School Plan 2021/2022
(Updated Oct 18, 2021, changes indicated in red)
As we have done throughout the pandemic, Christ The Redeemer (CTR) Catholic’s schools continues to adhere to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s (CMOH) guidance. Our plans are fluid and we take our counsel from the CMOH’’s office. CTR will continue with a multifaceted approach to reducing the risk of spread of both COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses with the following measures:
Daily Health Screening
- Parents/guardians play an essential role in supporting our schools by keeping their children home when sick.
- Before leaving home, staff, students and visitors should monitor for any symptoms daily using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
- If an individual has any signs of illness or symptoms, the Alberta Health Daily Checklist will help determine how long the individual should stay at home from school and whether they should use the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if they should be tested. If a student has been a household contact of a case of COVID-19, it is strongly recommended that the student should stay home and not attend school for 14 days from the last day of exposure and monitor symptoms unless they are fully immunized. If they are fully immunized, they are to continue daily monitoring for symptoms, but may return to school.
- Students and staff with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of sense of smell or taste, must stay home and isolate for 10 days OR receive a negative COVID-19 test and feel better before returning to school. Anyone who feels unwell with other symptoms should stay at home and refer to the Daily Checklist for further guidance.
- Volunteers and visitors are permitted if they pass the Alberta Health’s Daily Screening Checklist. Principals may choose to limit the number of volunteers and visitors.
Hand Hygiene, Respiratory Etiquette, Cleaning, and Ventilation
- Schools will promote and facilitate hand hygiene by maintaining one hand sanitizing station in each classroom and in many common areas of the school. Schools may either spray hands as students enter/exit the building, or teach students to follow the routine themselves. Schools will encourage students to practice hand hygiene before/after activities (e.g. entering/leaving school or classroom, boarding/exiting the bus, changing activities, before and after using shared equipment, before and after eating or serving food, after using washrooms,etc.).
- Teachers will promote proper respiratory etiquette by reminding students to cough and sneeze into a tissue, one’s elbow, or a mask rather than their hand.
- Students will be provided with appropriate cleaning supplies for their desks, and teachers will remind students to clean their desks at various times each day to establish good habits and routines.
- Schools will maintain regular daytime cleaning and increased disinfection of high traffic/touch areas throughout the day.
- Schools will maintain effective ventilation by delivering three air exchanges per hour. Modular classrooms have the same ventilation standards, and CTR installed operable windows in most modulars over the summer. Teachers will be asked to keep windows open to encourage air circulation when climatically reasonable.
- The School Masking Order is in development by the province, and may change some of the provisions of CTR’s interim guidelines below.
- Mask use for students in Grades K to 3 remains optional in all areas of the school. Though not mandated, the Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends mask use for students in Grade K-3.
- All students in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear masks in all areas of the school. Students may remove their masks when seated at their desks and not conversing with other students.
- All staff, visitors, volunteers, and guests are required to wear masks in all areas of the school, the Catholic Education Centre and the Centre for Learning@HOME. All staff may remove their masks when in classrooms and physically distanced from students.
- Masks may be removed when students are engaged in physical activity during or after the school day.
- Masks are not required for students engaged in instrumental or choral music, but teachers will provide as much distancing as possible. This applies to curricular programming before, during, or after school.
- Masking remains required for all students and staff on school buses as per the public health order.
- Schools do not have the authority to grant mask exemptions. Mask exemptions are granted by a nurse practitioner, physician or a psychologist with this form.
- All students in K-3 should have masks on-hand at school to respond to unexpected circumstances (e.g. they begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are waiting to go home).
Cohorts and Physical Distancing
- In classrooms where K-3 students are seated in small groups, CTR will reinstall plexiglass partitions immediately. Plexiglass partitions will be installed or reinstalled in all other classrooms in which students are not seated in rows as soon as possible.
- Students in Grades K-6 are primarily cohorted in homerooms as per routine practice. Principals will eliminate the rare instances where cohorting does not occur, as soon as possible.
- Students in Grade 7-9 are partially cohorted for core subjects. Students in Grades 10-12 will not be cohorted.
- Desks and small groups will be spaced apart as much as possible and extra furniture will be kept to a minimum. Area carpets for younger students are an important instructional tool and may be reinstalled.
- CTR has maintained staffing levels at Pre-COVID levels. K-12 class sizes are projected to be an average 22.6 students per class.
Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Programming
- Extra-curricular sports and activities for Grades 7-12 will continue with requirements to maintain two metres physical distancing where possible.
- Masks are not required by students engaged in physical activity during extra-curricular sports. Masks are required when not engaged in physical activity (e.g. watching from sidelines).
- Masks are required by students in Grades 4 to 12 engaged in non-physical extracurricular activities (e.g. student council, inclusion groups, art club).
- Performance activities (e.g. drama, band, choral) are permitted with requirements to maintain two metres distancing where possible.
- Spectator attendance is limited to one-third fire code capacity at all indoor physical activities. Attendees must be masked and ensure physical distancing between different households or an individual who lives alone and their two close contacts.
- The Board has not yet lifted their decision to suspend international travel.
Non-Essential Indoor Gatherings
- All school and central office meetings will occur online unless a strict two metres of physical distancing can be maintained.
- All professional learning gatherings that assemble staff from more than one school will be conducted online.
- These guidelines do not apply to outdoor gatherings.
Contact Tracing, Close Contacts, Outbreak Monitoring, and Rapid Testing (Revised Oct 12th)
- Public reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools will resume with Alberta Health identifying online each school with at least 2 COVID cases. You will be able to access the information here (Effective October 6, 2021). Public reporting categories include:
- Alert: 2 to 4 cases
- Alert: 5 to 9 cases
- Outbreak: 10+ cases
- A school outbreak will now be reported as 10 or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period that were infectious while at school. The previous use of a 10% absenteeism rate will no longer be used for COVID-19 cases but will remain in place for other respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. See point 9 for more information. CTR also maintains an up-to-date page on our website that indicates the number of active cases at each school.
- The infectious period for a person with symptoms of COVID-19 is from 48 hours before symptoms appear until 10 days after onset of symptoms. The infectious period for a person who tests positive for COVID-19 but does not have symptoms is considered to be from 48 hours before the date they were tested until 10 days after the test (or if symptoms do start in this period, for 10 days after onset of symptoms).
- CTR’s principals will be sending classroom cohorts (exposed group) close contact information when there is one or more positive case of COVID-19 in any classroom cohort. Exposed groups include: 1) students and staff in the same cohort as the COVID-19 case; 2) students and staff who attended extra-curricular with a COVID-19 case where 2m of distancing was not maintained; 3) students and staff on the school bus of the COVID-19 case. Individuals who are identified as being in an exposed group are not all necessarily close contacts of the COVID-19 case. Close contacts have close physical contact with a COVID-19 case, have close prolonged contact (15 minutes or more, within 2 metres) with a COVID-19 case, or have contact with infectious body fluids of a COVID-19 case. Exposed groups are not required to isolate but must monitor symptoms and stay home when ill.
- When CTR learns of and reports on a COVID-19 case in any cohort (e.g. classroom, extra-curricular) principals will support teachers in introducing the following short-term actions until the case is resolved:
- reduced student interaction
- increased physical distancing
- the continuation of all the other prevention measures with increased vigilance
- there is no additional action needed by parents with students in the cohort as long there are not more than two cases in the cohort.
- If three or more COVID-19 cases are identified within a five-day period in a Kindergarten to Grade 6 class, AHS will issue an exclusion notification, shifting students to at-home learning. Exclusion letters will be issued on a class-by-class basis and any classes in receipt of an exclusion letter will be required to shift to at-home learning for 10 calendar days. In such instances, live streaming will be used to deliver some or all of the at-home instruction unless the teacher, with the principal’s approval, suggests a superior mode of delivery for their grade level or subject. Live streaming devices can be provided to any student without one at home. During an exclusion period, it is strongly recommended that excluded individuals do not participate in any activities outside of their home, including sports, clubs, worship or attending any other public place. Exclusion is only applicable for staff and students in kindergarten through Grade 6, as per CMOH orders. Exposed individuals who are fully vaccinated are not legally required to be excluded from school.
- Rapid testing kits will be provided to school authorities for distribution for Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools, starting first with schools that are experiencing an outbreak status (Effective late October). The rapid testing program will be voluntary. If they choose, children, students, and staff will be provided with rapid testing kits to test twice per week for four weeks. These tests are for those individuals that are asymptomatic and are to be done at home. Symptomatic children need to be tested at an AHS assessment centre and should not use the rapid tests. Rapid tests are a more effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 in areas where there are more COVID-19 cases.
- All Albertans, including those who may be told that they are a close contact, are asked to monitor for symptoms and stay home and get tested if they are feeling unwell.
- School administrators track illness rates daily and report to AHS when illness rates exceed 10%. Respiratory/gastrointestinal illnesses outbreak monitoring will continue, but it will be decoupled from COVID outbreak reporting as described above.
School Immunization Program
- As AHS indicates, Getting Vaccinated “is our best defence to beat COVID-19.”
- CTR will host Alberta Health Services in our schools to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to staff and students 12 years of age and over as early as September 7. Vaccination status is a personal choice and parental/guardian consent must be obtained for students under 18. CTR will accommodate vaccinations on site, yet the decision to vaccinate is a private matter between families/students and Alberta Health Services.
- The School Immunization Program will run September 7th to October 13th.
- Students in Grades 7-12, who are born in 2009 or earlier (turning 12+), are eligible to receive the vaccine at school. Only one dose will be offered for each person who is eligible, whether it is their first or second dose.
- Parents will receive an information letter and AHS consent forms in an email from their principal on August 25th. Parents wishing to have their children vaccinated must sign and return the form to the school by September 8th.
- CTR does not require nor record vaccination status. If your child is already vaccinated, please do not send proof of vaccination. That is a private matter between families and Alberta Health.
- Provincial data indicates we can expect approximately 70% of students aged 12 and older have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Based on this, we project a minority of students in any given class will access a vaccination at school. As a result, we anticipate minimal disruption to instruction while AHS administers the vaccines in schools.
Supporting Parental Choice and Staff Choice
- CTR will not impose any deadlines on moving from the traditional school to the Centre For Learning@Home or vice-versa, but principals will counsel families about both the advisability of such transfers and making transitions at logical and appropriate times to minimize learning loss when making the transition.
- CTR will once again consider staff requests to transfer from the traditional school to the Centre For Learning@Home or vice-versa as enrollment and staffing needs permit.
- CTR is committed to supporting mental health concerns by training teachers to implement universal strategies in the regular classroom, while also maintaining targeted support for at-risk students.
- CTR’s staff wellness initiative will continue.
- CTR will remediate learning loss by applying for funds to remediate literacy and numeracy concerns in young children, and this will complement the existing reading intervention programs (Early Reading Intervention, Enhanced Reading, and Precision Reading) led by trained professionals that are already in place at every school.
- The Ministry has reinstated both Provincial Achievement Tests (Grades 6 and 9) and Diploma Exams (Grade 12) as per normal practice. Diploma Exams will have a weight of 30%.
- PATs will be administered in all subjects (English Language Arts, French Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies).