As previously communicated, on January 5th, Premier Kenney and CMOH Hinshaw provided the notice that students will be returning to classes in person on Monday, January 10th.
Our Board is aware that families are concerned about the contagion rate of the Omicron variant. We want to ensure your confidence in GYPSD's buildings' safety by reminding everyone of our health and safety protocols and measures - including that all of our buildings have a MERV 13 Air filtration System.
The province is going to be providing five at-home rapid tests (see attachment below) for each student and staff member to test twice per week for 2.5 weeks, and a two-week supply of medical-grade masks through schools to students and school staff through a phased approach. Both pediatric and adult medical-grade mask distribution will be coordinated through Alberta's PPE Task Force. I did receive a few inquires regarding the use of previously supplied masks (3 layer cloth with filter) and those are acceptable. In essence, the 1 layer paper masks are no longer recommended so if your child has the three layer mask which I believe the majority of our students do they are good to go.
During this Christmas Break, all of our schools underwent a deep clean. Custodial staff continue to be in the school during the day to disinfect high-touch areas in addition to their regular cleaning processes - as was established last year. School bus seats and all high-touch areas are disinfected every day.
Team sports, practices, and extra-curricular activities wi
GYPSD is committed to keeping schools open. Our Division's diligence and adherence to health and safety best practices over the past 20 months have been inspected by Alberta Health Services OH&S Inspectors. As per the request of the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education, the Board of Trustees for GYPSD has implemented a proof of vaccine status or negative test protocol for GYPSD staff, and adults who work in, volunteer, or visit GYPSD properties for longer than 15 minutes.
Please see the Alberta Health Services website for information on vaccine safety and availability for children aged 5 and above.
When your children return to school on Monday, please note the following enhanced practices:
- all children in Grades 4-12 must wear a fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth the entire time they are in the building.
- GYPSD recommends that children in Kindergarten-Grade 3 wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth
- all children who ride a school bus must wear a fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth and stay in their assigned seat
- your children must be assessed each morning for COVID-19 symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist
- children who are sick or showing symptoms must be kept home
- GYPSD mandates that children who have household members with COVID-19 must be kept home during AHS's isolation period
- please review the health and safety measures with your children:
- they do not share food, toys, or water bottles with their friends
- they frequently wash their hands or use hand sanitizer
- they stay within their designated cohort
- they keep their mask over their nose and mouth while in the school
- they maintain physical distance when they are outside and/or unmasked
- they respectfully follow the health and safety rules of their school
Communication between school and home is extremely important, especially in our ever changing world. With this in mind, I thought I should clarify the statement in the communication sent out on Jan. 7th.
"All children in Grades 4-12 must wear a fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth the entire time they are in the building."
This statement could be easily miss-interpreted. What is meant by this is when social distancing in the building is challenging. As prior to the Christmas break our students may remove their masks when sitting in their desks, eating and during Physical Education/Daily physical activity. Our grade levels will remain in their cohort and designated hallways.
We hope this helps, if you have any further questions please let us know.
We look forward to having our students return to school on Monday. Our properties are clean, safe, and ready to receive your children back to their learning.
We wish you a very Happy New Year and share our deep appreciation for your patience and support of our staff during these challenging times.