PRSD presents plan for back to classes

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Peace River School Division (PRSD) has presented its plan to open schools when students head back to classes in September as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues.

“The plan is designed to support our collective responsibility to ensure we maximize health and safety for students and staff while also ensuring that student learning continues,” Supt. Paul Bennett says in a report on posted on the PRSD website after the reopening was announced July 21 by Alberta Education.

“The plan will evolve and be adjusted as the status of the COVID-19 pandemic changes.”

The full report is on the website at

Measures to protect students, staff, parents and visitors are part of the plan as follows.


It is important for students and staff to self-screen on a daily basis according to prescribed guidelines.
Those who report symptoms should be directed to stay home, seek health care advice.


As the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is reduced by limiting exposure to others, cohorts are recommended where possible.
Schools will be responsible to:

  • -Keep students together during the day, including lunch, recess, etc.
  • -Whenever possible, stagger transitions to minimize contacts with other cohorts.
  • -Assign lockers based on cohorts.

Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing of two metres is a useful public health measure to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Where two metres is not possible between desks, the greatest possible spacing is recommended.
  • In situations where physical distancing is not possible, there should be extra emphasis on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and not participating when sick.

Expectations for drop-off and pick-up and entry areas at schools

  • -Parents and guardians must remain outside of the school to drop off their children. They must not enter the school unless previous arrangements have been made with the school office.
  • -School administration will determine student entry points, and drop-off and pick-up schedules.
  • -Physical distancing of two metres must be maintained.
  • -Parents and guardians are encouraged to communicate with staff by e-mail or by phone regarding any additional information that may be needed to support their child.

Expectations for visitors and volunteers

  • -Prior to entering a school, prospective visitors must use the self-screening tool.

If a prospective visitor answers YES to any of the questions, the individual must not be admitted into the school.

Buses and Transportation

  • -Parents will be required to complete daily at-home screening for their child(ren)’s symptoms prior to students boarding a bus.
  • -Parents and students should not be in the pick-up area or enter a bus if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • -Students will be assigned seats and a record of this seating plan will be kept and updated as needed in order to assist with contact tracing.
  • -Students who live in the same household will be seated together whenever possible.
  • -Students will not be permitted to eat while on a school bus in an effort to limit food sharing and to sustain appropriate levels of hygiene.
  • -Attendance records will be kept for contact tracing purposes and retained for two months.
  • -The PRSD transportation department will support schools to develop procedures for student loading, and unloading that support physical distancing of two metres between all persons (except household members), when possible and may include:
  • -Students from the same household may share seats.
  • -Students start unloading from the front seats to the back of the bus.
  • -Interschool service between schools will be suspended.
  • -If a child becomes symptomatic during the bus trip, a mask will be made available.

In-person Learning
Schools will develop procedures and plans:

  • -To best address traffic flow throughout the schools. This may include one-way hallways, designated entrance and exit doors and restricted access to high traffic and gathering areas.
  • -Learning experiences involving unprotected in-person singing, cheering or shouting or playing wind instruments should be postponed at this time.
  • -School assemblies or other large gatherings are to be avoided.

Guidelines for resuming indoor sport are under development by provincial bodies and will be shared when available.

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