Important dates

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.

Overview

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
  • transportation
  • diploma exams
  • mental health and psychological supports for students and staff

Re-entry scenarios

School authorities must plan for the following 3 scenarios for September:

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.

Scenario 1

Measures to reduce the risk

Cleaning

  • 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.

Masks

  • 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.

Shared items

  • 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.

Scenario 2

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

Diploma exams

  • 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.

Student supports

  • 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.

Summer school