Important Updates

Dear families,

Please let me begin by apologizing for the recent flurry of communication coming from the School. It has been necessary in order to meet our commitment to you to remain transparent and provide timely updates in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. I sincerely look forward to the day when these kinds of communication are not necessary anymore, but for now we continue to take things a day at a time, keep you up-to-date along the way, and appreciate your support and understanding.

We have recently been notified that we have a second positive case of COVID-19 in our Grade 5 cohort, which brings our total positive cases at STS to five (three students and two employees). It is important to note that we are not in outbreak status as the cases are not in the same cohort. Our thoughts are with the affected individuals and their families. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer any support we can provide.

Please know if you have not been personally contacted thus far, there is no cause for further action at this time.

As outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS), those individuals who were notified as being possibly exposed can continue to come to the school in-person, UNLESS they are notified by AHS that they must stay home OR if they develop symptoms. If any exposed individuals develop symptoms, they must isolate immediately and should be tested for COVID-19.

As we go into our upcoming wellness break, this is what you can do to help reduce the risk of spread to others:

  • Please avoid large indoor gatherings, i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. (even among grade cohorts) and avoid mixing of students outside of their STS grade cohort groups as much as possible in and out of school.
  • 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, 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:

I am sure we are all grateful for our wellness break starting tomorrow as it gives us an opportunity to pause. Our Leadership Team continues to monitor the situation closely and will update you as needed. Thank you for your support, understanding, and doing all you can to help keep our school safe. I wish you all the best over the break.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear families,

Today we were notified that two additional members of our community have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19, which impacts our Grade 2 cohort, as well as several groups of students and a few faculty members in our Middle and Senior School. This brings our total positive cases at STS to four (two students and two employees). It is important to note that we are not in outbreak status as the cases are not in the same cohort.

Our thoughts are with the affected individuals and their families. We wish them a quick recovery and continue to offer any support we can provide.

Please know if you have not been personally contacted thus far, there is no cause for further action at this time.

As outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS), those individuals who were notified as being possibly exposed can continue to come to the school in-person, UNLESS they are notified by AHS that they must stay home OR if they develop symptoms. If any exposed individuals develop symptoms, they must isolate immediately and should be tested for COVID-19.

To help reduce the risk of spread to others, here is what you can do:

  • Please avoid large indoor gatherings, i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. (even among grade cohorts) and avoid mixing of students outside of their STS grade cohort groups as much as possible in and out of school.

  • 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, 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:

It seems our wellness break starting on Wednesday is coming at a good time to allow us an opportunity to pause. Our Leadership Team continues to monitor the situation closely and will update you as needed. Thank you for your support, understanding, and doing all you can to help keep our school safe. I want to reiterate our commitment to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family and wish you all the best over the break.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear families,

Today we were notified that a member of our faculty was diagnosed positive for COVID-19. 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 know if you have not been personally contacted thus far, there is no cause for further action at this time.

As outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS), close contacts can continue to come to the school in-person, UNLESS they are notified by AHS that they must stay home OR if they develop symptoms. If any close contacts develop symptoms, they must isolate immediately and should be tested for COVID-19. 

To help reduce the risk of spread to others, here is what you can do: 

  • Please avoid large indoor gatherings, i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. (even among grade cohorts) and avoid mixing of students outside of their STS grade cohort groups as much as possible in and out of school.
  • 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, 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:

Our Leadership Team is closely monitoring the situation and meeting on a regular basis throughout the weekend. We will continue to update you as needed.

Thank you for your support and understanding. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning and to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family. Thank you for all you do to help keep our school safe.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear families,

Today, we were notified regarding a positive COVID-19 case at STS which impacts our Grade 5 cohort. 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.

As outlined by Alberta Health Services (AHS), close contacts in a cohort can continue to attend school, UNLESS they are notified by AHS that they must stay home OR if they develop symptoms. If any member of a cohort develops symptoms, they must isolate immediately and should be tested for COVID-19.

 

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:

  • We remind all community members to avoid large indoor gatherings, i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. and to avoid mixing of students outside of their STS grade cohort groups as much as possible in and out of school, to help reduce the risk of spread to others.
  • Please 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.
  • We remind all community members to avoid large indoor gatherings, i.e. birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. and to avoid mixing of students outside of their STS grade cohort groups as much as possible in and out of school, to help reduce the risk of spread to others.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, 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. I want to reiterate our commitment to student learning and to supporting you in making the personal decisions best for your family.

We will continue to 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.

Sincerely,

 

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt

Head of School

 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has asked that we share the following information with our school community:

On October 18 Health Canada received a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech seeking authorization for the use of its Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 11 years of age. As with all COVID-19 vaccines, Health Canada will prioritize the review of this submission, while maintaining its high scientific standards for safety, efficacy, and quality. Read the statement from Health Canada. At this time, the vaccine is approved ONLY for children 12 years and over. In order to be prepared for Health Canada’s decision, Alberta Health Services wants to hear from Alberta parents of children between the ages of 5 and 11. Please share your thoughts via this survey here (survey closes November 8).

Dear STS community,

I have two important updates for you as a result of announcements made by Premier Kenney,  Minister LaGrange, Minister Copping, and Dr. Hinshaw at yesterday’s press conference regarding new measures to further protect students, and school staff and communities. You can view the press conference here

 

1. UPDATED HEALTH MEASURES RELATED TO SCHOOLS

Changes that impact schools are as follows:

  • Alberta Health will publicly report the name of each school with at least two COVID-19 cases, categorized by the following:
    • Alert – two to four cases
    • Alert – five to nine cases
    • Outbreak – 10-plus cases
  • An outbreak investigation will be completed by AHS for schools with 10 or more cases within a 14-day period.
  • On an interim basis, school authorities will determine close contacts for students in schools using criteria provided by AHS and will notify families of close contacts in a school setting only.
  • Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will shift to learning-at-home if there are three or more infectious cases in the class in a five-day period.
  • Families will be asked to avoid public places, monitor for symptoms and get tested if the student becomes symptomatic, but will not otherwise be required to quarantine.
  • All individuals who have COVID-19 are required to isolate and remain at home for 10 days, regardless of their age.

Public health measures that remain in place at STS include:

  • Mandatory masking for all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, and all employees.
  • Our current grade cohorting will be maintained.
  • Indoor sports, fitness, recreation and performance activities are permitted in schools, with requirements to maintain two-metre physical distancing where possible.
  • Masks and distancing are not required by youth under age 18 while engaged in physical activity.
  • Surfaces will be cleaned between each student/user and the sharing of supplies will be restricted as much as possible.
  • Students and staff should screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
  • Those experiencing core COVID-19 symptoms or who test positive will isolate.
  • If there is a case in a class or the school, we ask families to monitor their children closely for symptoms.
  • We will follow best practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

For full details click here: www.alberta.ca/k-12-learning-during-covid-19.aspx

 

2. COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY FOR EMPLOYEES, VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS) is committed to taking all necessary steps to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, students, and other community members including visitors, volunteers and third-party providers while on the STS campus. As has been our mandate every step of the way through this pandemic, people come first.

With this in mind, and after the recommendations outlined by Minister LaGrange at yesterday’s press conference,  STS has adopted a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Employees and a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Volunteers and Visitors.

Recognizing the critical public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenge posed by the pandemic to the safe operation of STS, the importance of an education in the lives of our students and their families, and that STS is a place where large numbers of students and employees congregate and disperse from, STS supports and encourages policies recommended by the Province of Alberta.

“It’s also clear that the best way to look after each other and to stop the spread of COVID-19 is for every eligible Albertan to get vaccinated. That’s why today’s announcement included a renewed call to all school authorities as employers, and operators of school facilities, to develop policies that require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for any adult who enters a school. This would include teachers, staff and parents, but would exclude students. A school authority cannot deny their students access to education due to immunization status.”  - Minister LaGrange and Minister Coping

As part of STS’s extensive health and safety protocols designed to protect all members of our community, including the significant percentage of our student population that is ineligible to be vaccinated at this time, this Policy was created with our mission, vision, and values, and the health and safety of all individuals top-of-mind.

Summary of COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Employees  

Effective December 1, 2021, STS employees must be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, or have regular proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test result. Alternatively, in compliance with Human Rights legislation, individuals not able to be vaccinated on the basis of a medical condition, or other protected grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act, will be accommodated.

Summary of COVID -19 Vaccination Policy for Volunteers and Visitors

Effective immediately, all visitors and volunteers to STS must adhere to the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Volunteers and Visitors in order to be permitted on the STS Campus. 

All visitors and volunteers are required to:

  • Check in at the main reception (Cross Doors);
  • Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine record and photo ID; or
  • Provide proof of a negative antigen-based or polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test result taken within the preceding 72 hours; and
  • Complete a COVID Screening Questionnaire before proceeding further into the school.

Additional Health and Safety measures:

All employees, visitors and volunteers must continue to observe all other health and safety procedures regardless of vaccination status including:

  • Mandatary masks for all age groups
  • Appropriate physical distancing
  • Proper hand hygiene
  • Screening questionnaires

Please know, these policies are intended to be temporary in nature and will be rescinded when appropriate.  As such, we will review this monthly to ensure it is still accurate and applicable.

A few important points/links:

I understand that this may raise questions and/or create discomfort for some. This is normal and I empathize. That said, much thought and consideration has gone into this Policy to ensure that we are carefully balancing stewarding the safety of our whole community, with respecting personal choice and freedoms. Also, we understand that there will be unique situations that will require further discussion.

Please know, we will continue to closely monitor the ever-evolving situation, and will continue to communicate with you every step of the way.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and support.

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

 

Dear STS families,

Yesterday evening, Premier Jason Kenney announced that Alberta is in a State of Public Health Emergency (click here for news release). With this in mind, we made the difficult decision to postpone our 50th anniversary ceremony for founding school families that was scheduled to be held on the STS campus Friday, September 17, and our Open House for prospective families on Saturday, September 18. We look forward to holding both of these events in future, when it is safe for us to have in-person guests on our campus again.

We still have some fun surprises planned for our students tomorrow to commemorate the kick-off of our 50th anniversary. This is a momentous year for STS and we will ensure that we mark this occasion well, despite the ongoing global pandemic. Please be looking for a special 50th kick-off email tomorrow outlining ways you can join in the celebration too.

In terms of other impacts to schools from last night’s announcement, as it stands now we are already following many of the outlined protocols including mandatory masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and cohorting. In additional to our enhanced air ventilation system and cleaning protocols, other measures include:

  • Modifications to cafeteria seating to better space students during peak usage times.
  • Plexiglass barriers continue to be available to anyone who wants them.
  • Parents will continue to be required to give informed consent when students are involved in mixed-cohort co-curricular and athletic activities.
  • Parent access to the school continues to be limited and must be prearranged.

This is what we know now. Specific procedures and guidelines for schools are currently being developed by Alberta Health and we will be sure to inform you if we are required to make any further changes.

We believe we are in a good space to weather this latest storm, and thank you for your continued support, patience and kindness, especially with many different perspectives regarding this complex situation.

We will continue to communicate any further information as we have it. As always, please reach out to me or your Division Principal with any questions or concerns.

I am excited to focus on our school’s big 50th birthday beginning tomorrow, and celebrating our past and creating our future together. Our community's strength, diversity and resilience continue to sustain me.

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

August 19, 2021 

Dear STS Community,

As we return to school, I understand that many of us are more than ready to see COVID-19 behind us and return to pre-pandemic routines, while we are faced with the reality that there remains a need for continued attention to safety and doing things a bit differently for the greater good. With this top-of-mind, and given the diversity of viewpoints and personal circumstances in the STS community, our back-to-school plan has been designed with a core focus on who we are as a school and community. We take the responsibility for the safety of our students and employees seriously and are learning from educational institutions around Canada as we plan for a full return to school, including offering all co-curricular and sporting activities.

I believe that together, with a focus on the well-being of everyone and upholding the values of our school, we will continue to manage this situation in the STS way, striving for our best, being innovative, and maintaining community. I also 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 keeping our community safe;
  • focus on physical, social, and mental health and wellness, and personalized solutions; and
  • go above and beyond, addressing issues with a ‘yes’ mindset, and exceeding guidelines wherever possible.

As the foundation of our plan, all students and employees will begin the 2021-2022 school year by continuing to:

  • complete the daily checklist and staying home when unwell;
  • practice hand hygiene; and
  • wear masks when not physically distanced.

Vaccinations:

As noted by Dr. Hinshaw and AHS recommendations, we continue to encourage all students and families who are eligible, to be vaccinated as a way to support the safety of our community. Albertans can book appointments through AHS online, by calling 811 or through participating pharmacies. Vaccination status is privileged medical information and school employees are not permitted to ask questions about the vaccine status of any individual student or family member.

Other measures:

Given that Kindergarten to Grade 7 students (under the age of 12) do not have access to vaccination, in addition to the daily checklist, hand hygiene, and masking, the following measures will be in place to continue to protect students in these vulnerable groups:

  1. Elementary School areas will continue to be out of bounds for students and staff who are not in the elementary school.
    1. Middle and Senior School students and staff should avoid using the Black Watch Bistro during Elementary lunch;
    2. Middle and Senior School students and staff using the art and design areas of the Rose Elementary wing must continue to use the bathrooms by the bistro and not use the Elementary wing bathrooms.
  2. Elementary School Encore activities will continue to run in grade-level cohorts.
  3. Parents must give informed consent for optional co-curricular activities where students are from multiple cohorts.
  4. In mixed cohort situations, supervisors will use physical distancing strategies wherever possible in addition to other mitigation methods (e.g., hand-hygiene).

The table below is meant to help clarify updates for this year:

What stays the same?

What’s different

Daily Health Checklist: All staff and students should continue to screen daily for symptoms using the latest Alberta Health Daily Checklist

Isolation: Please note that those who test positive or show core COVID symptoms, as identified by AHS, must isolate, but close contacts are no longer required to quarantine.

Entry/Exit procedures:

  • Elementary School students will use their grade specific entrances in the Rose Elementary Wing.
  • Middle School students will use the Strathcona doors to enter and exit the building.
  • Senior School Students will use the Cross doors to enter and exit the building.

Cohorting: Students will be cohorted by grade groups and not by sections. In middle and senior schools, this will allow students to move across classrooms and interact with grade-level peers.

Masking: Masking continues to be mandatory on buses and rideshare vehicles. All students, staff and visitors entering the school must remain masked in common areas. All students and staff are required to bring a personal mask and have it accessible at all times.

To start the school year, students in K-12 will be required to wear a mask in classrooms when not physically distanced. Teachers will provide opportunities for physically distanced learning activities when masks can be safely removed.

Lunches: Separate Elementary, Middle and Senior School lunches will be maintained at the start of the school year to support cohorting. Kindergarten - Grade 2 students will eat in the cafeteria and Grades 3-6 will eat in their studios. Students in Kindergarten - Grade 4 who would like a cafeteria meal will need to fill in the Black Watch Bistro Primary Years menu selection.

Classrooms: Middle and Senior School students can move between classrooms and will not be restricted to homerooms. Elementary areas remain off-limits to middle and senior school students.

Informed consent for co-curriculars and OE: Through permission click, parents must give informed consent for optional co-curricular and OE activities where students are from multiple cohorts, giving families the opportunity to opt-in to what they are comfortable with.

All Co-curriculars and OE trips will be offered again: Students will have many more opportunities to engage and pursue their passions this year, with physical distancing strategies used wherever possible in addition to other mitigation methods (e.g., hand-hygiene). 

Hand Hygiene: Students and staff are expected to continue hand hygiene when moving through doorways (e.g., entering and leaving rooms) using hand sanitizers and frequent hand washing with soap is encouraged.

Surface Sanitization: Surface cleaning agents will continue to be available in classrooms for those who want to use them, but cleaning after every use will not be required.

Lockers & Boot Rooms: Boot rooms and lockers will be assigned by cohorts (grade level groups) in specific areas of the school. Students must use the lockers in the areas assigned to them.

Plexiglass: Trifold use is no longer required. However, trifolds are available to students or staff who wish to use them as an additional source of protection. They can be obtained from the Principal.

In-school campus visitors: To allow us to focus on a successful school start-up, we respectfully ask that external visitors do not come into the building until the end of September 2021. We will evaluate this protocol and update as soon as we can, as we miss our parent visitors and volunteers and can't wait to see them back on campus on a regular basis.

External campus visitors: We are pleased to be able to host some community-building outdoor events that were put on hold last year, such as the Welcome Coffee and Family Fall Fair. Please look for more details about those outdoor events in your back-to-school handbook.

Uniforms: To allow for students to wear freshly laundered clothing each day, the more flexible uniform requirements from last year will remain in place for the time-being. Full uniform requirements are outlined in the back-to-school handbook (pages 30-31).

Microwaves: Students will be able to use campus microwaves to heat food from home again this year, but will be required to wear masks when in line waiting and while using the microwaves.

 

The reasons for these decisions are as follows:

  • We are a K-12 school community with approximately 40% of our students unable to access vaccination at this time.
  • Our students come from all over the city and region and are highly engaged in community groups and activities.
  • Many of our families have students across school divisions (Elementary, Middle, and Senior School), therefore it is not possible to effectively cohort students within grades or divisions.
  • Research and guidance from physician groups, SickKids, and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recommend a cautious approach to the school year.
  • The following provincial documents also guide our decisions as we respond to the evolving needs of staff and students during this pandemic:

These precautionary measures will be in place for the first six weeks of the school year out of an abundance of caution. As we move forward, we will continue to conduct risk assessments and evaluate where health and safety measures can be adapted, removed, and/or further applied. We will re-evaluate these measures based on provincial data and context.

All updates and resources will continue to be available on the COVID-19 UPDATES webpage.

We believe that these measures will protect the psychological, emotional, and physical safety of our community by enabling an immediate return to STS’s rich in-person learning opportunities both within and outside the classroom, including mixed cohort co-curricular activities.

To close, I want to share a few important points:

  1. We have done this before and given the high level of commitment to safety from our families, we were grateful to have few COVID-19 cases last year.
  2. We continue to lean on experts, use common sense, err on the side of caution, and make decisions that are best for our collective community.
  3. We are very fortunate to have vaccines now, so this school year is already starting off on a much more positive note. With that said, we have a large population in the building that can’t get vaccinated. This includes everyone born 2010 and later, and the best way to protect them is to continue with masking and other safety measures.
  4. Our precautions last year reduced not just the transmission of COVID but also other respiratory infections like colds and flu. Masking this year will continue to minimize respiratory infections and transmission in schools.
  5. As we all return to school from different locations in and outside Canada, and with so many of our students taking buses from homes in various Calgary area communities, masking for all students and staff allows us to have a successful return to school.
  6. The decisions we make can only be as good as the information we have. While respecting privacy, we always appreciate it when families provide information related to possible exposure to COVID-19 that may help us prevent spread on our campus. This transparency, trust, and ongoing two-way communication helped us to be successful last year. 
  7. We will continue to re-evaluate the situation as it evolves.

I want to reiterate that our school community’s commitment to safety meant that we had limited time away from school last year. Given the multitude of positive impacts from being at school in-person, we are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all of our students and employees through the measures outlined above. By doing so, we can continue to ‘say yes’ to extraordinary learning opportunities for our students.

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,

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 1A cohort. Please see this letter from AHS.

Our Leadership Team is working to manage this situation, and 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. 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. 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 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. 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. We are almost at the finish line, with a beautiful summer and brighter days ahead of us.

With gratiude, 

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

Dear STS families,

This afternoon, Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced a return to in-person learning for the majority of Alberta's students next week. This means that our STS students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 can return to campus next Tuesday, May 25.

Minister Lagrange said:

“The education system reset we announced earlier in May has been very successful. It has helped to alleviate the operational pressures tied to the rise of COVID-19 cases in our communities. As the Chief Medical Officer of Health has stated many times, the safety protocols we have in our schools are effective, they are limiting the risk of widespread in-school transmission.

The robust health protocols that have been in place in schools to keep our students and staff safe will continue, including mask requirements, cohorts, screening for symptoms, and seating arrangements. These measures add another layer of protection on top of vaccinations received by Albertans including teachers, school staff, and students 12 and older.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said:

"I am confident that we can all work together to keep cases falling in young Albertans. I know that in-person learning is critically important for many kids educational and social development, and can provide a sense of normalcy in these unusual times. I also know that many parents and others have anxiety about safety in schools - as a parent I understand these concerns and the desire to keep children safe. We have seen a sharp decline in cases in school-aged children in the recent weeks, from an average of 60 new cases a day for every 100,000 children and youth in early May, Alberta is now down to about 31 cases per 100,000.

It is more important now than ever that we continue driving cases downward and continue to reduce community transmission. The numbers in our schools continue to depend on the choices each of us make every day to limit the spread of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated and following all public health measures in place.

The decision to move students to online learning for the past two weeks was part of a province-wide approach to “stop the spike” of COVID-19 cases. This allowed for a reset within the school system, which will enable us to return to in-class learning and have a strong finish to the school year.

This is very good news, and while we feel confident that a positive future regarding the pandemic is within reach, we must not let up on our current safety protocols and open partnership with families. Please continue to do the daily health check-list, and keep children at home with any symptoms. As a community, we have so much to be proud of, and together we can successfully maneuver this final home stretch to summer.

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. You can find helpful COVID-19 resources on our STS COVID-19 Updates website, and as always, please do reach out to your Division Principals (Jen Conway, Jessica Richmond and Anand Mahadevan) or me if you have any concerns and questions. The Principals will provide any needed further details with their Divisions before next Tuesday.

I understand that it has been a challenging two weeks adapting back to online learning, and I truly commend all of you – students, parents, teachers, and staff – for your grit, determination, kindness, and patience. Thank you. We look forward to seeing our students back on campus next Tuesday!

With gratitude,

Mrs. Carol Grant-Watt
Head of School

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

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

  • Supporting Students
    • Uniforms 

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

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

 

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 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 

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

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

  • Healthy Policies
    • Student Illness during COVID-19 

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, 

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

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: 

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

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 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 sections:

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

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:

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

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

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

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