From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools
New middle school will be located in Kentwood
This past fall, the provincial government announced that Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) would be receiving a new middle school (Grade 6-9) with design funding.
We were grateful for this announcement, as our school division is in desperate need for this school. Currently, our middle schools in Red Deer are over capacity, with St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School being the highest at 137% utilization rate.
The division is seeing continued growth each school year. As of October 2019, the school division grew to over 10,480 students. This is an increase of 162 students, which equates to 1.7% growth.
The Board of Trustees and Senior Administration have been working with the City of Red Deer to determine a school site in Kentwood. The school will be located in Kingsgate (just north of Kingstone Drive).
“We are pleased to have secured a site for this new middle school and look forward to quickly moving into the design process, once the government has informed us of that budget. It is important to finalize the name of the school, as that will help inform the design work,” said Board Chair, Anne Marie Watson at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
RDCRS is now looking for feedback from students, parents and the community for a school name. You can submit your name at http://tiny.cc/78gdmz
When naming, we are asking individuals to please follow these guidelines:
● The name should be a role model for staff
● Canonized saints are acceptable
● Use of Christ’s mysteries is acceptable (eg. “Our Lady of..”)
● Angels are acceptable
● A historical faith-focused person is acceptable if a significant time period has elapsed since they have passed away.
The Board of Trustees will make the final selection of the name for the new middle school based on feedback. The deadline for submission is Thursday, April 30.
Masks to be mandatory in Alberta schools – Update on back to school plan
From the Province of Alberta
School health measures now include mandatory masks
As part of a number of new school safety measures to combat COVID-19, mask use for Grade 4 to 12 students, and all school staff, will be mandatory when school returns for the 2020-21 year.
While mandatory mask use is for students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff, all students and staff in public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent schools will receive two reusable masks from Alberta’s government. More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.
Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas such as hallways and on buses. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.
Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. Mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.
“The safety of our staff and students continues to be my number 1 priority. Since cancelling in-person classes in March and developing our school re-entry plan, we have been clear that we would continue to adapt our guidelines as necessary based on current medical advice. These new safety measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, and we will continue to work with our school authorities to ensure they are equipped for a successful start to the school year.”
“After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am not making this updated recommendation lightly, but acting on the best current evidence available. While masks are important, I want to stress that they are only one of the many public health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff and families.”
“CASS’ board of directors appreciates the government’s commitment to adapting Alberta’s health guidelines as new medical information becomes available and for ensuring school divisions are receiving the protective equipment they need for a successful transition back to school. This announcement clearly demonstrates Alberta Education’s willingness to take the necessary steps to support the safety of staff and students. We appreciate their continued collaboration and support as we approach the beginning of a new school year.”
Alberta’s government remains committed to adjusting the school re-entry guidelines based on current medical advice. The chief medical officer of health has been studying the evidence around masking in schools, and this decision is a direct result of evolving medical advice.
School staff will receive one reusable face shield for their use in the schools. Shield use is at the discretion of the individual staff member. Plastic face shields can help reduce exposure but are not equivalent to masks. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.
About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.
Each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.
Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services are working hard to expand testing capacity and reduce turnaround times for testing, including in-school staff, teachers and students, so that anyone with symptoms or close contacts of cases can be rapidly tested and receive test results promptly.
All supplies will be distributed to school authorities by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Authorities will then distribute to individual schools, staff and/or students based on the needs of their own communities.
Provincial health guidance for a safe return to school will continue to evolve as necessary to reflect the latest evidence on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Individual school authorities are developing return-to-school plans that meet the needs of their own communities. These plans are based on direction provided under the provincial school re-entry plan, and supporting health guidance documents.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
- Alberta’s government announced students and staff would return to school under scenario 1 – near-normal daily operations with health measures – on July 21.
- School authorities are required to be prepared to move between the three scenarios outlined in the provincial school re-entry plan. Changes to scenarios will be determined by Alberta Education.
Province shares plan for school relaunch
From the Province of Alberta
Students returning to school for 2020-21 school year
Students will return to learning in classrooms across Alberta at the beginning of the new school year.
Schools will be ready to welcome students under scenario 1, which is near-normal daily operations with health measures.
Alberta’s government has developed a re-entry tool kit to prepare parents and students for what to expect in the new school year. The tool kit includes videos for students explaining some of the health measures, a guide for parents, frequently asked questions, school posters, a self-screening questionnaire in multiple languages, and links to health guidelines.
Under scenario 1, schools will implement a number of public health measures, which include frequent cleaning of surfaces, placing hand sanitizers at school entrances and classrooms, grouping students in cohorts, and planning the school day to allow for physical distancing, which could include staggering start times for classes, recesses and lunches. Additional public health measures may be established prior to September on the advice of the chief medical officer of health in consultation with the education system.
In addition, students, staff, parents and school visitors will be expected to use a self-screening questionnaire daily to determine whether they can enter the school.
Successful transition to summer school and child care
Alberta’s school re-entry plan works, and already has mitigated risks to students and teachers. Throughout the summer, the Calgary Catholic Separate School Division ran in-person summer school programming in accordance to the guidelines developed and issued by the province. These comprehensive guidelines have mitigated risk, resulting in no COVID-19 outbreaks among teachers or students participating in summer school.
Additionally, Alberta has seen a successful reopening of child care centres across the province. Children and staff have safely returned to these centres with no outbreaks occurring.
School authority funding
School authorities have returned to full funding levels as of July 1, and every school authority in Alberta is receiving a funding increase for the 2020-21 school year – roughly $120 million across the province. A list of funding for every school authority is available here.
In addition, the Minister of Education has approved the use of school board reserves, if needed, to help cover local COVID-19-related costs. The total amount of money sitting in school board reserves is $363 million.
Accelerated capital school funding
The province has also provided school boards an additional $250 million to support accelerated capital maintenance and renewal projects, as part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced in the Alberta Recovery Plan.
This funding supports infrastructure enhancements that will help in a COVID-19 learning environment. Seventy-nine school projects totalling $15 million are moving forward with this primary purpose, including upgrades for enhanced hygiene such as hands-free sinks, automatic flush toilets, touchless soap and paper towel dispensers, automatic doors and water bottle filling stations to replace water fountains.
New online Student Learning Hub
A new Student Learning Hub on new.learnalberta.ca is available for parents, students, and teachers to more easily access educational materials to support development of student literacy and numeracy, and provide health and wellness information.
The online hub is another resource to support Alberta’s school re-entry plan, with recognition that more online learning resources may be needed during the upcoming school year. Additional resources will also be added throughout the school year.
Expanding diploma exams
Diploma exams will be offered in every subject in the November and April exam sessions. Expanding the offerings of the diploma exams will support school authorities who are shifting high school programming to a four-semester system as part of their COVID-19 re-entry plan. This shift allows for better cohorting by limiting the number of classes a student is in during a term without affecting total learning time over the course of a year.
Personal protective equipment
Students and staff may wear a mask if they choose to. However, practices such as physical distancing, cohorting, frequent handwashing, staying home when sick and increased cleaning of surfaces will continue to be the priority public health measures.
COVID-19 cases at school
If a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19, a public health team will investigate to determine when symptoms developed and support the school to minimize transmission.
While each case will be addressed based on its unique circumstances, it is anticipated that in most cases only the group of students and staff who came in close contact will likely be required to stay home for 14 days, and not the entire school population.
Parents will be notified if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at school and public health officials will contact those who were in close contact with that person.
Transitioning to scenario 2 or scenario 3
If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in a community or school, health officials will work with Alberta Education and impacted school authorities to make any decision to potentially transition to partial in-class learning or at-home learning. Decisions will be based on multiple factors including the number of cases in a community or school and the risk of ongoing transmission.
The health guidance for scenario 2 has been updated to allow for a maximum of 20 students per class.
Hotels Live – History In The Making For Calgary Music Fans
Your Stanley Cup qualifier and round robin playoff schedule – including TV info
‘Adventures in Pandemica’ or ‘What I did on my Isolation Vacation’
The Great Wealth Transfer – Billions To Change Hands By 2026
- #RedDeerStrong1 day ago
Downtown Business Spotlight: Lashing Out Luxury Lounge
- #ReDiscoverRedDeer12 hours ago
The Lone Ranger and the Riders of Justice, Finale!
- Alberta11 hours ago
McDavid gets first playoff hat trick, Oilers beat Chicago 6-3 in NHL qualifiers
- Alberta9 hours ago
Alberta, Ottawa sign deal that reduces oilsands environmental monitoring
- Alberta16 hours ago
First cancer diagnosed in dinosaur fossil hints at communal life
- Alberta1 day ago
Man dies after being found in North Saskatchewan River southwest of Edmonton
- Alberta20 hours ago
Evason says ‘No discussions’ among Wild to join Dumba in anthem protests
- Alberta24 hours ago
More corporate meetings to go virtual after success during pandemic