COVID-19 Information

Guidance and plans for students to start the 2020-21 school year
Re-Entry Handbook
COVID-19 Information
Posted on 11/27/2020
COVID-19 Information

UPDATE - November 27, 2020


The Government of Alberta has announced a series of changes to address the global COVID-19 pandemic. Specific to schools, the following changes will be implemented:

 

Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Starting November 30

Grades 7-12 students

  • Move to at-home learning November 30 to January 8, except during winter break
  • Resume in-person classes January 11
  • Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June, and August 2021 exams

Grades K-6 students

  • Continue in-person learning to end of day December 18
  • Move to at-home learning January 4-8
  • Resume in-person classes January 11

 

On January 11, students will resume their regular instruction unless otherwise stated by the Government of Alberta. Students who were attending in-person classes will return to in-person classes. Students attending HPSD At-Home Learning will continue with HPSD at-home learning. 

 

Students will continue to receive curriculum delivery that shall meet the hours of instruction requirements as students in junior and senior high move to scenario 3.

 

Grade 7-12 Students

Starting Monday, November 30, all students attending in-person classes in Grades 7-12 will transition to learning from home until they return to in-person classes on Monday, January 11, unless otherwise stated by the Government of Alberta. 

 

Schools are sending class schedules home as well as posting these schedules on their websites and social media. It is expected that students will be attending classes via Google Classroom on a regular, daily basis. 

 

Kindergarten - Grade 6

Students attending in-person classes in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will continue with their in-person classes up to and including Friday, December 18.

 

After the Christmas break, in-person students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will transition to learning from home for the week of January 4-8 and will return to in-person classes on Monday, January 11, unless otherwise stated by the Government of Alberta. 

 

Should you have any questions on this continuity of learning, from technology or Internet concerns, in-school supports for your child, or completion of coursework, please reach out to your child's school for further details.

 

Supporting students with disabilities and in outreach programs

All students with disabilities who require support and services in any grade and students in outreach programs can continue to receive supports and services in-person at school, regardless of the shifts to at-home learning before and after the winter break.

 

  • This exemption for in-person learning was based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • In consultation with parents, schools are expected to continue to provide students with disabilities with services and support they need.

 

Students with Disabilities

Schools are reaching out to the families of Grade 7-12 students with disabilities to discuss this learning option. If you are a parent/guardian of a Grade 7-12 student with a disability and have not been contacted and are interested in this option for your child, please contact your child's school principal.

 

Accessing Schools (Outreach and Junior/Senior High)

Students may attend HPSD outreach schools and junior/senior high schools for assistance with downloading resources, to pick up coursework and other materials, for meetings with service providers, and other school-based supports or provisions provided that the following criteria are met:

  • The student shall make an appointment to enter the school, and that appointment shall be approved by the principal or designate,
  • The student shall follow all COVID-19 procedures as outlined by the HPSD School Re-Entry Plan and all provincial guidelines surrounding COVID-19,
  • If busing is required, the student shall make an appointment as outlined above with 48 hours' notice to allow the school to arrange busing, if possible.
  • If a Grade 7-12 student rides the bus to school to access the available supports and services, they shall remain at the school for the remainder of the school day. If they leave the school, they will not be able to ride the bus home,
  • CTS labs, weight rooms, and gymnasiums at schools will not be accessible for staff or students while the school is listed in scenario 3.


Diploma Exams

The Government of Alberta has announced an update regarding diploma exams. On their website, www.alberta.ca/diploma-exams.aspx, they have stated that the January 2021, April 2021, June 2021, and August 2021 diploma exams are optional due to COVID-19.

 

They go further to mention that there are circumstances where a student may need to write a diploma exam, such as when required by a post-secondary institution, when students want to raise their mark, or are interested in having a diploma mark on their transcript.

 

We encourage students who wish to write diploma exams to speak with their teachers and parents. Once written, the diploma exam mark (worth 30%) will be reflected on their transcript.


UPDATE - November 25, 2020


The Government of Alberta has announced a series of changes to address the global COVID-19 pandemic. Specific to schools, the following changes will be implemented:

 

Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Starting November 30

Grades 7-12 students

  • Move to at-home learning November 30 to January 8, except during winter break
  • Resume in-person classes January 11
  • Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams

Grades K-6 students

  • Continue in-person learning to end of day December 18
  • Move to at-home learning January 4-8
  • Resume in-person classes January 11

 

On January 11, students will resume their regular instruction. Students who were attending in-person classes will return to in-person classes. Students attending HPSD At-Home Learning will continue with HPSD at-home learning. 

 

"We are taking strong, targeted new measures to protect both lives and livelihoods and bend the COVID-19 curve back down. Today we have declared a state of public health emergency, taking firm action to protect Albertans' health and our health-care system. Without these measures, we will soon have to cancel thousands of surgeries and other health services. Albertans must act together to protect the vulnerable."

-Jason Kenney, Premier

 

Students will continue to receive curriculum delivery that shall meet the hours of instruction requirements.

 

We remind parents/guardians of students, as well as any staff/visitors/volunteers to continue monitoring for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 as part of their routine daily practice. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found here. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.

 

More information can be found on the Government of Alberta website, www.alberta.ca/covid19. Thank you for your support as we work to address this new information.


UPDATE - November 18, 2020


The holiday season is upon us. This has traditionally been a time that students, staff, and their families are enjoying the much-deserved break by travelling, within Canada and abroad.

 

High Prairie School Division would like to remind everyone that there are travel advisories in place for all Albertans. Although there is an international travel pilot project in Alberta, there are additional quarantine requirements for those in school and child care settings.

 

Like it is now, when returning to school after the Christmas break, staff and students will be required to complete the Government of Alberta's daily screening questionnaire. The student and adult survey both ask if you've travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days. It further states, "Individuals are legally required to quarantine for 14 days when entering or returning to Alberta from outside Canada unless exempted by the Alberta COVID-19 Border Testing Pilot Program". 

 

If you do travel out-of-province this holiday season, ensure that you are following the most current quarantine guidelines from the Government of Alberta. Thank you for your support and understanding.


UPDATE - November 4, 2020


The Government of Alberta has updated the COVID-19 symptoms for students. They have moved the loss of sense of smell or taste into the core symptoms and the sore throat and runny nose symptoms into the secondary symptoms. The list of COVID-19 symptoms for adults has not changed at this time.

If a student has any of the core symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or loss of sense of smell or taste), the Government of Alberta website states they are to:

  • Isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days from when symptoms started or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
  • COVID-19 testing is recommended.
  • Can return to school before 10 days only if a COVID-19 test is negative, symptoms are gone, and the student was not a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.

With the secondary symptoms (chills, sore throat/painful swallowing, runny nose/congestion, headache, muscle or joint aches, feeling unwell/fatigued, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, unexplained loss of appetite, or pink eye), they have separated the directions between 1 symptom or 2 or more symptoms.

One of the secondary symptoms:

  • Stay home from school and monitor for 24 hours. If after 24 hours your symptoms improve, you may return to school when you are feeling better.
  • A COVID-19 test is not required but is available.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.

If a child has any 2 of the secondary symptoms, or after 24 hours, their condition gets worse or they develop a second symptom:

  • COVID-19 test recommended.
  • May return to school after symptoms are gone, even without a COVID-19 test or results.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.

This information can be found on the Government of Alberta website, https://www.alberta.ca/k-to-12-school-re-entry-2020-21-school-year.aspx. The link to the daily screening questionnaire for students and staff is also on this website.

UPDATE - October 12, 2020


A case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in a student from Kinuso School. The student was contacted by Alberta Health Services as a known contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The student went in for testing and has been notified that they are positive for COVID-19. The student has been in isolation since they were notified as a known contact. A second student in the same household additionally tested positive for COVID-19. They have also been in isolation for the same time period and received their positive test results. Both students are asymptomatic. The school will be listed on the Alberta COVID-19 school status map website as in outbreak. A school meets that criteria if they have 2 or more confirmed cases within a 14-day period.

We are working closely with Alberta Health Services to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect all students.

Alberta Health Services will be contacting parents/guardians of students, as well as any staff/visitors/volunteers who may have been in close contact with the case. They will be contacting these close contacts by email.

We remind parents/guardians of students, as well as any staff/visitors/volunteers to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found here. Please remember to complete the checklist each day prior to attending school.

As a reminder, if you/your child has any of the symptoms of illness listed on the Alberta Health daily checklist, please fill out the online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811 and stay home/keep your child at home.

We will continue to provide additional information to parents/guardians as it is available.

UPDATE - August 30, 2020 

We have been informed by Alberta Health Services (AHS) that an individual who was recently in Prairie River Junior High School has tested positive for COVID-19. We are taking precautionary measures, under the direction of AHS. In response to the disclosure, we are delaying all student re-entry at Prairie River Junior High tomorrow. We will stay in contact with parents as we learn more from AHS.

All people/visitors/staff must wear masks in all HPSD buildings where physical distancing of 2 metres is not possible.

 

UPDATE - August 24, 2020 

Staggered Entry - We have had some questions about the staggered entry schools will do to orientate students back into the school. Each school will have only a portion of students in the school each day throughout the first week.

While we understand this is short notice we have waited to see if the province was going to change the start date as other provinces in Canada have done. At this point, we anticipate a return on August 31 with different cohorts coming into school each day. This will allow the schools to teach students proper hand hygiene, mask-wearing, cohorts, physical distancing, and other protocols new to us all. This step is being taken to ensure the safe return to school minimizing anxiety about the return and understanding the protocols, rules and restrictions we will all have to abide by.

If any parent has a problem with the staggered schedule they should call their child's school to make alternate arrangements. We want to accommodate you as much as possible.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. Our parents and communities have been so supportive and considerate. We are all in this together and trying to do what is best for everyone. 

 

UPDATE - August 18, 2020 

High Prairie School Division would like to thank you for your support and your patience as we work to develop our school re-entry plans based on the HPSD re-entry handbook. We want to give all parents and guardians as much time as possible with their back to school option so they can make the decision that best supports their family. Schools are presently working on class lists and hope to have them completed after August 26th which is the deadline for At-Home Learners to decide if they will be taking advantage of this student learning option. If you would like to sign-up for HPSD At-Home Learning, please fill out the information form located on our website, https://hpsd.ca/news/whats_new/covid19/student_learning_options by August 26th. After that time, we may not be able to guarantee you a spot in the At-Home Learning. Class lists may need change to accommodate physical distancing and equitable class sizes as we finalize our number of in-person and at-home learners.

If you have not already done so, please fill out our school re-entry survey Your responses will shape future updates to our re-entry plan and assist with strategic planning in the coming weeks.

HPSD Re-Entry Handbook
https://hpsd.ca/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=24210081

Re-Entry Survey
https://hpsd.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e3BuoV0CVXWc2UZ

Again, we would like to thank you for your support as we work together to provide a continuity of student learning with safety and equity.


UPDATE - August 6, 2020 

High Prairie School Division has completed the initial re-entry plan for in-person classes this fall. The 
re-entry plan handbook, which can be found on our website, was developed to guide schools in the relaunch of classes, both in-person and HPSD At Home Learning, for all students. This document may be updated as new information around the COVID-19 pandemic continues to emerge and further direction from our partners at Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services is provided. Thank you for your patience as we worked to compile this comprehensive document aimed at answering as many questions about the HPSD re-entry plan as possible.

 

In addition to our re-entry handbook, we have included the link to our re-entry survey. We ask all parents and guardians to complete the re-entry survey as we enter the last month of before in-person classes resume on August 31. Your responses will shape future updates to our re-entry plan and assist with strategic planning in the coming weeks.

 

HPSD Re-Entry Handbook

https://hpsd.ca/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=24210081

 

Re-Entry Survey

https://hpsd.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e3BuoV0CVXWc2UZ


UPDATE - April 1, 2020 


Starting at the end of April, parents and guardians can expect monthly busing fees to be returned via cheque. This will continue for each month that busing services are not provided to students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools are in the process of returning other school fees to parents and guardians. For fees collected to cover materials, they will be returned to parents and guardians if the materials have not already been purchased. Thank you for your support!


UPDATE - March 29, 2020

High Prairie School Division is committed to providing quality public education to our students in a welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environment. On Saturday, March 28, Alberta Education announced to the province that they will be adjusting K-12 education funding. "While funding for teachers and most other aspects of the K-12 system is being maintained, funding for transportation and some services not being utilized in an at-home learning environment, such as substitute teachers and educational assistants, is being temporarily reduced while in-person classes remain cancelled. Any savings from these adjustments will be re-allocated to support Alberta’s COVID-19 response." read a press release from Alberta Education.

As with the continuing evolution of COVID-19, so is the landscape of education. The directives from our Education Minister have reflected the change in our province as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to providing a continuity of student learning and content delivery. The plans to do so were developed with/by our schools and included all of our school-based staff. The announcement yesterday was very disappointing and in direct contrast to the message from Minister LaGrange on March 15 stating "...school authorities will still receive their full allotment of funding for the 2019-20 school year".

Our schools depend on support staff to effectively deliver the Alberta curriculum to our diverse student population. We count on them each and every day to perform their duties and support our educational enterprises. The demand for substitute teachers, educational assistants, librarians, secretaries, and all other non-teaching staff has not diminished in this new delivery model. The need to provide extra supports to our students has become even more vital with a distance learning model. The preparation of differentiated curriculum-based resources to be successfully distributed to our over 3,100 students and their families was counting on our whole team of professionals to get the job done.

On Monday, March 30, school authorities will be meeting with provincial leaders to see what our next steps are in this new reality. We will be working, again, with our school leaders to put new plans in place if we are unsuccessful at finding any other options to mitigate this significant setback. Please know that your child's education remains our top priority. We will work together to ensure that we continue to support your children as best we can. In the press release from Alberta Education, it additionally stated that "Any staff impacted by these funding adjustments will qualify for the federal government’s enhanced employment insurance program and other support programs for Canadian workers". The full media release can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=699465898F7E9-EA93-B067-439512D7916A21C2.

We are extremely concerned about our staff who will be impacted by these decisions. This is a very difficult time in education, in our province, and in our world. We appreciate your continued support and understanding as we work through another new challenge together. Further information will be provided once we are able to finalize those details. At this time, our thoughts are with the valued staff who are at the heart of these decisions.

UPDATE - March 20, 2020

High Prairie School Division is working with students and their families to meet the new directive from Alberta Education. We will continue to provide support to students and their families with a continuity of education. This will be done with respect for staff who work from home, as needed. Full details on the expectations from Alberta Education for student learning can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=69874B5C32DE7-C7B9-FAFF-518A0FF91DCFD41D.

With respect to fees paid to schools, including busing, we anticipate having further information by the end of next week. Thank you for your patience as we finalize those details.

High Prairie School Division is dedicated to ensuring that each learner is successful and supported in their education. We cannot do this without you and value your continued support. Our staff are ready and willing to help students and families through this modified learning environment.

UPDATE - March 19, 2020

We would like to provide you with an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have been reaching out to students across our division to continue delivering content. As we move into the regularly scheduled spring break next week, our schools will be closed starting Saturday, March 21 and will reopen on Monday, March 30 for staff only, pending no further changes or directives from Alberta Education or Alberta Health Services.

Students are still prohibited from returning to class.

We are posting updates on our website at www.hpsd.ca/covid19. Updates from the Government of Alberta can be found at www.alberta.ca/covid19.

At the Board meeting yesterday, the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school year calendars were approved. They are on our website now at www.hpsd.ca/calendar/school_calendar.

Lastly, the Government of Alberta has released information about a new mobile app to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic. Their media release states:

Albertans can now meet with Alberta-licensed physicians through their smartphone, thanks to an initiative by TELUS Health. Babylon by TELUS Health is a service already available in British Columbia via a free downloadable app. The app can serve as a new tool for Albertans to access health-care information and support in response to COVID-19 – from anywhere in the province. Albertans can use the service to check symptoms, book appointments, see a doctor, and get prescriptions and referrals for diagnostic imaging and specialists – all covered by Alberta Health Care. https://www.telus.com/en/ab/health/personal/babylon


UPDATE - March 17, 2020

We would like to provide you with an update regarding the COVID-19 situation in our division. We are aware of the positive testing in the AHS north zone. We strongly encourage anyone concerned about personal contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to follow direction from Alberta Health Services at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx.

The Government of Alberta has declared a state of emergency under the Public Health Act. All events over 50 people are to be cancelled, no attendance at rec centres, casinos, bingo halls, bars, theatres and other facilities. Sit-down restaurants can remain open at a lower capacity. Again, this information can be found at www.alberta.ca/COVID19.

We know there are many questions about content delivery to students. This is something that we are working on within our division, and within our education zone. Many of our teachers have been reaching out to students and families, as possible. If you haven’t heard anything yet, we kindly ask for your patience as we are working with our school staff and education partners on this key issue.

We know how stressful this time has been and would like to commend our communities fortheir calm and resilience. As stated in previous updates, the information surrounding this situation is constantly evolving and we are working to keep you up-to-date with accurate information in a timely manner. To receive text messages from our division, please opt-in by texting “y” or “yes” to 978338. Standard Text Message & Data rates may apply. Thank you for your support in these unprecedented times.

UPDATE - March 16, 2020

Thank you for your patience as we work through the next-steps in this new reality for education. We have received a number of questions and are still finding answers and working closely with our government to ensure the information you receive is accurate and timely. As stated yesterday, effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited. Students and their families may come to school to pick up personal items provided the following is adhered to:

  • Access to pick up personal items must be scheduled with the school. No parents or students are to enter the school without an appointment.
  • Appointments must be made to limit the total number of people in the school
  • Access will be limited to entering the school, picking up their personal items, and exiting.
  • If the personal items are not needed urgently, we would ask parents and guardians to wait until a later date to retrieve those items.

No persons are to enter the school if they are sick, on self-isolation, or have not made an appointment with the school. No exceptions. All school doors are to be locked and entry is to be logged with the name, date and time, and contact numbers. This is for the health and well-being of everyone.

We will continue to update you as we are able to. Thank you for your continued support.


UPDATE - March 15, 2020

The Government of Alberta has made the decision to cancel all classes in the province.

“...We are indefinitely cancelling all classes across the province. Students are expected to stay home” stated Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.

According to a media release from Minister LaGrange, "Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met and to support student learning. Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction. Given the unique situation, my department and I will work with school divisions throughout this process, and school authorities will still receive their full allotment of funding for the 2019-20 school year. I know these are challenging times for everyone. I will be sending an open letter to parents in the coming days, and Alberta Education will be working directly with you to help navigate through these changes."

Further, the Government of Alberta website alberta.ca/COVID19 states the following:

Schools
Effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited.

School authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of school facilities. Maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities and administrative work will continue.

Every K-12 student will receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests, will be cancelled. At this time, diploma exams essential for post-secondary acceptance will continue. Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.

Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met. Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction.

Quick Facts

  • The most important measures that Albertans can take to prevent respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, is to practise good hygiene.
  • This includes cleaning your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately, and staying home and away from others if you are sick.
  • Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.
  • For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit alberta.ca/COVID19.

We anticipate more clear directions from Alberta Education in the coming days and we will provide those updates as they become available. The government is posting updated information on their website, alberta.ca/COVID19. Thank you for your support as we work to address this new information.

For more information on the coronavirus from the Government of Alberta, go to alberta.ca/COVID19.

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