COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

All updates concerning COVID-19 that are shared with our community will be posted on this page, with the newest update appearing first.

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.

  • Masking
    • 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.

  • Cohorting
    • 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
  • Masking
    • 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.

 

Questions?

As always, we encourage you to send your questions to communications@nlsd.ab.ca 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.