Back to School Plan for the 2021-2022 School Year
Last Updated: November 9, 2021
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in the Edmonton region, Edmonton Catholic Schools remains committed to the ongoing evaluation of our Back to School Plan in the interests of student and staff safety.
The Government of Alberta has introduced new health measures to protect students, staff, and communities as we face the challenges of this fourth wave of COVID-19.
Alberta Health is initiating contact notification in schools, resuming public reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools, clarifying COVID-19 outbreak definitions, providing at-home rapid test kits for families, and introducing a metric for pivoting K-6 classes to online learning.
At the direction of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services is notifying ECSD daily of the cases involving students and staff who were infectious with COVID-19 while at school. When schools notify their communities of possible COVID-19 exposure, we will share the school's name, the date reported, and the number of cases reported on our public website.
Public Reporting of COVID-19 Cases
Alberta Health is now publicly identifying schools in the province that have at least two COVID-19 cases. In addition, school COVID-19 outbreaks will also be reported at ten or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period that were deemed infectious while at school. Click here to view the list.
The province will now report schools as an outbreak when they have ten or more COVID-19 cases that were infectious at school within a 14-day period. Alberta Health Services continues to support schools to manage outbreaks and recommend additional public health measures.
At-Home Rapid Testing
Starting in late October, the province will provide rapid test kits to K-6 schools experiencing outbreaks so they can distribute kits to families. Rapid tests will be voluntary, and more information will be shared when available.
Shifts to Online Learning
Under these new measures, if three or more COVID-19 cases are identified within five days in a Kindergarten to Grade 6 class, that class will move to online learning for ten days. Your school will notify you if your child’s class needs to shift online. We will pivot using the same model we followed last year when the province moved students online. For technical support with the transition, click here.
Our Division continues to monitor attendance in schools. We have the flexibility to shift a grade or grades to online learning.
Prioritizing In-Person Learning
Our Back to School Plan is designed to support our schools in reducing the risk of transmission of illness and maintaining safe and healthy environments for our students and staff. Our plans were designed to prioritize in-person learning, limit disruptions, and provide opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular activities. Some procedures we introduced in our schools last year will continue because we know they are good practices in minimizing the transmission of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, influenza, and common colds.
As outlined in the Back to School Plan, we will continue with the following protocols:
- Self-screening by students and staff for symptoms using the Daily Screening Questionnaire or the Alberta Health Daily Checklist
- A focus on hand hygiene, including increased handwashing and availability of hand sanitizer in locations throughout the school where soap and water may not be available
- Masks are required in schools at all times for all students and staff from Kindergarten to Grade 12
- Enhanced cleaning
- HVAC systems will be maintained in accordance with manufacturer operational guidelines
- Supporting Alberta Health to host vaccination clinics in schools
There's an important update to the Daily Health Screening Checklist. Alberta Health says household contacts who are not fully vaccinated should isolate for 14 days after a household exposure. At this time, this isolation guidance does not apply to other settings like school or workplace.
WATCH BELOW: DR. DEENA HINSHAW EXPLAINS UPDATE TO DAILY HEALTH SCREENING CHECKLIST
We are committed to reviewing our Back to School plan on an ongoing basis, particularly in response to any updated direction from the Government of Alberta.
To view and download our Back to School Plan for the 2021-2022 school year, click here.
COVID-19 continues to cause pressures on our health care system, and has challenged our work, social and recreational activities, particularly for families with young children.