COVID Re-Entry Update - August 4, 2020

COVID Re-Entry Update - August 4, 2020

Attention:  PRSD Families
Re: Mid-Summer COVID Update

This has been a very unique and challenging year for everyone. Now that we’re into the month of August, we recognize there are still many questions about what school will look like this fall in Prairie Rose schools. We’d like to take a moment to address some of those questions with a brief update.

On July 21st, the provincial government confirmed that school would be resuming in the fall under scenario 1. This is great news for students, parents and staff who are eager to have students back in class. Much of the planning for a return to school in the fall was done by our school leadership team and your school principals before the summer break. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to review our ‘draft’ back to school plan.

Prairie Rose School Division - School Re-Entry Plan (updated August 10, 2020)

An updated version of this plan along with further details regarding the first day of school, stay-at-home illness procedures, cohort groups and more, will be coming out later this month. It is important to us that the information we provide you for re-entry is accurate, timely and clear. With three and a half weeks before school begins, further provincial updates regarding COVID-19 are still likely and need to be included in our final plan. We commit to making sure you have everything you need before your child comes to school on the first day of class.

That being said, we did want to take a moment to address some of the more common questions we’ve heard from families about the return to school this fall specifically about masks, Chromebook use, and learning options. 

Mask Use in Schools

On August 4th, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw shared that masks would be mandatory for all staff and students in grades 4-12 whenever students were outside of their cohort classrooms (media release can be found here). As this has now been mandated at the provincial level, schools will be provided with two reusable masks for each child. We do not have any further information on the type of masks being supplied or when they will be available. Again, we will share more information with you about the use of masks closer to the start of the school year.

Chromebooks for Grade 4-12 Students

Another frequent question has been to do with the implementation of Chromebooks for students in grades 4-12, and if so, then whether school supplies were necessary. At this point, all students are asked to purchase school supplies as requested by their schools. Detailed lists have been posted on the Prairie Rose website for each school. In addition, Prairie Rose will be issuing Chromebooks to students in grades 4-12. We are currently accepting feedback about this initiative and welcome any thoughts you’d like to share. More information about Chromebook use can also be found on the Back to School page of the Prairie Rose website.

Learning Options

There is varying information on social media regarding the types of learning options that will be available for students this fall. While parents are in the best position to choose what’s best for their family, it is important to note that school divisions have not been given the authority to decide whether a school comes back under scenario 1, scenario 2, or scenario 3. This decision is made at the provincial level and not by school jurisdictions. It is our role to work with the guidelines provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Health to ensure safe learning environments under all three scenarios. With the direction for ‘near normal’ return to school this fall (scenario 1), it is our hope we will see all our students back in class. Most of you would have filled out registration forms in the spring for this year. If your child is registered at a Prairie Rose school and we do not hear from you during the first week of classes, someone will follow up to discuss how we can best support your child’s learning.

Again, we hope you and your loved ones have been able to enjoy a safe and happy summer holiday. We hope this letter has helped address some of the more common questions you may have around re-entry this fall. If you have any further pressing questions prior to the release of our full updated plan later this month, feel free to email communications@prrd8.ca.

Roger Clarke
Superintendent of Schools
Prairie Rose School Division