INNISFAIL – Chinook’s Edge School Division’s school re-entry plan is working well in keeping students, teachers, staff and others safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, says superintendent Kurt Sacher.
The division’s re-entry plan has included provisions for physical distancing, hand-washing, and mask use on school buses and in common areas within school buildings.
“We are very pleased with our schools,” said Sacher. “Our schools have been meticulous about following the protocols. The students have been cooperative with respect to mask requirements and staff have followed suit.
“As a general rule it is moving forward very well. It is a bit of a challenge for staff with the intermittent attendance with us seeing a few more student absences due to people being extra safe. Parents are keeping their children home when they are sick and we really appreciate that.”
Students returned to schools early last month on a rotational basis, and then on a full-time basis mid-month.
Associate superintendent corporate services Shawn Russell gave trustees an update on the re-entry plan during the Oct. 7 board meeting.
A government inspector has conducted site investigations at four Chinook’s Edge schools as part of a provincial review on safety restrictions and adherence, and determined that the division is meeting those requirements, he said.
The inspector was also provided with a detailed hazard assessment report for each school, he said.
As part of the re-entry plan, the division’s occupational health and safety committee has moved to monthly meetings instead of quarterly.
Alberta Health has reviewed the full Chinook’s Edge re-entry plan and has found it to be thorough and effective in detail, he said.
The division’s superintendent team has been in contact with various provincial government departments since schools re-opened, he said.
Asked if the division is making any updates or changes to its re-entry plan, superintendent Sacher said, “We are just tweaking it a little bit. We are encouraging administrators to be creative relative to locker spaces as winter comes.
“We’ve been providing them with a bit of direction around Halloween. There are some restrictions in that regard that we’ve been relaying.
“In a typical elementary there might have been parade in costumes and we will be avoiding that sort of thing. And in the past we would be more open to parents providing candy and stuff like that and now we are asking that the teachers take charge of that.”
Alberta Health has issued protocols for all schools regarding Halloween events during the pandemic, he said.