Aug. 27, 2020
We are now only a few days away from the start of the 2020-21 school year. We know this is an exciting but also anxious time for our students, staff and families. The majority of our students, (84 per cent) will return to in-person classes in our schools, while about 16 per cent have chosen to learn from home through the hub online learning option. No matter what you have chosen for your family, be assured that our staff are committed to ensuring your children feel safe, and continue to receive the best possible education.
Attending school and working during a pandemic is new to all of us. We ask for your patience and understanding as our schools implement new health measures and different ways of learning in school and at home. We will all need to work together to make this school year a success.
Mask Guidelines for Students and Staff Now Available
The Chief Medical Officer of Health, with Alberta Education, made the decision to make masks mandatory for all Alberta students in Grades 4-12. CBE has exceeded current direction provided by AHS and Alberta Education by requiring non-medical masks be worn by all students in kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as all staff members.
Mask guidelines are now available and provide details about mask use in our schools and workplaces, including information about the times and locations masks must be worn, when mask breaks can occur and who may be exempted from wearing masks.
- Masks will not be necessary for students in K-3 when they are working within their cohort (group) of students in their classroom and when the integrity of cohort can be maintained.
- For Grades 4-12, masks will not be needed when students are seated within their cohort(s) and physical distancing is achieved.
- When staff are working with students with special needs where wearing a face covering would impact learning, a mask can be removed.
- Teachers will also build in time during the day to take breaks. Masks will not need to be worn during recess, physical activity or when eating or drinking.
- During breaks, it will be important to follow other precautionary measures like physical distancing and hand hygiene.
Wearing masks is new for all of us. As we would with any other learning, we will assess each student’s level of understanding and provide them with the teaching, guidance, coaching and encouragement at an age appropriate level, to ensure safety for themselves and their school community.
The consistent message from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, AHS, and other national and global health professionals is that the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility and that masks are one measure to mitigate that spread. Additionally, the City of Calgary has mandated masks in all public spaces for anyone over the age of two. The CBE’s decision to extend mask requirements to K-3 aligns with direction from the city, province, and global health professionals to reduce risks related to exposure to COVID-19 in CBE schools.
The CBE is working with AHS to mitigate risks to the greatest extent possible, while knowing we cannot eliminate them entirely. We continue to rely on the advice and direction of the medical experts related to COVID-19 prevention measures. The CBE’s approach will continue to adapt to COVID-19 including any new directions or advice provided by AHS.
For more information about masks please visit our website.
School Re-Entry Plans
By now you may have received some initial communication from your school about back-to-school details for your child. The official start for CBE is schools is Sept. 1, but students will be asked to start on different days to allow time to learn about the new health measures and expectations.
By the end of this week, you will receive information from your school about your child’s start date. You will also receive details about your school re-entry plan. Details will also be posted to school websites.
If you have not done so already, please take some time to review our re-entry videos to see an overview of what health measures are in place at different schools and on yellow school buses.
Our re-entry plan is based on the guidance and requirements provided to us by Alberta Education and the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Schools are returning under Scenario 1 (near-normal conditions) but we must all be prepared to move into the other two scenarios at any time during the school year.
We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. We encourage you to visit our COVID-19 Information for the 2020-21 School Year page for details about what to expect. The decision to move between scenarios will be made by Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services.
Chief Superintendent of Schools