STS has designed its re-entry plan based on the K to 12 School Re-entry Plan released by the Alberta Government, as well as guidance from experts at the CDC (2020), Sick Kids Hospital (2020) and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Jones et al., 2020). We also collaborate closely with CAIS schools in Calgary and review plans of other schools and school divisions in Alberta and beyond for best practices.
STS will be using a layered approach as well as an on-site phased start program to support the safety of students and employees at school. A layered approach uses multiple controls to reduce infection risks and are outlined in the STS Campus Re-entry Plan. An on-site phased start means that while all students and staff will be on campus from August 31, academic and co-curricular activities will start in a staggered fashion. This will help support our focus on the teaching and learning of public-health measures to keep students and staff safe during this pandemic. We expect to offer most regular year school activities by September 14.
Before coming to school each day, all staff and students must complete the Government of Alberta’s COVID-19 Information Screening Questionnaire to determine whether they can attend school that day (this is a self-check and the form does not have to be submitted). Members of the community must stay at home and follow the COVID self-assessment tool protocols if they have COVID-like symptoms. Students must stay home and use the online component of our Hybrid Learning Model until they are cleared to return to school by qualified medical personnel (AHS, family doctor).
Only Elementary School students may enter or exit the school building from the bus loop doors.
Middle and Senior School students arriving and departing on buses will enter and exit the school building through the Cross doors.
Drop-off and pick-up procedures: Parents who come to drop-off or pick-up their children are asked to not enter the school and to maintain a safe distance between themselves and others if waiting outside.
- Kindergarten to Grade 2: Parents can park in the visitor parking lot and drop-off students with faculty near the bus loop doors. At the end of the day, arrangements will be made to have children in Kindergarten to Grade 2 brought out by faculty to meet their parents;
- Grade 3-6 parents can drop-off and pick-up their children at the visitor parking lot;
- Grade 7-9 parents can drop-off and pick-up their children in front of the Strathcona doors;
- Grade 10-12 parents can drop-off and pick-up their children in front of the Cross doors;
- Parents with children in multiple grades should coordinate with their children such that the drop-off and pick-up happens at the location for the youngest child.
Limiting transitions: Students will stay in their homeroom classes and teachers will travel to classrooms to limit large groups of students moving in the hallways. Students will sanitize their hands and wear masks when transitioning between classrooms, and they may take their plexiglass trifolds with them as needed.
Students in Grades 4 to 12, all employees, and permitted visitors to the school must wear a mask in high traffic areas as per government protocols. Students in Kindergarten - Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in class and will be required to wear a mask during transition times an in hallways.
- Students will be provided with reusable masks from Alberta Education.
- Parents are encouraged to purchase additional masks that fit their children as well, so that children have cleans masks every day.
- Students with medical conditions who need exemptions to mask usage must provide a physician’s note to the Division Principal.
- Masks that have patterns or images should be appropriate for a K-12 school (e.g. no scary or inappropriate imagery or provocative text).
- When not wearing a mask, they should be stored in a paper bag, envelope, or something that does not retain moisture if will be worn again (as outlined here by Health Canada). STS will have paper bags on hand for students and employees to use.
- Please review Alberta’s mask guidance at: https://www.alberta.ca/masks.aspx
When not wearing a mask, they should be stored in a paper bag, envelope, or something that does not retain moisture if will be worn again (as outlined here by Health Canada). STS will have paper bags on hand for students and employees to use.
- Elementary School students will continue to have access to recess, which will occur outside as much as possible.
- Middle and Senior School students will be encouraged to spend lunchtime outside as long as weather permits.
- Whenever possible, physical education activities will take place outside and will be modified to increase physical distancing.
- Activities are being modified to limit the sharing of materials among students.
- Music and theatre activities are being modified to avoid singing, voice projection and the use of wind instruments. Students playing wind instruments will be supported through online instruction.
- Co-curricular activities will be supervised by staff and modified to ensure physical distancing and safety of participants.
- The use of our extensive school grounds and outdoor spaces will be maximized.
- Multiple doors will be used as entrances and exits to promote physical distancing for staff and students;
- Spatial distancing: To the extent possible, students from three school Divisions and learning communities will be sequestered in specific zones of the school to limit cross-over between Divisions and students of different age-cohorts.
- Occupancy limits: Rooms will have signage with designated occupancy limits to restrict the number of students and employees using the space.
- Unidirectional movement: Major hallways and stairwells have signs marking the direction of flow of traffic as well as additional visual cues to remind students to maintain physical distancing.
- Furniture in the rotunda, hallways, and learning commons will be spaced apart and reduced in number to meet physical distancing guidelines.
- Child-friendly signage has been created and will be located across campus to promote hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, use of hand sanitizer, physical distancing, not sharing items, and use of masks will be placed throughout the school, including exits and high traffic areas, as well as above every hand-washing and hand-sanitizing station.
- Washrooms will be designated for use by specific learning groups or by Division.
- The number of students in a washroom will be restricted to allow for physical distancing
- Six large tents with furniture have been set up to provide outdoor classrooms for students and staff to use. Outdoor classrooms will be cleaned every night using the same protocols as indoor classrooms.
- Students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff must wear masks in high traffic areas as per government protocols. K-3 students are strongly encouraged to wear masks at school. Depending on the activity, classroom size, etc. students may be able to remove their masks when seated in class behind their personal plexiglass barrier.
- Students must sanitize hands when entering or exiting classrooms.
- To the extent possible, students will stay in their classroom groupings throughout the day.
- Within classrooms, students will have assigned seating to support Alberta Health Services’ outbreak response plan.
- All classrooms will be decluttered to facilitate physical distancing.
- Use of shared items or equipment will be avoided where possible. Equipment that must be shared will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
- Soft furnishings in the classroom that cannot be easily cleaned and disinfected will be removed.
- Classroom technology is being enhanced to accommodate learning needs for students both in-person and online including:
- Over the summer, two HyFlex classrooms have been outfitted to develop teacher capacity for immersive and engaging learning experiences to be used with students regardless of their location.
- Audio-visual equipment is being added to classrooms to improve the quality of the recorded or live-streamed experience for online students.
- Direct instruction may be live-streamed (synchronous teaching) as appropriate; alternatively, recordings of direct instruction will be available via the learning management system to accommodate students unable to join live-classes.
- Training videos and one-on-one support will be available to families to support student success with online learning.
- Every student will have their own device (BYOD from Grade 8 onwards, and school provided devices for K-7), and sharing of devices is not permitted.
- Online learning will be supervised by a classroom teacher who will work as part of a team.
- If the classroom teacher is legally required to stay away from school due to AHS isolation protocols, a substitute teacher will supervise the students in the classroom, and the students’ teacher may lead lessons remotely.
Student transportation is provided by Southland Transportation who will work with the School to adhere to the following safety measures:
- Bus drivers will be trained in health protocols.
- Buses will be disinfected twice daily.
- Students must not board a bus if they are displaying COVID-like symptoms.
- Students will be assigned seats. Students who live in the same household will be seated together.
- Students will load from the back seats to the front of the bus.
- Students will unload from the front seats to the back of the bus.
- Students will unload from the front seats to the back of the bus.
- All students (K-12) will be required to wear masks at all times unless they have a medical exemption on record in accordance with AHS guidelines. Bus drivers will have spare disposable face masks for both younger and older students if they arrive on the bus without a mask.
- Bus windows will be kept at least partially open to promote air ventilation. We plan to do this as much as possible, but may be weather dependent.
- Only Elementary School students may enter or exit the school building from the bus loop doors.
- Middle and Senior School students arriving and departing on buses will enter and exit the school building through the Cross doors.
Students will be isolated in the care facility by the school nurse based on up-to-date AHS protocols. Families will be notified to pick up their child and will be provided support on next steps.
The school has hired an experienced nurse who will:
- Coordinate with the local AHS Zonal Officer to ensure that the school receives the latest advice and protocols;
- Advise staff and students on best practices for maintaining a high level of hygiene;
- Support and augment prevention measures for COVID-19 and other communicable diseases;
- Provide early and trained response to students who show symptoms or signs of illness.
- Communication with families and school stakeholders will be timely and based on AHS protocols and privacy legislation.
- As directed by Alberta Health, STS will work collaboratively with Alberta Health and AHS to effectively address potential outbreaks of COVID-19 in our school setting. Please refer to the Figure below outlining the alert and outbreak notification process.
Parents/guardians are asked not to enter the school building and to remain outside for pick-ups and drop-offs. If a parent must enter the building, they should check-in at the front reception desk and follow the instructions of school staff.
Volunteers and visitors into the school building will be kept at a minimum and will be screened at the front desk. If a visitor is permitted to enter the school, they will be required to fill out the COVID screen questionnaire, provide information for contact tracing, wear a mask, and will be escorted to their destination (e.g. Tweeds & More).
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is committed to supporting the learning of all students in-class and online. As the scope and nature of the pandemic changes, so will our response evolve to support the health of all members of our community. Please note that the STS Campus Re-entry Plan and guidance will be updated as needed and any changes will be communicated to all members of our community.
Staff and teachers at STS recognize and appreciate that the challenges of physical isolation and remote learning have different impacts on different students. While many students are excited for the social connection and support offered by in-class learning, some will be anxious. Teachers and staff will work closely with families to support the social and emotional needs of our students as we transition back to in-person learning. Supports will be available from the school nurse, Elementary, Middle, and Senior school learning strategists as well as the school’s guidance counselor.
Parents are encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher/advisor or the Division Principal for in-school support.
Consideration of the following can help set up students for success:
- Focus on the positives and what they are looking forward to about school.
- Provide reassurance and help your child to feel understood and supported.
- Focus on what you can control and help children identify situations they can control and apply practical strategies to reduce anxiety.
- Get back into school routines at least a week early – waking up, eating, going to bed at regular times.
- Stick to familiar routines as much as possible.
- Allow for extra time the first day so you are not rushed.
- Practice wearing a face mask.
- Access additional resources for social emotional support here: https://www.strathconatweedsmuir.com/covid19-updates/additional-support-resources/
Synchronous learning happens in real time. This would be offered through platforms such as Zoom. In synchronous learning, students who are at home would interact with their teacher and classmates through an online medium at a specific time. Alternatively, asynchronous learning means students at home would be provided with materials and pre-recorded lessons by their teacher to be completed at a schedule that does not need to match classroom schedules. Please note that in both cases, students will have access to support from teachers through email and regular contact. Synchronous support occurs during class time and asynchronous support occurs outside class time.
A symptomatic individual who tests negative for COVID-19, will stay home until symptoms resolve, unless they have been identified as a close contact of a CONFIRMED case (in which case they will be required to quarantine for 14 days). Refer to Appendix E below from the Government of Alberta Resource Guide for COVID-19 in (K-12) School Settings document:
Any students who would like a purchased lunch will need to pre-order their lunch from a set menu. The Black Watch Bistro (cafeteria) will have a set menu for Kindergarten – Grade 2 and Grades 3 – 4 on the website. Meals that are pre-ordered will be delivered to the students. Kindergarten - Grade 2 students will eat in their learning studios, Grades 3 – 4 will use DaVinci 1 and learning studios, and Grades 5 - 6 will physically distance within the Black Watch Bistro. All microwaves will be removed from the cafeteria so lunches brought from home cannot be heated.
A 40-minute lunch period has been set aside for Middle School students between 11:20 and 12 noon on most days. Students should remain in cohorts for lunch unless they can safely physically distance (e.g. outside areas). Students will have space to eat both in the Black Watch Bistro which has been adapted for physical distancing as well as in the Atrium which has additional seating. Weather permitting, students are encouraged to eat outside.
A 40-minute lunch period has been set aside for Senior School students between 12:35 and 1:15 pm on most days. Students should remain in cohorts for lunch unless they can safely physically distance (e.g. outside areas). Students will have space to eat both in the Black Watch Bistro which has been adapted for physical distancing as well as in the Atrium which has additional seating. Weather permitting, students are encouraged to eat outside.
Students will remain in class cohorts: e.g. 1A and 1B would remain in their individual classes. When possible, specialist teachers will move to the students in order to minimize transitions. The Learning Communities (Kindergarten-Grade 2, Grades 3-4, Grades 5-6) are learning groups who will have their own entrances, washrooms, lunch areas and recess areas.
The boot rooms will be utilized by one Grade per Learning Community to allow for physical distancing. For example, students in Grade 2 will use the boot room while the Kindergarten and Grade 1 students will need to keep their items with them in the studio.
Students will remain in Learning Communities for recess activities. Students will wash their hands before and after recess. Each Learning Community will have an area outside that supports physical distancing and each grade will have their own area outside. Recess supervisors will also remind students to maintain physical distancing.
Students will be assigned a homeroom location by section (e.g. 7A, 8B, 9C etc.) for all core classes (English, social, science, math). Students will remain in their homeroom and teachers will travel to the students. Students should remain in cohorts for lunch unless they can safely physically distance (e.g. outside areas). When students need to travel outside their homeroom (e.g. for science labs, language learning, or to the design or arts studio), they will sanitize their hands, wear masks, and move to the new room. They will wear masks (if appropriate) in their new room for all activities and sanitize their hands before returning to the homeroom. Students may take their trifolds with them as needed.
Students have increased choices and responsibilities in Senior School. While cohorting will be used in Grade 10, students will be expected to wear masks, wash their hands regularly, use plexiglass trifolds, and physical distancing as multiple layers of protective strategy for infection control.
Grade 10 students will be assigned a homeroom (e.g. 10A, 10B, 10C) and will remain in a cohort grouping for all their core classes.
When students need to travel outside their homeroom (e.g. for science labs, language classes and options classes), they will sanitize their hands, wear face masks and move to the new room. They will wear face masks (if appropriate) in their new room for all activities and sanitize their hands before returning to the homeroom.
Grade 11 and 12 students will not be in homeroom cohorts due to the variety of options classes. They are cohorted by grade level.
Most Middle and Senior School students will be assigned a locker. Where a cohort does not have access to a locker, bins will be provided to support students in their homeroom classes. Each Grade 11 and 12 student will be assigned a locker to store books and clothes.