Start of school year re-entry scenario will be determined by August 1, 2020. Scenario 1, resuming daily in-school classes is the prefered and likely scenario - near normal operation with health measures.
The school re-entry plan (2020-21 school year) allows schools and parents to prepare for learning while putting student and staff safety first.
The plan offers guidance on a wide range of operational issues including:
- hygiene and health requirements
- student learning
- diploma exams
- mental health and psychological supports for students and staff
School authorities must plan for the following 3 scenarios for September:
- Scenario 1 – In-school classes resume, near-normal operations with health measures
- Scenario 2 – In-school classes partially resume with additional health measures
- Scenario 3 – At home learning continues, in-school classes are cancelled
Return to in-class learning may vary across the province and depends on the number of COVID-19 cases in a local area. School boards should develop their own COVID-19 plans under the applicable scenario and health guidelines before reopening.
Measures to reduce the risk
- Enhance cleaning and disinfecting practices.
- Clean all areas of the school daily.
- Clean washrooms and high-touch surfaces multiple times a day.
- Regularly schedule deep cleaning when students are not present.
Hygiene and illness
- Routinely screen all staff and students
- Create a strict stay-at-home policy for any students or staff with symptoms of COVID-19
- Set hand hygiene expectations when entering and exiting the school and classrooms, before and after eating
- Regularly remind students and staff of respiratory etiquette:
- cover coughs and sneezes
- avoid touching your face
- dispose of used tissues promptly
- practice hand hygiene
- Students who develop symptoms at school may be asked to wear a mask and isolate in a separate room until a parent arrives for pickup. If a separate room is not available, the student must be kept at least 2 metres away from other individuals.
Physical distancing and grouping
- Practice physical distancing when possible.
- Emphasize other hygiene practices in classrooms, buses and during activities when physical distancing may not be possible.
- Reorganize rooms to allow for more physical space.
- Create cohorts of students by class where possible.
- Guide foot traffic flow through entrances and hallways by using markers on the floor or pylons/barriers.
- Avoid large gatherings like assemblies.
- Staff and students will not be mandated to wear masks.
- Consider wearing masks when there is prolonged close contact (greater than 15 minutes) and distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
- Wearing masks is generally not recommended for younger students.
- Create a “no sharing policy” - all students should have their own supplies.
- Clean equipment between uses if students or staff share anything.
If there is a case of COVID-19 in a school
- The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to quickly:
- identify cases through easily accessible testing
- identify close contacts
- create isolation measures when needed
- The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to provide follow-up recommendations and messaging for staff, parents and students.
- Alberta Health Services may request the school close in-person classes to allow a public health investigation to take place.
- Each school authority will support students and staff to learn or work at home if they are required to self-isolate.
Measures to reduce the risk
Scenario 2 includes the same considerations as scenario 1, with the following differences:
- Stricter health measures, including physical distancing of 2 metres and a recommended maximum of 15 people in a classroom.
- Students will attend school less regularly as school authorities will need to adjust their class schedule and configuration to meet the physical distancing requirement.
Assessment and student supports
- August diploma exams will proceed for students taking diploma courses this summer.
- In scenarios 1 and 2, students will write diploma exams if in-school classes are available.
- In scenario 3, exams may be cancelled.
Provincial achievement tests (PATs)
- In scenarios 1 and 2, PATs for grades 6 and 9 can be held if in-school classes are available. School authorities can choose to participate.
- If scenario 3 is in place at the beginning of the school year, we will cancel January PATs and decide on the May/June PATs based on how long in-school classes are cancelled.
- Any summer programming will follow scenario 2 of the re-entry plan and the associated public health restrictions.
- School authorities can, as deemed appropriate at the local level, reduce time spent teaching non-core subjects to allow for additional instruction time on core subjects.
- School should have mental health supports in place for students and staff.