Welcome Message - Superintendent of Schools
Posted on September 8
Tansi, Edlánat’e, Hello students, parents, guardians, staff and community members,
It is my pleasure to welcome everyone back for the 2020-2021 school year. I hope you had a safe and enjoyable summer. To our new families and staff, welcome to the Northland School Division (NSD) family.
In July, the province announced that in-person classes will resume under scenario 1, which is a return to school with additional health measures. Before the announcement, Alberta Education with support from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided guidance documents to support school divisions with re-entry plans. The Northland School Division re-entry plan outlines how schools are operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Operation expectations include:
- mandatory use of masks for all staff and students in grades 4-12 and highly recommended for students K- grade 3;
- mandatory use of masks for all students riding the school bus;
- 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; and
- cohort and physical distancing strategies.
In addition, we created a shorter re-entry guide for parents and guardians. Both documents are available on our website https://www.nsd61.ca/covid-19-resources. The custodial staff has had training on extra cleaning procedures. Principals and teachers have all participated in a program on COVID-19 to demonstrate proper protocols. School HVAC filters have been replaced and will be replaced several times throughout the year.
A number of schools have posted videos explaining the additional safety measures. For example, individual tote boxes containing all the student school supplies, directional arrows, use of several entrances and exits, use of cohorts, staggered recesses and lunch hours and posters to remind everyone of health protocols. We also are encouraging classes to be taught outside whenever possible.
Even with additional health measures, there may be stress and or anxiety for students, parents, guardians, staff, and community members. As a mother and grandmother, I totally understand. That’s why our additional health and safety measures for in-school learning go above and beyond the guidelines we received from the province.
For example, we have purchased seven Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayer sanitizers and our custodians have been trained to use them. The sprayer, along with the disinfectant, helps to sanitize surfaces more efficiently and eliminates bacteria, odours, cold, and flu viruses including COVID-19 and inhibits the growth of mold and mildew for up to seven days. The Clorox cleaner is in addition to the daily cleaning and hygiene protocols we have in place.
For families not yet ready to send their child for in-school learning, NSD is offering an at-home learning option. An orientation for at-home learners will begin during the week of September 14th. Parents and guardians who are undecided on sending their child for in-school learning or at-home learning, please ensure they are still registered with your local school. Once you have decided, the school can document the information and organize the learning for your child.
A reminder, if you’re planning to send your child on the bus, they must be registered. The registration form is available on our website https://www.nsd61.ca/students-parents/student-registration-forms. If you don’t have access to the internet, please contact the central office at 780-624-2060 and ask for transportation or connect with your local school.
We are looking forward to seeing students in-person or virtually. Even though we are living through a new normal, our focus on ensuring everyone’s safety and overall success for students will never change. Thank you, students, parents, staff, and community members. I want to reassure everyone that we will continue to work with Alberta Health Services, monitoring and adapting best practices to ensure a safe environment. We will continue to inform you of any changes as they arise.
Dr. Nancy Spencer-Poitras
Superintendent of Schools