Northland prepares to welcome students

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Northland School Division [NSD] has set plans to welcome student back to classes as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

NSD schools will resume in-school classes Sept. 8-11 with added health measures to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, says an NSD news release Aug. 11.

“While developing the re-entry plan, we wanted to ensure the transition back to school is smooth and operations take place in the safest way possible,” Supt. Nancy Spencer- Poitras says.

“For families not yet ready to send their child to school, we are offering an at-home learning option.

“Both the in-school and at-home learning options allow students to stay connected to their school throughout their learning.”

Students will have a staggered entry into school buildings in the first week.

Parents will be notified which days during the first week that their child will attend in-person classes.

NSD’s re-entry plan also includes the following health measures:

  • -Mandatory use of masks for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 on buses;
  • -Mandatory use of masks for all staff and students Grades 4-12, highly recommended for K-3 students;
  • -Enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols;
  • -Daily screening requirements;
  • -Strict stay-at-home guidelines for individuals who feel unwell or have symptoms related to COVID-19;
  • -Enforced public-health measures; and
  • -Cohort and physical distancing strategies.

To support NSD’s re-entry plan, a parent/guardian survey is posted on the division’s website and Facebook page to gauge if they are comfortable to:

  • -Send their child back to school with added health measures;
  • -Send their child back on the school bus with added health measures;
  • -Choose the at-home learning option.

“We value the partnerships we have with our parents and guardians,” says trustee Robin Guild, who chairs the board.

“This year will be no different and it is more important now, more than ever, that our families and schools work together to support our students and to model healthy practices.”

Other components of the plan include:

  • -Large-Group Gatherings. All large-group gatherings are prohibited until further notice. Large-group gatherings include assemblies, convocations, feasts, performances and concerts with audiences, field trips and other social get-togethers. Alberta Health Services recommendations will be followed.
  • -Extracurricular Sports and School Sport Teams. For the first quarter of 2020-21, all extracurricular sports and school sports teams, elementary, junior high and senior high, are postponed. Locker rooms are also off-limits to students and staff until further notice. Extracurricular sports and school sport-team restrictions.
  • -Field Trips. For the 2020-21 school year, class and school field trips are changing. Field trips are limited to activities students can walk to and stay outside for. Field trips requiring indoor space or the use of vehicle transportation are prohibited until further notice.
  • -School-based Meetings. Throughout the pandemic, meet-the- teacher meetings, parent-teacher interviews and school council. Meetings are taking place virtually or by phone.

Complete information on the entry plans and parent/guardian guide are available on the NSD website.

The entry plan can be accessed online at www.nsd61.ca/download/291974.

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