Rocky View Schools announces 2021 back-to-school operational plan

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

Rocky View Schools (RVS) board of trustees recently approved the 2021/22 Return to School Operational Plan.

“RVS continues to rely on the direction and guidance of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) to make decisions about health-related practices in schools,” says a letter to parents signed by Fiona Gilbert, board chair, and Greg Luterbach, superintendent of schools.

“We encourage you to read the full RVS plan for more information as you prepare for September.”

According to a letter sent out to parents from RVS on Sept. 6, the Government of Alberta announced a series of temporary health measures being implemented province-wide to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed on Sept. 3.

“The board of trustees and senior administration met this weekend to review these new measures. After careful consideration, RVS is making some changes to our Return to School Operational Plan,” says the letter.

To align with the new provincial health measures, RVS is strengthening masking requirements for RVS schools and sites.

Effective immediately, a non-medical face mask will now be required while inside RVS schools and sites for:
• All students (pre-Kindergarten – Grade 12)
• All staff members
• All visitors/volunteers

Masks for students and staff can be removed indoors while:
• Engaging in instruction in a classroom
• Consuming food or drink
• Participating in physical exercise, music, band, or arts performances

Masks will not be required outdoors at RVS schools and sites and RVS will support individuals who choose to wear a mask while in the classroom or outside.

Continued protocols to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses include:
•    Students, staff and visitors must use the daily health checklist before coming to school and stay home when sick
•    Students and staff who become ill at school are required to go home
•    Promote and facilitate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
•    Enhanced ventilation measures
•    Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic/touch areas

The letter goes on to state, “we are aware that a small number of individuals may not be able to wear masks due to sensory or health issues. If you require a mask exemption for your child, parents/guardians can complete the mask exemption request form and send it to their principal.”

As per the provincial requirements, masks continue to be required for all individuals (students, drivers, volunteers, and staff) on a school bus. A copy of the same exemption form can be sent to Transportation Department if a mask exemption is requested for your child on the bus.

“We recognize that there will be a variety of opinions on these new measures,” states the letter.

“RVS continues to find a balanced and thoughtful approach as we support the social, emotional, physical, and learning needs of our students while addressing provincial efforts to protect our healthcare system and reduce transmission of COVID-19. RVS will continue to monitor the evolving situation in our communities and schools and seek advice and direction from the CMOH, AHS and Alberta Education.

RVS has also developed two contingency plans as required by government – Contingency 1: In-School Learning with Enhanced Health Measures and Contingency 2: At-Home Learning.

These contingency plans are publicly available on the RVS website and will be implemented, if needed, at the direction of government.

“We thank you for your ongoing support and flexibility as we continue to work together to keep our schools safe and positive learning environments,” states the letter.

“We look forward to welcoming students back to school in September and wish you and your family a successful 2021/22 school year.”