Return to School January 10
UPDATE: January 10, 2022
Following our last update for parents on Friday, the government released the two documents we had been waiting to receive and review. There is now a new Alberta Daily Checklist and an updated COVID-19 information for K-12 schools and school buses document, which includes a combination of required and recommended actions. NLPS will be complying with all of the actions in the document that are required or mandatory.
The safety of students and staff remains our top priority. NLPS will continue with the following protocols that have already been implemented this school year:
- Stay Home When Sick
- All students, staff and visitors are required to complete the Alberta Daily Checklist and follow the instructions that are included.
- Anyone who comes to school sick or who develops symptoms during the day will be sent home.
- Masks continue to be mandatory for everyone on a school bus.
- Masks are mandatory for all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 in all indoor, non-instructional spaces. This applies to students enrolled in our preschool programs as well.
- Students are encouraged to wear masks in instructional spaces if they are willing and able to do so.
- Staff and visitors are required to wear masks at all times, except when seated in classrooms or at work stations and located at least 2 metres from other individuals.
- Limiting Visitors
- Schools will continue to limit access to schools by visitors, including parents.
- Parents are encouraged to contact the school to make arrangements in advance to meet with staff.
- Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will stay in cohorts during the school day where it is operationally possible. The size and composition of a cohort may vary from school to school.
- Large Gatherings
- Our schools will continue to avoid large gatherings of students and staff (i.e. assemblies).
- Virtual options are recommended instead of in person gatherings.
- HVAC Systems
- Our HVAC systems are maintained in accordance with manufacturer guidelines and we will continue with the practice of regularly circulating fresh air in schools.
- Cleaning and Hygiene
- We will continue with our practice of cleaning schools daily, including regular cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces throughout the school day.
- We will continue to promote hand hygiene including making hand sanitizer available and encouraging students to wash or sanitize their hands throughout the school day.
Changes will be made in some areas to reflect the updated guidance from the provincial government:
- Extracurricular Activities
- Participation in games and tournaments has been put on hold temporarily. Sports practices may continue.
- Field trips will be limited to excursions where the host site has no other participants on location to ensure minimal interactions.
- Reporting Cases of COVID-19
- Alberta Health Services will no longer be informing us of cases connected to our schools and we are no longer required to inform families or staff when a case has been identified in our schools.
- NLPS will return to its previous protocol for reporting cases and will be sharing information about cases that are voluntarily disclosed to us on our websites. Parents will receive an email and/or text message when the school’s COVID report has been updated.
- Positive Cases of COVID-19
- If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please follow the instructions in the Alberta Health Daily Checklist. Isolation requirements are detailed in question 2 on the first page of the checklist for children under 18.
- Students who are not fully immunized, must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer, or until they receive a negative PCR test, or symptoms resolve and they receive two negative rapid antigen tests taken at least 24 hours apart.
- Students who are fully immunized (14 days have passed since their second dose), are required to isolate for five days from onset of symptoms or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. They must wear a mask for up to five days after their isolation period, including at school. Please let your child’s school know if this applies to your child so the school can support them in complying with this requirement.
- Families are encouraged to inform the school when their child tests positive for COVID-19 so that we can support your child’s learning from home (if they are able) and can monitor absences due to COVID-19.
- Shifts to At-Home Learning
- Our goal is to have students attend in-person classes as much as possible. It is important for everyone to follow the COVID-19 protocols that are in place to reduce the spread in our schools and ensure we can continue to offer in-person learning.
- NLPS has the authority to shift a class or grade at a school to at-home learning on a temporary basis. This will only occur if it is not possible for us to continue in-person learning due to high rates of staff or student absences.
- A shift to at-home learning for an entire school requires an application to Alberta Education. The decision to move a school to at-home learning rests with Alberta Education.
- Families will be given as much notice as possible if a temporary shift to at-home learning is required.
- Rapid Test Kits
- Rapid test kits will be available to all families and staff once they are delivered to our schools this week.
- Schools will be sending out forms for parents to fill out if they want rapid test kits for their children.
- The government recommends that individuals perform rapid tests twice per week, 72 hours apart, even if they do not have symptoms.
- Information about the rapid test kit program, including how to use the kits is available on the Alberta Government website: K to 6 At-Home Rapid Testing Program Information
- VIDEO; How to perform an at-home rapid test for COVID-19
- The government is sending medical grade masks to schools to distribute to families who need them.
- Schools will be sending a form for parents to full out if they want the masks for their children.
- Medical-grade masks are recommended by the government, but students can continue to wear other masks if they choose to. If cloth masks are worn, it is recommended that they have at least three layers: two layers of tightly woven fabric with a filter in between.
Please note that individual schools may be putting specific protocols in place at their sites to align with the recommendations in the updated guidance document. This may apply to things like drop off and pick up procedures, and planned events and activities.
We would like to thank all of our NLPS families for their continued support and diligence in following all of the protocols that have been put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and ensure that our students can participate in learning in person as much as possible this school year.
More information and resources for parents are available on the Staying safe and healthy this school year website.
As always, we encourage you to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to our Northern Lights Public Schools Questions and Answers group on Facebook and we will do our best to answer them with the information that is currently available to us.
Original Post: January 7, 2022:
On Wednesday afternoon, Alberta’s Education Minister announced that students would be returning to in-person learning on Monday, January 10. You can read the full announcement here: Students returning to in-person learning Jan. 10.
We would like to thank all of our NLPS families for their understanding and support during this unexpected extension to the winter break. We are excited to welcome students back to school on Monday and resume regular classes.
Our goal throughout the pandemic has been to have students attending school in-person as much as possible. School divisions currently have the authority to shift a class or individual grade at a school to at-home learning on a temporary basis. This will only be done if it is not possible to continue in-person learning due to high rates of student or staff absences. In the event this occurs, we will provide parents and guardians with as much notice as possible. We hope that the other measures that are in place at our schools will prevent or minimize the need for us to shift online.
Medical Masks and Rapid Testing Kits Delivery
We have been receiving many questions from parents and guardians about the medical masks and rapid testing kits the government announced will be distributed to students. These items are being sent directly to schools next week. We do not know when they will arrive at each of our schools. Schools will be sending out a form for parents to fill out to indicate if they want to receive masks and/or testing kits. If you want to receive these items, please complete the form so that we can make sure we get them to you as quickly as possible once they have arrived at our schools. If you do not want to receive these items, do not fill out the form. We will only send items home to families that request them.
At this time, there have been no changes made to mask requirements. Students can continue to wear the same masks to school that they were wearing prior to the winter break. It is recommended that students wear medical-grade masks like the ones that Alberta Education will be sending us. If cloth masks are worn, it is recommended that they have at least three layers: two layers of tightly woven fabric plus a filter.
More information on mask guidelines is available on the Government of Alberta website: COVID-19: Mask requirements.
COVID-19 Protocols in Schools
The government is in the process of updating the previous guidelines to reflect changes that have been made over the last few weeks. We know there will be changes made to COVID reporting and contact tracing and there may be changes to other recommendations and guidelines.
Once we receive the updated documents and have had a chance to review what is in them, we will share any changes with families as soon as possible. More information for families is available on the Staying safe and healthy this school year website.
Requests of Families
To help us meet our goal of having students learn in-person as much as possible, we request that families support us in the following ways:
- Continue to complete the Alberta Health Daily Checklist and follow the instructions included in that document. Please be aware that updates are made to this checklist on a fairly regular basis, so please ensure you are using the most up-to-date version. Keep your child at home if they are sick.
- Participate in the at-home rapid testing program. The Province recommends that if you don’t have symptoms, you perform rapid tests twice per week, 72 hours apart (For example Sunday and Wednesday or Monday and Thursday).
- Notify your child’s school if your child tests positive. This is not required, but assists us with monitoring the impact of COVID-19 in our schools and making decisions that help to reduce the spread of COVID in our schools.
We know many families likely have questions that we have not answered in this email. As always, we encourage you to send your questions to email@example.com or to our Northern Lights Public Schools Questions and Answers group on Facebook and we will do our best to answer them with the information that is currently available to us.Posted on