NSD Back to School Plan Summary
Posted on August 26
Northland School Division (NSD) is pleased to provide its Back to School Plan for the 2021-2022 school year. On August 13, 2021, the Government of Alberta announced further details about returning to school this year and released its Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools.
As you review this plan, some of the strategies will exceed provincial requirements. We feel that extra precautions are necessary to reduce risk in the school communities we serve. The 2021-2022 Back to School Plan is guided by the following themes:
- Students and staff health and safety;
- Learning options for NSD families; and
- High quality teaching and learning.
Student and staff health and safety
- Mandatory use of masks for all staff and students grades 4-12 and highly recommended for students K- grade 3. This will be re-evaluated on September 30, 2021.
- Mandatory use of masks for all students riding the school bus. All students must be registered to ride the school bus. This includes contracted buses and students attending junior high and high school in another town. Students will not be permitted to ride the bus if they are not registered through the Transportation Department.
- Enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols in all NSD schools and facilities.
- Hand sanitizer is provided by NSD, in multiple locations, in all NSD schools, buildings and on buses.
- All parents/guardians are required to screen their child for symptoms each day prior to their child attending school by using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
- Staff, parents/guardians and visitors are also required to screen for symptoms before attending any NSD school or facility by using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
Isolation and quarantine
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are required by the Alberta Health Services (AHS) to isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started, or until their symptoms have improved, whichever is longer.
- AHS is no longer identifying or following up with individual close contacts, and quarantine for close contacts is no longer required.
- AHS will continue to manage outbreaks of respiratory illnesses in school settings, similar to the management of influenza or influenza-like illness.
- Cohort and physical distancing strategies whenever possible. A classroom cohort is defined as a group of students and staff who remain together.
- Whenever possible, students, staff and visitors are encouraged to physically distance—maintain at least a two-metre space between two or more people. Schools have also re-arranged classrooms and daily schedules to encourage space between students. All extra furniture has been removed from classrooms to allow more space for physical distancing. This will be re-evaluated as the year progresses.
- Off-site activities (e.g. field trips for group physical activity, performance activities and recreational activities that are part of the curriculum) are permitted with health protocols in place, i.e. handwashing.
Extracurricular sports and sports teams
- All extracurricular sports and school sports teams for elementary, junior high and senior high can resume with health protocols in place, i.e. handwashing. Guidelines for extracurricular sports will be evaluated on an ongoing basis throughout the school year.
Assemblies, Performance Activities and Celebratory Events
- Large assemblies will continue to be virtual rather than in-person. This will be re-evaluated on September 30, 2021.
- Student performance activities such as singing, dancing, playing instruments, theatre will be virtual. This will be re-evaluated on September 30, 2021.
- Celebratory events, including graduation ceremonies, must follow public health measures that may be in place at the time of the event. NSD is hopeful that traditional graduation ceremonies will return in 2022.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
- NSD will provide staff with access to mental health support for students and families. NSD also compiled mental health information from several sources https://www.nsd61.ca/about-us/division-news/post/covid-19-mental-health-resources. For students, mental health staff reach out to share resources similar to what’s posted on the NSD website.
- Visitors are not permitted in the school or workplace without an appointment. To make an appointment contact the school directly.
Provincial Achievement Test and Diploma Exams
- The administration of Provincial Achievement Tests will resume and be mandatory as per normal practice.
- The administration of Diploma Exams will resume and be mandatory as per normal practice.
- Principals will ensure the focus on instructional time returns to normal to best position students and staff for academic success in all subject areas, and to support enhanced performance on Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Exams.
Learning options for NSD families
- NSD will continue to offer families a choice between in-school learning and an online school. For families not yet ready to send their child for in-school learning, parents and guardians can register their students to attend Northland Online School. To learn more visit www.northlandonlineschool.ca.
Vaccination clinics in NSD schools
- NSD will work with Alberta Health to host vaccination clinics.
- Students aged 12 and older are eligible to receive the vaccination at school with the written consent of their parent or guardian.
- For more information about vaccination policies and requirements, contact AHS.
School resumes for all NSD students on September 7, 2021. ECS students will attend school five (5) days a week once again.
Should the nature of the pandemic change, NSD will communicate changes in a timely manner to students, parents/guardians, staff and community members. Thank you, students, parents, guardians, staff and community members for your ongoing support. Have a safe and exciting 2021-2022 school year! Stay safe.
To view the Back to School Plan in more detail please visit https://www.nsd61.ca/covid-19-resources.