September 6, 2021
On Monday, August 23rd Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic Schools communicated our School Plan. In that correspondence, and in a subsequent correspondence sent on Monday, August 30th, CTR indicated that we will continue to adhere to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) guidance. We also advised we may alter our plan in consultation with the CMOH or designate (the Zone Medical Officer of Health). On Friday, September 3, Dr. Hinshaw announced temporary measures to reduce transmission and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. In a correspondence later that same day, the Deputy Minister of Education noted that, “If school divisions make the decision to go beyond the provincial guidance, part of the accountability you have to your communities is to explain why this is necessary in your local contexts.” At present, CTR does not have information that deviates from the information the CMOH had when making the decision not to mandate masks in schools. As a result, CTR will remain consistent with the rationale for previous decisions and adhere to the CMOH’s guidance.
The following health measures will be put in place effective Tuesday, September 7. They are noted in red our School Plan below.
(Updates in red – September 14, 2021)
As we have done throughout the pandemic, Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic’s schools continues to adhere to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) guidance. Our plans are fluid and we take our counsel from the CMOH’’s office. CTR will continue with a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk of spread of both COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses with the following measures:
Daily Health Screening
- Parents/guardians play an essential role in supporting our schools by keeping their children home when sick.
- Before leaving home, staff, students and visitors should monitor for any symptoms daily using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
- If an individual has any signs of illness or symptoms, the Alberta Health Daily Checklist will help determine how long the individual should stay at home from school and whether they should use the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if they should be tested.
- Students and staff with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell or taste, must stay home and isolate for 10 days OR receive a negative COVID-19 test and feel better before returning to school. Anyone who feels unwell with other symptoms should stay at home and refer to the Daily Checklist for further guidance. COVID-19 testing availability for those with symptoms has been extended until September 27th to provide an additional monitoring period during the start of school, and it will remain a legal requirement for those with COVID-19 to stay home for 10 days during this time.
- Volunteers and visitors are permitted if they pass the Alberta Health’s Daily Screening Checklist. Principals may choose to limit the number of volunteers and visitors.
Hand Hygiene, Respiratory Etiquette, Cleaning, and Ventilation
- Schools will promote and facilitate hand hygiene by maintaining one hand sanitizing station in each classroom and in many common areas of the school. Schools may either spray hands as students enter/exit the building, or teach students to follow the routine themselves. Schools will encourage students to practice hand hygiene before/after activities (e.g. entering/leaving school or classroom, boarding/exiting the bus, changing activities, before and after using shared equipment, before and after eating or serving food, after using washrooms,etc.).
- Teachers will promote proper respiratory etiquette by reminding students to cough and sneeze into a tissue, one’s elbow, or a mask rather than their hand.
- Students will be provided with appropriate cleaning supplies for their desks, and teachers will remind students to clean their desks at various times each day to establish good habits and routines.
- Schools will maintain regular daytime cleaning and increased disinfection of high traffic/touch areas throughout the day.
- Schools will maintain effective ventilation by delivering three air exchanges per hour. Modular classrooms have the same ventilation standards, and CTR installed operable windows in most modulars over the summer. Teachers will be asked to keep windows open to encourage air circulation when climatically reasonable.
- The CMOH’s updated guidance on Friday, September 3rd included the decision to not mandate mask use in school settings. As a result, students, staff, and substitutes in CTR may continue to make their own decisions about mask use. We expect many will choose to wear masks. We encourage and support those who make the decision to wear masks.
- Masking remains required for all students and staff on school buses as per the public health order.
- Schools are not subject to the masking requirements for the purpose of schooling, but schools are public spaces for guests, visitors, volunteers, and parents, and therefore, they are subject to the public health order requiring masks to be worn.
- Masks must be worn in CTR’s public offices for as per the provincial health order (i.e., Centre For Learning@Home, Catholic Education Centre, St. Thomas Centre).
- CTR will reinstate targeted or universal required masking upon mandate by the Chief Medical Officer of Health or if recommended by the Zone Medical Officer of Health based on local contexts. .
- All students and staff should have masks on-hand at school to respond to unexpected circumstances (e.g. they begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are waiting to go home).
Cohorts and Physical Distancing
- Students in Grades K-6 are primarily cohorted in homerooms as per routine practice. Students in Grade 7-9 are partially cohorted for core subjects. Students in Grades 10-12 will not be cohorted.
- Physical distancing is not required, but will be maintained to the best extent possible. In addition, individuals in our schools are asked to respect the space of others and be attentive to those who desire distancing.
- Desks and small table groups will be spaced apart as much as possible and extra furniture will be kept to a minimum. Area carpets for younger students are an important instructional tool and may be reinstalled.
- CTR has maintained staffing levels at Pre-COVID levels. K-12 class sizes are projected to be an average 22.6 students per class.
Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Programming
- Co-curricular and extra-curricular programming will continue.
- Expectations for spectators are noted in the “Indoor Gatherings” section.
- The Board has not yet lifted their decision to suspend international travel.
Non-Essential Indoor Gatherings
- Non-essential indoor gatherings of groups of more than 30 individuals will be temporarily suspended and/or postponed, and alternatives to gathering large groups may be planned in their place.
- Indoor school wide gatherings of more than 30 individuals (e.g. school wide student assemblies, masses, liturgies) are temporarily suspended and/or postponed. Masses and liturgies will continue in classroom cohorts or using online methods.
- Indoor public events at our schools and offices (social gatherings with parents and/or the general public) are temporarily suspended and/or postponed (e.g., indoor social gatherings, indoor public assemblies, indoor meet the teacher events). Online options should be considered when reasonable and effective.
- Division office meetings and professional learning gatherings should temporarily have the option for individuals to participate online (e.g. staff meetings, administrative meetings, professional development sessions, etc.).
- Professional learning in person may continue with a maximum of 30 participants. Masks must be worn at all times if 2 meters of physical distancing cannot be provided. The same shall apply to any gathering of individuals at the Catholic Education Centre.
- School staff meetings are essential and not subject to these guidelines, but principals should consider the size of the physical space and the size of the staff and consider online or hybrid solutions when warranted.
- When the general public, spectators of extra-curricular, and user groups access CTR’s facilities at any time, they are operating as public facilities and are, therefore, subject to the provincial health order, so masks are required. This mask order does not apply to staff or students engaging in school-related programming and events during or outside of school hours.
- These guidelines do not apply to outdoor gatherings.
Contact Tracing, Close Contacts, and Outbreak Monitoring
- Alberta Health Services announced the following protocols: 1) They will not inform school authorities or administrators of individual cases of COVID-19 within their school setting; 2) Staff, students, or parents/guardians may choose to notify school administrators of a positive COVID-19 test result; 3) Individuals are not required to share their COVID-19 test results with school administration; 4) School administrators and/or school authorities are not required to contact AHS to report student or staff cases; 5) School administrators will continue to monitor their school population for additional cases (e.g., an individual voluntarily shares they are positive for COVID or they start to experience COVID-19 symptoms while at the school) and/or absenteeism due to illness.
- Alberta Health Services announced the following protocols: 1) They are no longer identifying or following up with individual close contacts, and quarantine for close contacts is no longer legally mandatory; 2) All Albertans, including those who may be told that they are a close contact, are asked to monitor for symptoms and stay home and get tested if they are feeling unwell. Class cohorts will not be required to quarantine if there is a positive case.
- School administrators will monitor attendance daily and if there is a school-wide absence rate of 10% or greater due to illness, CTR will inform AHS as per the regular monitoring for respiratory illnesses.
- Additional measures may be considered or recommended if a school experiences a COVID-19 outbreak. If a school is experiencing an outbreak, one or more outbreak measures may be implemented as advised by AHS. Examples of these outbreak measures include; active health screening with questionnaires such as the Alberta Health Daily Checklist, further increasing frequency of cleaning and disinfection, maintaining elementary classroom cohorts, limiting student mixing and/or movement, mask recommendations, and/or limiting extra-curricular activities.
School Immunization Program
- As AHS indicates, Getting Vaccinated is our best defence to beat COVID-19.
- CTR will host Alberta Health Services in our schools to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to staff and students 12 years of age and over as early as September 7. Vaccination status is a personal choice and parental/guardian consent must be obtained for students under 18. CTR will accommodate vaccinations on site, yet the decision to vaccinate is a private matter between families/students and Alberta Health Services.
- The School Immunization Program will run September 7th to October 13th.
- Students in Grades 7-12, who are born in 2009 or earlier (turning 12+), are eligible to receive the vaccine at school. Only one dose will be offered for each person who is eligible, whether it is their first or second dose.
- Parents will receive an information letter and AHS consent forms in an email from their principal on August 25th. Parents wishing to have their children vaccinated must sign and return the form to the school by September 8th.
- CTR does not require nor record vaccination status. If your child is already vaccinated, please do not send proof of vaccination. That is a private matter between families and Alberta Health.
- Provincial data indicates we can expect approximately 70% of students aged 12 and older have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Based on this, we project a minority of students in any given class will access a vaccination at school. As a result, we anticipate minimal disruption to instruction while AHS administers the vaccines in schools.
Supporting Parental Choice and Staff Choice
- CTR will not impose any deadlines on moving from the traditional school to the Centre For Learning@Home or vice-versa, but principals will counsel families about both the advisability of such transfers and making transitions at logical and appropriate times to minimize learning loss when making the transition.
- CTR will once again consider staff requests to transfer from the traditional school to the Centre For Learning@Home or vice-versa as enrollment and staffing needs permit.
- CTR is committed to supporting mental health concerns by training teachers to implement universal strategies in the regular classroom, while also maintaining targeted support for at-risk students.
- CTR’s staff wellness initiative will continue.
- CTR will remediate learning loss by applying for funds to remediate literacy and numeracy concerns in young children, and this will complement the existing reading intervention programs (Early Reading Intervention, Enhanced Reading, and Precision Reading) led by trained professionals that are already in place at every school.
- The Ministry has reinstated both Provincial Achievement Tests (Grades 6 and 9) and Diploma Exams (Grade 12) as per normal practice. Diploma Exams will have a weight of 30%.
- PATs will be administered in all subjects (English Language Arts, French Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies).