COVID-19 Updates

 

 

Dear STS families,

This evening, Premier Jason Kenney announced new mandatory measures to address growing COVID-19 cases across Alberta. In the interest of public health, and to prevent overwhelming the health system, targeted regional measures to bend the curve have been put in place, including all Kindergarten - Grade 12 students shifting to online learning, beginning Friday, May 7, with a return to in-school learning on Tuesday, May 25. Please see the news release here.

This decision is part of a province-wide approach to “stop the spike” of COVID-19 cases. This will allow for a reset within the school system, which will allow us to return to in-class learning and have a strong finish to the school year.

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, said:

“I want to thank teachers, school staff, parents and of course our students for their flexibility and efforts since the start of the pandemic. The disruptions are difficult inside and outside the classroom, and this has been especially true with the recent rise of cases in the province. That said, if all Albertans do their part, this will be a temporary reset for our schools and we all can look forward to coming back to class later this spring to close out the school year.”

Tomorrow, our school leaders are meeting with AISCA (Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta) and Deputy Minister Andre Tremblay from Alberta Education, to gain clarity and have the opportunity to ask questions.

In addition, tomorrow afternoon Division Principals will share specific learning updates via Managebac. I understand that this email lacks specific details, and want to assure you that as soon as we gain clarity from our educational partners, we will communicate with you. We remain committed as always to working with individual families to address unique circumstances and will be available in the coming days to answer questions you may have.

Thank you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Good afternoon STS community,

This email is to inform you that Alberta Health Services (AHS) has designated Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) to be in outbreak status as per their definition.

A school is considered to be in outbreak status when “five or more COVID-19 cases are confirmed in an investigation, including where the disease may have been acquired or transmitted in the school.” Contact tracers and public health officials will identify potential exposures and limit spread within the school. An outbreak investigation is considered over when there have been no new confirmed cases in the school for 28 days. This change in our school’s status was communicated to me by AHS over the phone and confirmed on the weekend. I am therefore sharing this information with you in the interest of continuing our transparent and timely communication.

With this in mind, I have spent most of the weekend in discussion with AHS and Alberta Education officials to determine what is required to ensure the continued safety of students and staff in our school. As you can imagine, the system at all levels is overwhelmed, and it has taken us time to gather accurate and pertinent information. I can assure you that everyone I have spoken with has been helpful and is committed to doing the right things, as are we.

My team and I monitor and evaluate the changing situation in Alberta daily and are taking this current change in status seriously as we determine the appropriate next steps. As you know, we shifted our Grade 7-12 learning community to online learning, beginning tomorrow, May 3 and continuing to May 17 as part of our commitment to Alberta’s stronger public health measures to combat the third wave of COVID infections in our province. For all of those still on campus, compliance to existing safety protocols is required at all times.  

Our Grade K-6 community will be meeting tomorrow to determine the best way to support Elementary age children with in-person learning during this heightened period of caseloads in the surrounding community. Our current cohort model is working well in younger grades, and we have been able to quickly isolate close contacts to one class versus many.

Our community’s collective commitment ensures that safety and learning go hand-in-hand this year, and we will continue to adjust our operations to respond accordingly. To the students who are learning online, we thank you for adhering to the stronger public health measures put in place by AHS so that we can all return to in-person learning soon.

Please know, you have our full support as you make decisions that are right for your family. I would also ask that you continue to keep children at home if they are showing any symptoms of illness or have been in contact with someone with a positive case of COVID-19. It is imperative that all suspected cases be tested. I thank you in advance for your commitment to this.

All positive test results are shared with the school by AHS to support contact tracing. However, due to the delays in AHS contact tracing, we encourage families to share relevant and timely information, such as test results, with us as soon as you have them. Doing so enables the school to act swiftly and identify close contacts in a timely manner to prevent transmission within the school community. In the past few weeks, such transparency from families has allowed the school to isolate students 1-3 days before AHS contact tracers connected with the school. We are grateful to our families for this transparency and trust as we believe it has helped limit in-school transmission. Sharing negative test results with the School Nurse and/or Division Principal also helps us monitor the efficacy of our protocols. Please know we will always honour and respect individual privacy. 

I am available to discuss any issues of concerns you may have. Specific learning needs and questions are best directed to your Division Principal or your child’s homeroom teacher or advisor. While we are in the home stretch to summer, and a positive future regarding the pandemic is visible, we must not let up on our current safety protocols and open partnership with families. As a community, we all need to abide by the new restrictions in order for the case numbers in Alberta to decline and improve the safety of our students both at school and in the community. Please, I implore each of us to pull together and do everything possible to keep our school community safe.

Thank you for your attention to this email. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS families,

As promised, I am following up on my message yesterday evening regarding the Alberta Government’s new mandatory measures announced to address growing COVID-19 cases in ‘hot spot’ communities across Alberta. In the interest of public health, and preventing overwhelming the health system, targeted regional measures have been put in place, including all Grade 7 – 12 students in specified communities shifting to online learning.

Given the situation in the Province of Alberta it is essential to limit in-person interactions at this time. Working with Alberta Education officials, because of our proximity to Calgary and our school community being predominantly from Calgary, we are moving to online learning.

In our continued effort to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health-care system, starting Monday, May 3, 2021 the following measures will go in to effect for STS students:

  • All students in Grades 7 to 12 will shift to at-home learning for at least two weeks. This document provides an overview of the Middle & Senior School Online Learning Plan for Spring 2021 for students in Middle and Senior School for this period of online learning. It is imperative all Grade 7 - 12 families review this plan in detail.
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will remain in school for in-person learning and will continue to follow all protocols already in place.
  • Our campus will remain open for Kindergarten to Grade 6 instruction, and faculty will continue to be on-site to support students who are in-person.
  • Bussing will continue as normal for regular routes with regular timing for elementary school students. During this period of online learning, no early or late buses will be provided.
  • Black Watch Bistro service will continue to operate as normal for students who are on campus for their learning.
  • While students in Grades 7 to 12 are being moved to online learning, some access to the building may be available to these students during this period of time. Protocols for accessing the campus are included in the Middle & Senior School Online Learning Plan for Spring 2021 and coordinated by the Division Principals. All enhanced COVID-19 protocols and Alberta Health Services (AHS) requirements will continue to be followed.
  • Today, students in Grades 7 to 12 should make sure they take home all needed material for learning from home, i.e. textbooks, workbooks, chargers, phones. Any food or other material that may spoil must be cleaned out of the lockers.
  • We anticipate all students to return to learning at school, in-person, on May 17, 2021. However, this return day may change depending on the effectiveness of new measures in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the Calgary region. Updates will be provided as necessary.

You can reference these new measures, and other helpful COVID-19 resources, on our STS COVID-19 Updates website, and as always, please reach out to your Division Principals (Jen Conway, Jessica Richmond and Anand Mahadevan)  or me if you have any concerns and questions. Also, please let us know how things are going over the next two weeks – we want to ensure we are making any needed tweaks along the way to support student learning and wellbeing. 

We continue to err on the side of caution in considering the safety of our STS families and the broader community - given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic in the Calgary area. The best interests of our students and communicating with you every step of the way remain our top priority. I know this is challenging. I encourage each of us to take this time to focus on doing whatever we can to keep our STS and greater community safe.

We have done this before, we have learned a lot along the way, and we are ready to do this again, hopefully for the last time. We also have every confidence that our students will manage this temporary change well, with focus, compassion, and patience.

I know that together, we’ve got this!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS families,

Today, we were contacted by an STS family regarding a positive COVID-19 case in their family, impacting our Grade 2B cohort. While we are still awaiting official notification from AHS, in the interest of community safety any students and faculty members who meet the AHS criteria for close contacts in schools have been asked to isolate. AHS supports our decision to act quickly and communicate with our community.

Our Leadership Team is working to manage this situation, and remain strongly committed to taking our lead from Alberta Health Services, and to keeping you informed and safe, while ensuring confidentiality in all matters related to student and employee health information. Our thoughts are with the affected individual and their family. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer any support we can provide. Please join me in supporting them with your thoughts and well wishes.

AHS protocols require all individuals in close contact to isolate for 14-days, and book a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. AHS also asks all close contacts to be tested for a second time, 10 days later, if symptoms develop, and will contact all impacted individuals to confirm a specific return-to-school date. Students and employees identified as close contacts will remain in self-isolation until being cleared to return to school.  Please know if you have not been personally contacted thus far, there is no cause for further action at this time.

What you can do:

  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to avoid indoor gatherings, and to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to meTrevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. MahadevanMs. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts, or concerns.
  • Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

We understand that this situation is tiring and stressful for all families, in a multitude of complex and unique ways. All we can do is take this one day at a time. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning whether in-person, online, or hybrid, and to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family.

We will continue to be in contact with Provincial Ministries and AHS, and will update you as this situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt 
Head of School

Dear STS families,

Late last evening, we were contacted by an STS family regarding a positive COVID-19 case in their family. As such, any Grade 12 students and faculty members who meet the AHS criteria for close contacts in schools have been asked to isolate. In the interest of community safety, the decision was made early this morning to notify these individuals to prevent them from coming to campus today while we investigated further and waited for official notification from AHS. Since that time, AHS has been contacted and supports our decision to act quickly and communicate with our community. Please know if you have not been personally contacted thus far, there is no cause for further action at this time.

Our Leadership Team is working to manage this situation, and our immediate and continued focus is the safety and care of every individual in our community. Specifically, our thoughts are with the affected individual and their family. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer any support we can provide. Please join me in supporting them with your thoughts and well wishes.

A few important updates:

  • For some good news, the Black Watch Bistro will be reopening with full service on Monday, April 26. This includes the Primary Menu Plan for students in Kindergarten to Grade 4.
  • AHS protocols require all individuals in close contact to isolate for 14-days, and book a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. AHS also asks all close contacts to be tested for a second time, 10 days later, or earlier if symptoms develop, and will contact all impacted individuals to confirm a specific return-to-school date. Students and employees identified as close contacts will remain in self-isolation until being cleared to return to school. 
  • With this recent situation in mind, and due to the increased presence of COVID variants and high transmission rates in Alberta, we have decided to extend the following extended health measures detailed below. We will continue to review this decision to determine when we can resume activities and return to some of our previous protocols.
    • All in-person co-curricular activities are paused or are being offered online.
    • After school programs are paused or must go online.
    • Singing and the use of wind instruments, both curricular and co-curricular will not take place on campus.
    • In-person extra help between teachers and students may take place if physically distanced.
    • Meetings between staff, contractors, parents and students should take place online unless an exception is made by a Principal, the Head of School or the Deputy Head.
    • Masking is required by all students from Grades 3-12 at all times (except when eating and drinking) regardless of trifold use and including recess and lunchtime as well as outside.  Please reinforce this with your students.  Additional masks are available at the front desk and in Principals’ offices.
  • Students in Grades 7 – 12 can also find this message in ManageBac, and our Advisors and Student Services team are available to support students as needed.

What you can do:

  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to avoid indoor gatherings and to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts, or concerns.
  • Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

We understand that this situation is tiring and stressful for all families, in a multitude of complex and unique ways. All we can do is take this one day at a time, and look to better days, hopefully in the near future. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning whether in-person, online, or hybrid, and to support you in making the personal decisions best for your family.

We will continue to be in contact with Provincial Ministries and AHS and will update you as this situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe.

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS community,

As we brought to your attention yesterday evening, Grade 7 to 12 students at Calgary public and Catholic schools will shift to online learning for two weeks, starting next Monday, due to a large increase in COVID-19 cases among students in some schools.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange stressed that the closures are operational decisions made by school boards — not a forced closure by the Chief Medical Officer of Health and that overall, the measures put in place when schools reopened last fall are still working for the most part.

In order for a school to move to online learning, the Province has outlined the following four criteria:

  • A chronic substitute teacher shortage.
  • A significant number of students and staff in quarantine or isolation.
  • Recent requests from the boards for short-term shifts for a number of their schools.
  • Substantial COVID-19 cases in the community.

As of today, April 15, 2021, STS does not meet the above criteria and therefore, we remain committed to our current in-person (or hybrid) learning approach. With this in mind, we understand that every family is impacted by this ongoing situation differently. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning whether in-person or online, and to supporting you in making the personal decisions that are best for your family. We continue to offer flexibility and respond to a changing context in real-time, while keeping health, safety, and student learning at the forefront.  

As we anticipate the possibility of additional families opting to learn remotely for a variety of reasons, we wish to ensure clarity on the following items relating to online learning:

For Elementary School (Kindergarten-Grade 6) online learners:

  • Elementary School online learning is for students who are out of school for COVID-related reasons for one week or longer.
  • Students who are home for a few days because they are not feeling well or have an appointment will be caught up once they return to school.
  • The approach of using synchronous learning (Zoom) in Elementary School versus Middle and Senior School is limited due to the developmental stage of the students and the management required of the learning. Therefore, Elementary School students will not join via Zoom all day or for each class. Young learners also need to be supervised while on Zoom from home to ensure they are on task and supported with the learning at home.
  • Elementary School Live Sites will be updated and re-published for families who have students at home for longer than one week for COVID-related reasons.
  • These Live Sites will provide students with independent work which depending on the age of the child may require parent support. Some of the learning experiences on the Live Site may include a teacher-created video explaining a concept with a task, and apps like IXL, AIM, Raz Kids, etc.
  • One Zoom check-in with a teacher will be provided daily − depending on the current learning in the classroom there may be other Zoom sessions offered.
  • Grades 5 and 6 students will be expected to follow along in their class Google Classroom.
  • If parents are keeping their children home for longer than one week please contact the homeroom teacher and complete attendance on ManageBac.

For Middle and Senior School (Grade 7 - 12) online learners:

  • The regular Middle and Senior School timetables remain in effect and online learners will either attend classes synchronously with in-person learners, or they will be directed to complete asynchronous tasks.  
  • Zoom sessions will be dismissed at least five minutes before the scheduled end of class to provide wellness breaks throughout the day for students working online.
  • When you first decide to have your child learn remotely, please enter an attendance report in ManageBac (preferred method), or email the Front Desk at frontdesk@sts.ab.ca, and wherever possible, please provide an anticipated timeframe for remote attendance (i.e. until a specific date, indefinitely, etc).
  • Understand that if you are the only family in a class who is joining remotely, it will likely take approximately 24 hours for teachers to post their Zoom links in the online calendar in ManageBac.
  • Students should check the Week at a Glance and Stream for each class schedule for the day to access instructions and learning materials, including if the work can be completed asynchronously.
  • Students will be marked as “Online” when attending classes remotely. If an online student does not turn up to a Zoom session on time, they will be marked “Absent” (unexcused) and parents will be notified. Students are expected to join classes with their camera on, displaying their first and last name, unless otherwise directed by their teacher.
  • Students who are home for a few days because they aren’t feeling well or have a medical appointment are encouraged to take the time needed to tend to health and wellness and will be caught up once they return to school. Zoom classes are not intended for these circumstances and attendance will be recorded as “Absent” (excused).
  • A dedicated workspace with good lighting and comfortable seating is highly recommended for productive online learning.
  • As always, please reach out to your subject teachers, Advisor, Principal, or our Student Services team for assistance or support.

Important in-person reminders: 

  • If your children continue to come to campus for in-person learning we ask that families commit to the stronger public health measures mandated by the Alberta Government to protect the health system and slow the spread of COVID-19. I know this is tough, but we implore families and students to remain vigilant, and in particular to avoid social gatherings.
     
  • We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, any individual with even the slightest sign of symptoms is asked to please stay home. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.

As you know, this situation can evolve rapidly, and while we are ready to pivot as needed, we are also determined to stay the course and to meet our commitment to offering exceptional learning opportunities, and a strong and connected community to our students and their families.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Mr. Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts, or concerns. Also, Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 

With the end of the school year within reach, we will continue to do what is best for our community, and keep you informed every step of the way. We can only do this together, and as my team said today, we’ve got this! Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding.

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS families,

I wanted to follow up on our announcement yesterday regarding two positive COVID-19 cases being identified at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS). In collaboration with Alberta Services (AHS), our Leadership Team has been working hard to manage this situation, and our immediate and continued focus is the safety and care of every individual in our community.

With this in mind, and due to the increased presence of COVID variants and high transmission rates in Alberta, we are taking the following measures effective Monday, April 12:

  • The Black Watch Bistro will be closed until Monday, April 26. Until further notified, all students will need to bring food from home (snacks, breakfast, lunches, water/beverages). Please be advised we are looking at possible alternative solutions and will update you if anything changes.
  • All in-person co-curricular activities will be paused or must go online.
  • Before and after school programs are paused or will go online. Faculty leaders of these activities will communicate directly with the students involved with more details. Please note, as this is effective immediately, early morning, before school programming will not occur tomorrow (Monday). Students can still sign up for the early and late bus.
  • Singing and the use of wind instruments, both curricular and co-curricular, will not take place on campus.  
  • Masking is now required by all students from Grades 3 to 12 at all times (except when eating and drinking) regardless of plexiglass trifold use and including recess and lunchtime as well as when outside. Please reinforce this with your children. 
  • Students with medical mask exemptions will not be required to wear masks.
  • In-person extra help between teachers and students make take place if physically distanced.
  • Meetings between staff, contractors, parents, and students should take place online unless an exception is made by a Principal, the Head of School or the Deputy Head.

Please see this updated communication from Alberta Health Services summarizing the situation as well.

We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, any individual with even the slightest sign of symptoms is asked to please stay home. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school. 

I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning whether in-person, online, or hybrid, and to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts or concerns. Also, Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 

There are also helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

We understand that after such a long year behind us, is it very difficult to feel like we are going backwards again. Please know that all decisions are being made with the health and safety of our community at the forefront, and at this stage, we are grateful that our ongoing health protocols and ability to pivot have mitigated broader impact and ensured that we can keep the school open.

We anticipate we will receive further direction from AHS in the days ahead and will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt

 

Dear STS families,

I need to share with you that a COVID-19 case has been identified in our Grade 11 class, as well as an additional case within our contracted Bistro team.

Our immediate and continued focus is the safety and care of every individual in our building, and specifically, our thoughts are with the affected individuals and their families. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer them any support we can provide. Please join me in supporting them with your thoughts and well wishes.

Please refer to this letter from Alberta Health Services (AHS).

What we are doing:

  • We are working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect students and employees.
  • Given the information we have at this time from AHS, transmission appears to have occurred outside the STS school community, and the risk of the general population in the school becoming infected because of these cases is low. Also, in addition to maintaining their daily foodservice industry standards, our Bistro team follows strict health protocols (frequent hand washing, plexiglass barriers, gloves, frequent equipment and counter sanitization, etc.) which have been reviewed by AHS personnel.
  • Unfortunately, effective immediately, the Bistro will be closed until Monday, April 26. Until further notified, all students will need to bring food from home (snacks, breakfast, lunches, water/beverages). Please be advised we are looking at possible alternative solutions and will update you if anything changes.
  • AHS will be contacting parents/guardians of students, as well as any employees/visitors/volunteers who may have been in close contact with the cases. Our STS team is also currently contacting those who may have been in close contact with the cases. Please know if you have not been personally contacted by the end of today, there is no cause for further action at this time.
  • AHS protocols require all individuals in close contact to isolate for 14-days and book a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. AHS also asks all close contacts to be tested for a second time, 10 days later, or earlier if symptoms develop, and will contact all impacted individuals to confirm a specific return-to-school date. Students and employees identified as close contacts will remain in self-isolation until being cleared to return to school. 
  • Students in Grades 7 – 12 can also find this message in ManageBac, and our Advisors and Student Services team are available to support students as needed.
  • We will continue to adhere to our stringent daily cleaning protocols.
  • As we manage this situation, we remain strongly committed to taking our lead from Alberta Health Services, and to keep you informed and safe, while ensuring confidentiality in all matters related to student and employee health information.
  • We continue to be in contact with Provincial Ministries and we will continue to update you as this situation evolves.

What you can do:

  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts or concerns.
  • Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

This is undoubtedly unsettling news. We are here to support you and can only do this if we continue to stay connected in positive and productive ways and follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services. We are grateful that our ongoing cohorting and health protocols have mitigated broader impact and ensured that we can keep the school open at this stage. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning whether in-person, online, or hybrid, and to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family.

We anticipate we will receive further direction from AHS in the days ahead, and will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt 

April 1, 2021

Dear STS families,

I hope that you have enjoyed a rejuvenating break. Spring is definitely in the air! In preparation for our students and faculty coming back to campus next Monday, April 5, I wanted to reach out to share a few friendly reminders to ensure a safe return to school for all.  It is important that we return to school with the information and knowledge necessary to keep our community safe and well. This is not the time to let our guard down as we remain in a dangerous position with an increase in variant strains and a concerning increase in case numbers.

It seems remarkable to me that a year ago we were communicating with you about all students moving to at-home learning. After the past 12 months, I am sure we all hoped that we would have this pandemic behind us and would living with more normalcy by now, but with cases in Alberta rising rapidly again, it seems we need to hang on and stay the course a bit longer. Today, the Premier of Alberta and Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked for the commitment of all Albertans to adhere to established protocols.  Our Premier said it very well today when he made the point that it is not the stringency of the measures that make the difference, it is the commitment to the measures. If we all do our part, I believe we can avoid more restrictive measures. It is in that spirit, that I ask for your commitment to these processes to ensure we are able to keep our students and employees safe. I thank you in advance for this and know, together, we can do this. 

As we return to school, if you or your children are experiencing symptoms, or for any reason, you suspect your family was in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case or outbreak over the break, please follow the protocols outlined by Alberta Health and stay home until you are sure you and/or your children can return to campus safety. We will continue to support all students needing to learn at home until they can return to in-person learning at the highest levels.

Please take time to review and follow COVID-19 updates and health protocols outlined here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

Also, please find the daily screening checklist for both children 18 and under, and adults, on our COVID-19 updates page here: https://www.strathconatweedsmuir.com/covid19-updates/

In a nutshell, this is not the time to relax. While it has been a long road and we have done an admirable job, let us continue our collective efforts. I truly wish we were at a different stage but we are not yet, and our community needs to remain vigilant. With advances in public health measures and the mobilization of resources, this will be behind us before we know it.

Collectively, we remain committed to the safety and wellbeing of every person. It will take the discipline of personal responsibility, adhering to our protocols, and a strong belief in our ability to overcome this pandemic in order to declare success. I know we can do it.

Please contact your Division Principal with any specific concerns or questions. Messages from the Principals will be distributed via Managebac over the weekend with further information.

I look forward to seeing our students and employees next Monday and for the rest of the year! I remain committed to working with you.  

Best regards,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS community,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has designated March 11, 2021, as a National Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19. He made the following statement:

“Early last year, our lives, and the lives of everyone around the world, were forever changed by the emergence of COVID-19. Today – one year after the first known death of a Canadian to the disease – we now mourn the tragic loss of more than 22,000 parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones.  

COVID-19 has infected over 864,000 other Canadians and has had an immeasurable impact on how we all work and learn, connect with friends and family, and live our daily lives. All Canadians have experienced sacrifice and loss over the past year. Our kids have missed birthday parties, seniors have felt isolated from the ones they love, and for far too many, this virus has meant the loss of their job or the closure of their business. Our health care and other essential workers have put themselves at risk, working long hours, so we could get the services and care we needed. And as efforts continue to get vaccines to every Canadian as quickly as possible, we thank them now more than ever.

During this crisis, Canadians have remained resilient. They have helped neighbours, given to organizations, put signs in their windows to support our health care workers, and lent a hand wherever possible. As we continue to deal with the impacts of the global pandemic, your government will continue to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to support you – because here in Canada, we help each other through challenging times.

We all have a role to play in ending this pandemic, and the crisis is not over yet. In recognition of how far we have come and how far we still have to go, the Government of Canada is designating March 11, 2021, as a National Day of Observance. On this day, I invite all Canadians to join together in honouring the memory of those we have lost, and the people they left behind. We will also recognize everyone who has been impacted by COVID-19 and pay tribute to all those who continue to work hard and make incredible sacrifices in our fight against the virus. Together, we will beat COVID-19.”

I echo our Prime Minister’s remarks and want to specifically acknowledge all of you – our students, our parents, our employees, and our alumni – for navigating this past year with courage, patience, kindness, and hope. Our STS family has not only weathered this storm, but has risen above this challenge to innovate, adapt, comfort, and even at times, celebrate. Most importantly, our students continued to learn. This is a testament to the dedication and resilience of every member of this community – and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to take pause to recognize that many of you have been profoundly impacted by COVID-19, especially those who have lost loved ones. Our thoughts are with you on this national day of reflection.

Together, let’s continue to bring moments of joy and our best selves to each day, and look forward to brighter days ahead for the world.

Sincerely, 

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections: 

  • Supporting Students 
    • Athletics 
  • Middle School 
    • Athletics 
  • Senior School 
    • Athletics 

Dear STS families,

I need to share with you that we were notified of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 on one of our buses. We are working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to ensure necessary measures are in place. AHS informed us that the affected individual did not enter the school and confirmed transmission occurred outside the STS school community.

Any individuals who may have been in close contact with the case have been notified. Please know if you have not been personally contacted, there is no cause for further action at this time.

A few important points:

  • AHS protocols require all students and employees in close contact with a case to self-isolate for 14 days, and COVID-19 testing is recommended.
  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts or concerns.
  • Mrs. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have.
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

We are here to support you, and can only do this if we continue to stay connected in positive and productive ways, and follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services.

As always, we will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

The STS Campus Re-entry plan has been updated in the following sections: 

  • Supporting students 
    • Co-curriculars 

Dear STS families,

I need to share with you that a positive COVID-19 case has been identified in one of our Grade 8 classes. Our immediate and continued focus is the safety and care of every individual in our building, and specifically, our thoughts are with the affected individual and their family. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer them any support we can provide. The family is to be commended for the cooperation they have provided, which has allowed us to move quickly and avoid any additional risk to our greater community. Please join me in supporting them with your thoughts and well wishes.

What we are doing:

  • We are working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect students and employees.
  • AHS protocols require all individuals in close contact with a case to self-isolate for 14 days, and COVID-19 testing is recommended. AHS will be contacting parents/guardians of students, as well as any employees/visitors/volunteers who may have been in close contact with the case. Given the information we have at this time, transmission appears to have occurred outside the STS school community.
  • The Grade 8 students impacted today were picked up by parent/guardians this afternoon, and learning for those students will continue online. Employees identified as close contacts have also gone home.
  • Our STS team is also currently contacting those who may have been in close contact with the case. Please know if you have not been personally contacted by the end of today, there is no cause for further action at this time.
  • Students in Grades 7 – 12 have also been notified of the situation, and our Student Services team including Lori Gonzalez, Guidance Counsellor, and the Learning Strategist in each Division are available to meet with students as needed.
  • We will be deep-cleaning affected areas on campus tonight.
  • As we manage this situation, we remain strongly committed to taking our lead from Alberta Health Services, and to keeping you informed and safe, while ensuring confidentiality in all matters related to student and employee health information.

What you can do:

  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts or concerns.
  • Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

Close contacts FAQ

Guidance for Parents of Children Attending School

Mental health during COVID-19  

We are here to support you, and can only do this if we continue to stay connected in positive and productive ways, and follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services.

We anticipate we will receive further direction from AHS in the days ahead, and will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt

Dear STS community,

I am pleased to share our 2020-2021 STS Campus Re-entry Plan with you, which has been designed with a core focus on who we are as a school and community. In conjunction with Alberta Health and Alberta Education guidelines, our STS mission and values acted as our compass in developing this road map for bringing our students and employees back to campus this fall.

As experience over the past six months has taught us, all plans are “subject to change” as the context surrounding this global pandemic evolves. With this in mind, we ask that each of you spend time reflecting on the values of our community as they apply in this context. I do believe that together, with a focus on the well-being of everyone and upholding the values of our school, we can manage this transition in the STS way, striving for our best, being innovative, and maintaining community. I understand that our views on the current situation are as diverse as our community. Respecting that diversity will be key to a successful return.

As you will see, our plan is built to:

  • optimize our unique outdoor campus to create additional space for teaching, learning, and play.
  • create an environment where students can be successful, healthy, and happy.
  • maximize a healthy environment in our physical space with special attention to air ventilation, disinfection, removing potential risks, and managing human traffic.  
  • take care of our STS family, and empower each community member to play a critical role in a successful campus re-entry.  
  • focus on physical, social, and mental health and wellness, and personalized solutions.
  • go above and beyond, addressing issues with a ‘yes’ mindset, and exceeding guidelines wherever possible.

With these important principles at the forefront of all that we do, we have taken a layered approach, meaning there is not just one measure being taken to protect our community at any given time. Key components to maximize protection are: handwashing and overall hygiene, cohorting, physical distancing, and disinfecting.

I encourage you to take time to read this document thoroughly. I am confident in our plan, and in the support we will provide to students, families, and employees as we work together to return to school safely. As we move forward, we will continue to conduct risk assessments and evaluate where health and safety measures can be adapted and/or further applied. I want to assure you that my team and I are leaving no stone unturned as we prepare to welcome back our families. 

Virtual Town Halls next week:

Please join me and members of our leadership team for one of three optional Virtual Town Halls where STS community members can ask questions and gain clarity around our STS Campus Re-entry Plan, on Tuesday, August 18. To register, please click on the Town Hall session of your choice below:

  1. 8:00 – 9:30 am, Tuesday, August 18
  2. 12:00 – 1:30 pm, Tuesday, August 18
  3. 5:00 – 6:30 pm, Tuesday, August 18

Online learning poll:

Once you have reviewed our STS Campus Re-entry Plan, if you are still considering keeping your children at home this fall please complete this poll so we can follow up with you to discuss your family’s needs.

Back-to-School Handbook:

In July, all STS families received a Back-to-School Handbook to help prepare for the upcoming school-year. This contains detailed information about uniforms, co-curriculars, athletics, clubs, school supplies, technology, timetables, volunteer opportunities, etc. An updated version of this handbook, based on our campus re-opening plan, will be distributed via email later next week.

It is truly an understatement to say that we are living in challenging and dynamic times, but at the same time, I feel an immense sense of joy and hope in anticipation of seeing our students and employees back on campus in a few weeks. Each of us in our STS community has a role to play in being vigilant as we return to campus this fall, and I look forward to working with you, confident that we can and will do this well.  Thank you for your continued support and patience.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please connect with your Division Principal or me.

Respectfully,

 

Carol Grant-Watt

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School, Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School 

Resource added: Government of Alberta Resource Guide For Covid-19 in (K-12) School Settings 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated with important information from Alberta Health in the following sections:

  • Safer Together
    • Face Masks
  • Healthy Policies
    • Isolation and Communication Protocols
    • Face Masks

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections:

  • Supporting Students
    • Athletics
    • Physical Education (PE)
  • Elementary School
    • Lunch
  • Middle School
    • Lunch
    • Physical Education
  • Senior School
    • Lunch
    • Change Rooms

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections:

  • Supporting Students
    • Athletics 
  • Middle School 
    • Athletics 
  • Senior School 
    • Athletics 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections: 

  • Healthy Policies 
    • Isolation and Communication Protocols 
  • Middle School 
    • Uniforms 
    • Physical Education 
  • Senior School 
    • Uniforms 

The STS Campus Re-entry plan has been updated in the following section: 

  • Supporting Students 
    • Athletics 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following section: 

  • Healthy Policies
    • Student Illness during COVID-19 

Important clarifications regarding international travel

We have received several inquiries regarding travel in light of the new International Border Testing Program that has been launched at the Calgary airport. While participating in the pilot could lead to shorter quarantines when returning to Canada, there are a few important clarifications to keep in mind: 

  • Participants in the pilot are prohibited from certain settings during the course of the pilot, most importantly, schools, as stated here:

“Participants are prohibited from certain settings during the course of the pilot including School and child care: Child care programs (for example daycare, out of school care), K to 12 schools and post-secondary institutions - attendees, students in schools and staff who work in these settings cannot go back to these settings until they have their second test and have received a negative result”

  • The second test can occur on Day 6 or 7 after returning to Canada, and timing for the results varies.
  • If anyone in the household has symptoms at the time of entry back to Canada, they will not be able to participate in the pilot.
  • All family members who have travelled and are part of the pilot program cannot attend any cohorted activities outside of school for 14-days, including dance, sports, music, etc.
  • All families must have a 14-day full quarantine back-up plan.

Even with this pilot in place, Alberta Health is still asking us to continue to avoid unnecessary travel outside of Canada — and if you do travel, be aware of strict protocols surrounding quarantines etc. and to have a back up plan. With this in mind, we respectfully ask that you carefully consider any travel plans and potential impacts to our school community. 

You can find more information about the International Border Testing Program and travel restrictions here: https://www.alberta.ca/international-border-pilot-project.aspx

https://www.Dear STS families,

Dear STS families,

With cases of COVID-19 rising rapidly in our province, creating added pressure on our healthcare system, health officials are very concerned. Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw made several recommendations for added measures to the Priorities Implementation Cabinet Committee. As a result, Premier Kenney said today, “Alberta’s government is declaring a state of public health emergency and putting aggressive measures in place to protect the health system and reduce the rising spread of COVID-19 cases…..We are reminded of the profound human impact of this crisis, and must act together to stop the spike, protecting both lives and livelihoods.”

This afternoon Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, and Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services, held a news conference to announce new measures to help Alberta slow the spread of COVID-19.

The new measures announced today that directly impact schools include:

·        All students in Alberta in Grades 7 to 12 will start at-home learning Monday, November 30, 2020, until the beginning of the winter break.  

·        All students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will remain in school for in-person learning until the winter break.

·        School winter break closures are mandated from December 18 to January 11. Note: This is when our STS winter break is scheduled anyway.

You can view the full news release and watch today’s news conference in full here:

Our Leadership Team has been invited to a meeting with the Deputy Minister tomorrow, which will help us to work through exactly how these changes will impact our students, families, and employees. We will provide a more detailed action plan tomorrow.

Thank you for your strength, determination, and empathy during this ongoing, and at times seemingly relentless, situation. Please know that we truly understand that this has been a long road, and that you are fatigued and want nothing more than for this pandemic to end and for life to return to normal. I sincerely hope for that too and am confident that there is much light at the end of this tunnel.

For now, we remain in this together, and I am grateful for the joy that can be found on our campus every day, and our community’s continued support for our school and one another. We can only do this if we continue to stay connected in positive and productive ways, remain nimble, and follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services.

 

Please visit our STS COVID-19 website to reference these new measures, and other helpful COVID-19 resources, and as always, please do reach out to your Division Principal or me if you have any concerns and questions. We will be in touch soon with more information.

Sincerely, 

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School  

Please visit our STS COVID-19 website to reference these new measures, and other helpful COVID-19 resources, and as always, please do reach out to your Division Principal or me if you have any concerns and questions. We will be in touch soon with more information.strathconatweedsmuir.com/covid19-updates/who-to-contact/

Dear STS families,

I hope that you have enjoyed a rejuvenating break. As announced by Minister LaGrange earlier this week, all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be able to return to in-person learning on the STS campus, starting Monday, January 11, 2021. My team and I have carefully reviewed all scenarios and possible implications related to this decision, and we are very pleased to welcome our students back on campus, and feel confident that they and our employees are returning to a safe space.

With that said, I want to reaffirm a few key points:

  • If you travelled outside of Canada over the break, we ask that your children do not return to campus until they have been back at home for 14 days. If school starts before they have been home for 14 days, they will be able to engage in online learning during that period. Please contact your Division Principal via Managebac if your children will not be returning to in-person learning January 11.
  • It is imperative that every student and employee continues to conduct the Daily Screening Questionnaires before coming to school, to determine if an individual is allowed to attend school. You can find the questionnaire here: COVID 19 updates resources
  • As we return to campus, the health and safety of our whole STS community is dependent on each of us continuing to be committed to playing a role in our layered approach, especially being attentive to the “big three” — masks, hygiene, and physical distancing. We ask if you are on school property to please wear masks – even when outside dropping-off or picking-up your children.
  • In-person co-curricular activities will continue to be on hold as we await further direction from the Alberta Government and Alberta Health regarding the current restrictions in place. Your Division Principals will update you as the situation around co-curriculars evolves.
  • Regular bus service will resume for all students on January 11. Please note: We will not be running the early or late bus for at least the first two weeks of school as on-campus co-curricular activities are on hold. We will notify families when the early and late service starts again.
  • As we have said throughout the pandemic, this situation can change rapidly. If there are any changes regarding students returning to campus next week we will inform you immediately.
  • We have a good plan and strong leadership. In conjunction with Alberta Health and Alberta Education guidelines, our plan was designed with a core focus on who we are as a school and community. We also continue to be in close contact with a specific Alberta Health representative whose role is to provide us with updates and guidance as this situation evolves. Please continue to trust the plan and processes we have in place.
  • Transparency will remain a top priority. We will continue to clearly and consistently communicate any developments that impact our school community with you directly. To stay up-to-date on STS related updates please check our COVID-19 Updates webpages regularly.
  • Please keep in mind that families each make different personal decisions within the protocols and restrictions outlined by the Alberta Government and as a community we encourage you to lead with kindness and to maintain the privacy of others.

With your help, I remain confident that we can and will do this well, understanding that this situation is not easy. That said, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. While it may have been difficult at times, there is also abundant joy and hope to be found on our campus every day, and I sincerely appreciate our community’s continued support for our school and one another.

As always, please do reach out to your Division Principal or me if you have any concerns and questions.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone next week!

With respect,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections:

  • Supporting Students
    • Uniforms 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections:

  • Safer Together
    • Masks
  • Healthy Buildings
    • Portable plexiglass trifolds
    • Washrooms
  • Healthy Classrooms
    • Outdoor classrooms
  • Healthy Schedules
    • Limiting transitions
    • Lunch
  • Healthy Activities
    • Outside
    • Music and theatre activities
  • Healthy Policies
    • Daily self-screening
    • Masks
  • Supporting Students
    • Athletics
    • Timetable
    • Uniforms
  • Elementary School
    • Lunch
  • Middle School
    • Options classes
    • Arts Program
  • Senior School
    • Band

Join the STS Prefects as they walk you through what to expect when you get to campus on Monday, August 31, 2020.

Dear STS families,

As I am sure you are aware, several schools in Alberta have reported cases of COVID-19. As outlined by Alberta Health and the Government’s back-to-school guidelines, any time one case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school, that school is put on “Alert” status, and Alberta Health will work directly with them to communicate with families and limit the risk of spread.

Please know that as of today, STS has no reported cases, but it remains important that we are all vigilant in following our protocols and are prepared for a potential case in the future. If that happens, we have put in place numerous procedures to limit interactions between cohorts, in hopes that we can mitigate the risk of spread and avoid impact to the day-to-day operations of the school as a whole.

With that said, I want to reaffirm a few key points:

  1. The health and safety of our whole STS community is dependent on each of us being committed to playing a role in our layered approach, especially being attentive to the “big three”masks, hygiene, and physical distancing. We ask if you are on school property to please wear masks – even when outside dropping-off or picking-up your children.
  2. It is imperative that every student and employee conducts the Daily Screening Questionnaire before coming to school. If an individual answers YES to any of the questions, they are not allowed to attend school. You can find the questionnaire here: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/edc-covid-19-screening-questionaire-english.pdf
  3. If you answer yes to ANY of the questions on the Daily Screening Questionnaire, it is important to do a “Self-Assessment” through the AHS website. The assessment tool will provide direction on actions you will need to take. You can find the Self-Assessment tool here: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/journey/covid-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx
  4. We have a good plan and strong leadership. In conjunction with Alberta Health and Alberta Education guidelines, our plan was designed with a core focus on who we are as a school and community. We also continue to be in close contact with a specific Alberta Health representative whose role is to provide us with updates and guidance as this situation evolves. Please trust the plan and processes we have in place.
  5. Transparency will remain a top priority. We will clearly and consistently communicate any developments that impact our school community with you directly. To stay up-to-date on STS related updates please check our COVID-19 Updates webpages regularly. https://www.strathconatweedsmuir.com/covid19-updates/

With your help, I remain confident that we can and will do this well, understanding that this situation is not easy. Each of us is travelling a different path and at times we are digging deep. While it may have been difficult at times, there is also abundant joy and hope to be found on our campus every day, and I sincerely appreciate our community’s continued support for our school and one another.

As always, please do reach out to your Division Principal or me if you have any concerns and questions.

With respect,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following sections: 

  • Healthy Activities 
  • Supporting Students 
    • Fine Arts
  • Middle School 
    • Arts
  • Senior School 
    • Senior School Band 

The STS Campus Re-entry Plan has been updated in the following section: 

  • Supporting Parents 
    • COVID-19 Guidance for Parents of Children attending school 

Dear STS families, 

As per communication we received yesterday from Andre Corbould, Deputy Minister of Education, and as outlined in the daily update provided by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, some changes have been made to Alberta COVID-19 protocols that impact families with school-age children, including the COVID-19 Alberta Health daily checklist being revised.

As said by Mr. Corbould:

These evidence-based changes are needed to lessen the number of students who are required to isolate without sufficient cause and to address the growing demand on our health system for symptomatic testing, while maintaining student and staff safety….these changes in the daily checklist will help ensure we focus testing, decrease wait times and get Albertans who are under 18 years of age back into the classroom and participating in activities as quickly and safely as possible, while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Updates regarding daily checklists take effect on Monday, November 2 and include:

  • A new Alberta Health daily checklist for children under 18 has been released and applies to Albertans under 18. This also applies to individuals who are 18 and over and are attending high school. The new checklist is available here.
  • All other Albertans who are 18 and over, including school staff, will continue to use the Alberta Health daily checklist that was previously posted online.
  • Symptoms of runny nose and sore throat have been removed from the mandatory isolation checklist for Albertans under 18.
  • The core isolation symptoms for children are now one (or more) of the following: cough, fever, loss of taste or smell and shortness of breath. If a child has any of these core symptoms:
    • They are to isolate for 10 days OR have a negative COVID-19 test result and feel better before they return to school or other activities.
  • If a child has one of the following symptoms: chills; sore throat or painful swallowing; runny nose or congestion; feeling unwell or fatigue; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; unexplained loss of appetite; muscle or joint aches; headache; or conjunctivitis (pink eye):
    • The child should stay home and monitor for 24 hours.
    • If their symptom is improving after 24 hours, they can return to school/activities when they feel well enough to attend. Testing is not recommended.
    • If the symptom worsens after 24 hours, or if additional symptoms emerge, or if the child has any two symptoms from this second list, they are to continue to stay home, and testing is recommended but not required. The child can return to activities and school when their symptoms have resolved AND it has been 24 hours or more since their symptoms started.

STS remains committed to adhering to Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education protocols as they evolve, and to keeping you informed and safe. Please visit our STS COVID-19 website to reference these changes, the new daily checklist, and other helpful COVID-19 resources, and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Call to action from Dr. Hinshaw: 

As outlined by Dr. Hinshaw in one of her daily updates this week, in Alberta we are at a critical juncture in this pandemic – and numbers of cases over the next week will show if new protocols around smaller group gatherings (15 max) etc. are working. The Alberta government is trying to avoid further restrictions but it may be necessary of we don’t see numbers start to go down again.

Dr. Hinshaw also said that it is in our hands and that collectively, we can continue to take precautions to reverse current trends, including:

  • Avoid close contact with those outside of your household
  • Consider postponing social gatherings
  • Stay home and get tested if you are sick
  • Practice good hand hygiene and consistent masking

You can find up-to-date information on the pandemic situation in Alberta here: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx

 

 

Dear STS families,

I need to share with you that a positive COVID-19 case has been identified in one of our Grade 5 classes. Our immediate and continued focus is the safety and care of every individual in our building, and specifically, our thoughts are with the affected individual and their family. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer them any support we can provide. The family is to be commended for the cooperation they have provided, which has allowed us to move quickly and avoid any additional risk to our greater community. Please join me in supporting them with your thoughts and well wishes.

What we are doing:

  • We are working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect students and employees.
  • AHS protocols require all individuals in close contact with a case to self-isolate for 14 days, and COVID-19 testing is recommended. AHS will be contacting parents/guardians of students, as well as any employees/visitors/volunteers who may have been in close contact with the case. Given the information we have at this time, transmission appears to have occurred outside the STS school community.
  • The Grade 5 students impacted today were picked up by parent/guardians this afternoon, and learning for those students will continue online. Employees identified as close contacts have also gone home.
  • Our STS team is also currently contacting those who may have been in close contact with the case. Please know if you have not been personally contacted by the end of today, there is no cause for further action at this time.
  • Students in Grades 5 – 12 have also being notified of the situation, and our Student Services team including Lori Gonzalez, Guidance Counsellor, and the Learning Strategist in each Division are available to meet with students as needed.
  • We will be deep-cleaning affected areas on campus tonight.
  • As we manage this situation, we remain strongly committed to taking our lead from Alberta Health Services, and to keeping you informed and safe, while ensuring the confidentiality in all matters related to student and employee health information.

What you can do:

  • To those who are required to isolate, please know that we are here to support you in whichever way we can. We appreciate that this is likely an anxiety-provoking time for you and your families. 
  • As per AHS guidelines, family members of close contacts, including siblings, are not required to self-isolate. With that said, we support the decisions you make that are best for your family.
  • We remind all community members to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found on our COVID-19 updates webpage. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Trevor Julian, Deputy Head, or your Division Principal (Mr. Mahadevan, Ms. Richmond, or Ms. Conway) with questions, thoughts or concerns.
  • Ms. Tara Leece, School Nurse, is available to answer any health-related questions you may have. 
  • There are helpful resources available on the AHS website including:

We are here to support you, and can only do this if we continue to stay connected in positive and productive ways, and follow the guidance of Alberta Health Services.

We anticipate we will receive further direction from AHS in the days ahead, and will continue to communicate with you as the situation evolves. Thank you for your strength, compassion, and empathy during this time. We are truly all in this together, and I am grateful for each of you and the work you are doing to keep our school safe. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School 

Dear STS families,

Yesterday, Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta and announced new strong restrictions to help Alberta slow the spread of COVID-19. You can see the full news release here.

The Alberta Government commended schools, students, and their families for their collective work thus far.

“We truly appreciate all your efforts to follow the health measures and to keep students and staff safe. I’d like to thank everyone in the school system for their dedication to continue student learning both in-class and at-home during this unprecedented school year,” Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.

They also said that these decisions were made after careful consideration and are based on the advice of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. While in-school transmission appears to be occurring at relatively low levels over the past three months, the temporary shift to at-home learning for Middle and Senior School students will help limit the spread of COVID-19 as well as alleviate operational and learning challenges. Requiring all students to stay home from school until January 11 is also intended to help reduce the impact of any exposures over the holidays.

Specific details pertaining to STS students:

  • All students in Alberta in Grades 7 to 12 will start at-home learning on Monday, November 30 until the beginning of the winter break on December 19, 2020. 
  • All students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will remain in school for in-person learning and will continue to follow all protocols already in place until the winter break.
  • STS’ winter break will run December 18, 2020 to January 11, 2021, as per the school calendar. 
  • Alberta schools are not closed for the November 30 to December 18 timeframe. Our campus will remain open for Kindergarten to Grade 6 instruction, and all faculty will be on-site. While instruction for students in Grades 7 to 12 has been moved to at-home learning, students and parents can still access the building for a range of reasons, i.e. picking up or dropping of materials assignments or supplies, using school internet to download/upload, parent-teacher meetings, supplemental support, etc. Protocols for accessing the school and campus will be forthcoming and coordinated by Division Principals. All COVID-19 protocols and Alberta Health Services (AHS) requirements will continue to be followed.
  • This morning, in conversation with the Deputy Minister of Education, we learned that there may be some flexibility in providing on-site support and services for our Grades 7 to 12 students. Further information about campus accessibility for students will be shared via ManageBac as we gain clarity from AHS.
  • All diploma exams for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year are optional. Students will receive an exemption if they choose not to write an exam, however if an exam is written it will continue to be worth 30 percent of their final mark. The decision to write diploma exams resides with students and their families. Families are invited to discuss this decision with Mr. Anand Mahadevan, Senior School Principal.
  • Students in Grades 7 to 12 should make sure that they are taking home material from their lockers this week that will help them with work from home, i.e. textbooks, workbooks, chargers, phones. Any food or other material that may spoil needs to be cleaned out of the lockers.
  • Bussing will continue as normal for regular routes with regular timing. It is possible for Grade 7 to 12 students to ride the bus to or from school if they have a meeting or scheduled tutorial. There will be no early or late bus during the month of December.
  • Black Watch Bistro service will continue to operate as normal.
  • Currently, we expect all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 to return to learning at school, in-person, on Monday, January 11, after our winter break. This will depend on the effectiveness of these new measures in slowing the spread of COVID-19 over the next six weeks.

You can reference these new measures, and other helpful COVID-19 resources on our STS COVID-19 Updates website, and as always, please do reach out to your Division Principals (Jennifer Conway, Jessica Richmond and Anand Mahadevan)  or me if you have any concerns and questions. Please also let us know how it's going over the next three weeks before the winter break begins – we want to ensure we are making any necessary tweaks along the way to be made to support student learning and wellbeing. 

We will continue to do what is best for our students under these new measures, and to communicate with you every step of the way. I know this is challenging. I encourage each of us to take this time to focus on doing whatever we can to keep our STS and greater community safe. There is nothing we want more than for our families to be healthy and to have all of our students back at school.

We have done this before, we have learned a lot along the way, and we are ready to do this again. We also have every confidence that our students will manage this temporary change well, with focus, compassion, and patience.

I know that together, we’ve got this!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School