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Livingstone Range prepares three scenarios for school re-entry

As the 2019-’20 school year draws to a close, uncertainty surrounds expectations for the fall.

Livingstone Range School Division is waiting for word from the province about a re-entry plan from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once we get that announcement from the minister about which scenario that schools will be opened under it will be all hands on deck and it will be moving pretty fast from that point forward,” superintendent Darryl Seguin said.

The province closed schools to students in mid March to slow the spread of COVID-19 and instruction switched to on-line delivery.

The school board discussed re-entry planning during its June 15 meeting by video-conference.

Earlier this month Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange laid out three possible scenarios for schools in September.

“We need to develop plans in all three scenarios just to be ready for whichever one, and then to also be ready to move from one to another on very short notice,” Seguin said.

The three scenarios are as follows:

• In-school classes resume with near normal operations with health measures.

• In-school classes partially resume with additional health measures.

• At home learning continues with in-school classes cancelled.

“Scenario 2 is the most complex one,” Seguin said. “There’s lots to discuss about all the scenarios but Scenario 2 will be most complex.”

The three potential scenarios have heightened work in central office and in Livingstone Range’s individual schools as the summer break approaches.

“We will be focusing on that over the next few weeks and certainly throughout the summer,” Seguin said.

Alberta Education worked with the Alberta School Boards Association, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta, the Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools, individual school authorities.

Also included in discussions was the Alberta School Councils’ Association, which compiled input from more than 66,000 parents.

Should schools return to near normal operations there will be enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, including regularly scheduled deep cleaning when students are not present.

There will be routine COVID-19 screening for all staff and students with strict stay-at-home policy for any students or staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Students who develop symptoms at school may be asked to wear a mask and isolate in a separate room until a parent arrives for pick-up. If a separate room is not available, the student must be kept at least two meters away from other individuals.

Physical distancing and grouping will be promoted in schools. In classrooms, buses and during activities when physical distancing may not be possible, extra emphasis is put on other hygiene practices.

Classrooms will be reorganized to allow for more physical space and foot traffic through entrances and hallways will be guided by markers on the floor or pylons and barriers.

Large gatherings, such as assemblies, will be discouraged.

Staff and students will not have to wear masks but masks may be considered in circumstances where there is prolonged close contact for more than 15 minutes and distance of two meters cannot be maintained.

A no-sharing policy will be in place. Where sharing of equipment is required, it should be cleaned between uses.

Seguin praised Livingstone Range staff for dealing with the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“All staff have been working so hard,” Seguin said. “They have done a tremendous job in being so flexible, adapting, checking with parents, adapting again, and just trying their best to make this work.”

“Our parents too have made many adjustments and we’re so grateful for that, all the efforts of parents and kids to keep going and keep learning.”

School board vice-chair Lacey Poytress said she appreciates the hard work of everyone involved.

“I also hope that you will in your admin meeting on Friday express our gratitude as a board to the administrators and all the teachers who have been so flexible in delivering this on-line platform,” Poytress said. “We haven’t heard our teachers complaining. They just want to do their best for our students.”

“It’s a big deal preparing for three scenarios and knowing that you might be bouncing back and forth between those three, so please express our gratitude for the hard work that they are all doing.”

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