Aug. 14, 2020
I want to highlight some key decisions and information as we get ready to welcome students and staff back into classrooms this September. Always at the forefront of our decision-making is the safety and well-being of students, staff and families.
Mask Use Required in Schools for All Staff and Students (K - 12)
As mentioned in our update last week, we wanted to provide you with more details on mask use in schools.
For the 2020-21 school year, the CBE will require all staff and students (kindergarten to Grade 12) to wear a mask at school. This includes classrooms and public spaces such as hallways, learning commons, bathrooms, etc. Masks are also required for staff and students travelling on Calgary Transit or a yellow school bus.
We are working on mask guidelines including support for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions or other needs. When staff and students take breaks from wearing a mask, it will be important for other measures to be adhered to like physical distancing, hand hygiene, and sanitizing surfaces.
The province will provide all students and staff with two reusable cloth masks but families may want to purchase additional ones. If students forget their mask, schools will have some disposable ones available.
We know staff and families have many questions about re-entry in September. We continue to update our website with additional information.
We are receiving lots of school-specific questions. It is important to know that all schools will follow our re-entry plan guidelines. This is the plan that all schools will implement in their individual buildings. This plan is based on direction from Alberta Education and the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
School specific plans will reflect details like traffic flow, access to bathrooms, adjusted schedules etc., and will be finalized upon the return of principals. These may differ based on the school building, student population, and programming.
School plans will be posted on school websites by the end of August once principals have confirmed details with their staff.
We are creating videos that highlight the various adjustments schools will make to follow our re-entry plan. They will be launched next week to allow families to see some of the changes we will be implementing before the hub online learning registration deadline.
Additional Protection Measures
Every school will be provided with a kit that includes a number of items to help support physical distancing such as acrylic barriers, floor decals, painters tape and posters. It also includes re-usable cloth masks for staff, nitrile gloves, face shields, sanitizer and other items to support a healthy environment.
Hand-sanitizing stations will be installed in accordance with the specific guidelines outlined by the provincial government.
We are hiring additional temporary custodial staff to maintain the additional cleaning requirements. The number of custodial staff in schools will be increased by 240 temporary full time equivalent (FTE) positions. This will ensure that high touch point cleaning in schools can be conducted while also maintaining the regular school cleaning standard. Staffing is underway with the objective of having additional staff in schools by the first day of school.
Keeping You Informed
We appreciate the questions and comments you have submitted on a variety of topics. We continue to update our website with additional information as details are confirmed.
We will continue to provide you with ongoing updates in the coming weeks. Please visit the COVID-19 page on our website for more information.
Chief Superintendent of Schools