WCPS, MLA Ron Orr discuss Scenario 1 reopening

WCPS, MLA Ron Orr discuss Scenario 1 reopening

Schools will operate at near-normal levels come fall

The Government of Alberta announced on July 21, 2020 that schools in Alberta would reopen in the fall under scenario one, which is “near-normal daily operations with health measures.”

Face masks for staff and students will be optional, and practices such as physical distancing, cohorting, frequent handwashing, staying home when sick and increased cleaning of surfaces, will be followed.

“We are determined to do everything that we can to safely return our students, teachers and staff to school,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange in the press release.

According to Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, as the Alberta Government had stated the decision would be made by August 1, the July 21 was not ahead of schedule, however, the government wanted to give parents, schools and school boards as much notice as possible, in order to relieve pressure they may be feeling.

“There’s a high level of interest and concern on both sides of what we should do,” said Orr, adding parents are concerned for the health of their family, while others are concerned about the education of their children who weren’t learning well at home.

“There’s a lot of concern and anxiety.”

Orr says the decision to go with scenario one was made through discussions and a concerted effort between the chief medical officer of health, the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA), and the association of superintendents.

“We attempted to balance the concerns for health with the ongoing concern for the education of kids.”

As of July 23, Ponoka County had seven active cases (www.alberta.ca).

According to Orr, each school board will have the freedom, permissions and authority to suspend a class or school in the event of an outbreak.

Orr added that the UCP just passed the Freedom in Education bill, and parents will have the choice to send their child to school or home-school them, or work with their school to continue teacher-directed at-home learning.

“No parent will be forced to send their kid to school.”

The UCP government has added $15 million to Alberta school boards to assist with social distancing renovations, such as touch-less toilets, sinks and fountains, and $120 million for operational funding.

According to the July 21 Government of Alberta press release, Wolf Creek Public Schools will be receiving $940, 371 more than it did in 2019, for a total of $76,880,371.

This, after the school division had been facing a $3 million deficit this past school year.

READ MORE: WCPS faces significant, severe funding shortfall in wake of provincial budget

In June, the WCPS board allocated $400,000 for COVID-19 costs.

“Those funds, which are from unspent budget allocations due to reduced operational costs during the COVID-19 school closures, will ensure items such as enhanced sanitation, increased custodial FTE, PPE procurement, including signage, hand sanitizer, masks, shields, gloves, hands-free water faucets and fountains, etcetera,” said Lovell in a provided statement.

WCPS also received a Plant Operations and Maintenance Grant amounting to $7.3 million which can be used for COVID-19 related costs and resources.

Although the full costs won’t be known until late in the school year, Lovells says WCPS is “confident going into the next school year based on the commitment our Board has made and the flexibility we have in our budget.”

Many health protocols from kindergarten to Grade 12 are the same, but there are some differences.

“Student cohorting is one example. Another difference is protocols on playgrounds, lunch and breaks, there will also be some limits on activities in specific classes and courses at specific grade levels.

“In particular in music, they would not play wind instruments, or sing. These measures are not unique to Wolf Creek Public Schools, but are to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment, while preserving the kind of classroom structure students are accustomed to.”

The school division has been working on several contingency plans for reopening for several months.

“Because of the close collaborative work with the Alberta Government and Alberta Health, the Alberta government’s plans are closely aligned with ours and we can now formally move our plans forward at both the division and school level.

“We are confident that we have an excellent plan that will focus on addressing the many health and safety concerns around COVID-19, while supporting student learning in the place that it is most effective, which is the classroom,” said Lovell, adding WCPS will need cooperation and support from all partners, including students, staff, parents and the community to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

READ MORE: Letter: Province needs better plan for schools

Their will be daily health protocols in place, such as daily screening for staff and students, regular and thorough sanitation of buildings, proper hand hygiene and appropriate physical distancing when possible.

A letter to parents was sent out on July 23, with additional information on reopening.

Individualized school re-entry plans will be released between Aug. 24 to 28.

A re-entry tool kit for parents can be found at www.alberta.ca

CoronavirusMLA Ron OrrPonokaWolf Creek Public Schools

 

WCPS, MLA Ron Orr discuss Scenario 1 reopening

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist denied parole, Paul Bernardo, had plans to relocate to Kelowna

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

Most Read