separate room or kept at least 2 metres away from others
  • parents will be contacted to pick up the child immediately (ensure your school has up-to-date contact information)

The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to quickly:

  • identify when symptoms developed
  •  identify and contact people who had close contact with the person who tested positive, offer   testing, and set the isolation measures:
  • people are legally required to isolate for 14 days if they live with or are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19
  • only people in direct contact with a confirmed case need to isolate

If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days after your symptoms started and until your symptoms are gone (whichever is longer). This means you need to stay home and away from other people. To learn more visit www.alberta.ca/isolation.aspx.

  • The school authority will:
    • notify staff and parents if a case is confirmed at school
    • support students and staff to learn or work at home if they are required to self-isolate

If a school has 2 or more cases:

  • the school would be considered to have an outbreak
  • medical officers will assess the spread and exposure risk to determine if it affects multiple grades and areas, or is confined within close contacts of a confirmed case, and provide specific recommendations – an outbreak will not automatically lead to school closure.Health officials will work with school authorities to make the decision to transition to partial in-class learning or at-home learning based on multiple factors including the number of COVID-19 cases in a community or a school and the risk of ongoing transmission.

There is a great deal of information to process in this update but I hope it is useful in answering some specific questions about school re-entry and what students and parents can expect in the first few days. Our staff have been in school for two days and are beginning to regain a sense of ‘place’ after a long and unwanted absence from our beloved old building. Thank you once again for your patience in this process and for your confidence in Connect. I am looking forward to connecting with all of you very soon.

Phil Butterfield

Principal

School upgrades are wrapping up as we prepare to welcome students back.