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Health, Safety, Wellness, and Weather

Illness in Schools

In order to keep communicable diseases out of our schools, it is important that anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of illness, including fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, remains at home until their symptoms resolve. Please inform your school if your child will not be attending for any reason. 

Schools will inform Alberta Health Services when they have school-wide student absentee rates over 10% due to illness so they can investigate and advise. This has always been our practice.

If Alberta Health Services identifies an outbreak due to illness, letters will be shared from AHS to your school community. Various illnesses may lead to an outbreak, including respiratory, gastrointestinal, and rashes. Alberta Health Services will share information about the outbreak and recommendations to minimize further transmission within the letter. 

What we are doing:

  • In order to help prevent the spread of any illness, students are encouraged to wash and/or sanitize their hands regularly. Hand sanitizer is readily available at our schools.
  • Our schools continue to prioritize cleaning and disinfecting to mitigate the spread of illness.
  • Staying home when sick is one of the most important ways we can protect our school communities. Students and staff are encouraged to monitor for symptoms daily before coming to school.
  • Ensuring proper ventilation in our schools and sites is extremely important to us.  We have installed the ASHRAE recommended MERV 13 filters in all of our schools and sites. This follows the guidelines put forward by ASHRAE last year.

Families will continue to have the choice about their children wearing a mask at school and individual decisions will be respected. Our priority is supporting a welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environment.


Immunizations

Learn more about Alberta Health Services’ recommended immunization schedule for families


Emergencies

Edmonton Catholic Schools’ first priority during an emergency is the safety of its students and staff. The types of emergencies include:

  • On-Alert: An On-Alert is initiated as a precaution. The threat is either outside the school or there is a medical emergency within the school. If the threat is outdoors and students are outside, they are to come into the school immediately. The exterior doors are locked and closed. Classes continue normally but outdoor activities are cancelled. 
  • Lockdown: A lockdown means there is an immediate threat to the school and emergency responders are present. All exterior and classroom doors are locked. Classes do not continue. Students and staff are not released from school until emergency responders say it is safe to do so.   
  • Evacuation: An evacuation requires all students and staff to leave the school and go to a designated location. In some cases, this may mean only going outside and away from the school building until it is safe to re-enter the school. In other cases, students and staff may need to go to an alternate location. Families would be informed of the alternate location. 

Families should know that the Division’s emergency planning and response process places a high degree of importance on reunifying families and students as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible. Once the school has met the first priorities of safely evacuating children and ensuring student accountability systems are fully operational, locations of parent reunification points will be provided in coordination with law enforcement and rescue personnel managing the incident.  

At the reunification site, school administrators and staff will account for all students. Certain emergency situations may not allow for parents to gain immediate access to their children. Law enforcement and fire rescue responders may limit the number of persons within the affected area as they manage the emergency.  Students are released only to authorized individuals listed on school documents/PowerSchool. Identification may be required. 

What should parents do in the event of an emergency?

The most helpful parental responses to a school emergency are to remain calm, refrain from calling the school, and wait for accurate information to be sent to the number listed on your child’s emergency contact. 

Additional key points: 

  • Remain calm, follow procedures, and cooperate with school and public safety officials. 
  • Remain close to the phone listed as your emergency contact number. 
  • Understand that emergency pickup procedures are different than routine pickup procedures. You may be required to pick up your child at school or at a designated family reunification site. 
  • Follow emergency procedures. If you are asked to pick up your child, you will be asked to follow the checkout procedure established for emergencies. 
  • The reunification system was developed to ensure the safety of students, and it is vital that the procedure be followed. 
  • Remain in designated areas at the family reunification site. 
  • Be patient!  

Swift Messaging

Edmonton Catholic Schools uses a school notification system called SwiftK12 (also known as Swift) to keep in contact with our families. This system allows the Division and its schools to quickly send important messages and emergency alerts.

If you would like to make changes to how you receive Swift messages, you can contact your school administrator and they can make changes to your contact information. 


Mental Health

Through a continuum of supports, all students in Edmonton Catholic Schools will be immersed within a culture that supports their mental health and well-being. Promoting positive mental health in schools is a shared responsibility of parents, educators, and community partners. 

Learn more about our Mental Health Strategic Plan


Inclement Weather

Edmonton Catholic Schools has procedures in place for inclement weather. 

Recess and Outdoor Activities 

Decisions regarding outdoor activities are guided by Administrative Procedure 131 and take into consideration inclement weather that may result from the following conditions or a combination of conditions: 

  • Continuous rain
  • Extreme wind
  • Extreme cold
  • Poor air quality

The suggested guideline is that students do not go outside if the temperature and wind chill factor are -20° C or colder. 

Air quality is to be monitored similar to extreme cold temperatures. The suggested guideline is that students do not go outside when air quality reaches an index of 7 or more. Principals are to carefully monitor the air quality in their area when the index reaches levels of 4-6, indicating a moderate risk.

Recess will be moved indoors only during extreme weather conditions, so students are to come to school dressed appropriately for the outdoors. Emergency procedures remain in effect regardless of the weather.

Yellow Bus Service 

Our transportation system has an excellent record for service; however, given the possible extremes of Edmonton weather and the potential for unexpected mechanical difficulties, it is impossible to guarantee buses will run on time or at all. A route can take significantly longer in adverse weather conditions. 

If weather delays or cancellations happen, we will notify parents as soon as we become aware. Parents are encouraged to monitor and subscribe to notifications through the BusPlanner Delays App. Families are advised that if a bus does not arrive within 20 minutes of its scheduled time, they are to assume that the bus is not coming. Families must ensure that their child knows to return home or to a pre-selected location and it is the responsibility of the family to make alternate arrangements to get their child to school.

Keeping Schools Open in Inclement Weather

Edmonton Catholic Schools prioritizes keeping schools open in extreme weather conditions to provide a safe, warm, and secure environment for students who attend. If you decide to keep your child home in severe weather, please let your school know. 

If there was a weather situation that requires the Division to cancel classes, ECSD families will be notified either by the school or the Division. 

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