As students head back to the classrooms this year they will have to welcome a host of new rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) have implemented a reentry plan which places student and staff safety in the forefront.
Arriving at School
WCPS will be requiring students to practise hand hygiene with sanitizer stations located at every entrance and exit of all schools and classrooms. Students will have a designated door for entry and busses will be staged to ensure students are coming and going in a socially distanced manner.
After entering the building students will go directly to their classroom space with their cohort of students rather than congregating in the halls. No lockers are being used.
“Once they’re in that space, as much as possible, we’re keeping them in that one space and trying to limit the movement of those students to different spaces throughout the day,” said Jayson Lovell, superintendent of schools for WCPS.
Additionally, the school board is asking parents to perform a daily health check, or screening, for symptoms before sending their children off to school.
Within WCPS, Lovell says, ideally, elementary level students would be in the same classroom space virtually all day with the exception of recess and lunch breaks as they focus on maintaining cohorts.
Classroom spaces are being reconfigured to adhere to the physical distancing requirement of two metres.
“In some of our schools that’s a lot easier than others, for example, [Rimbey Junior/Senior High School],” explained Lovell.
“In a school like [Rimbey Junior/Senior High] it’s probably manageable and attainable to create that space, whereas in our larger schools we’re going to have some challenges.”
The larger schools, such as École Secondaire Lacombe Composite, are switching to a quartered semester system to help reduce the number of cohorts. This will have students make only one classroom switch during the day at lunch time exposing them to two cohort groups.
If a classroom space is unable to adhere to the two metre requirement, masks will need to be worn by students and staff in the classroom.
Strict protocols about isolation should any student or staff member develop symptoms throughout the day will also be in place.
Physical Education and Music
For both WCPS physical education classes are permitted, but are encouraged to be held outside as much as possible.
Activities are to be modified to maintain a social distance and reduce the possibility of transmission as much as possible.
Additionally, music classes are also allowed to go ahead with the exceptions.
WCPS is not allowing, for example, singing or brass instruments, but instruments such as the drums or guitar are OK.
Lovell says he is feeling confident with WCPS’ plan as it makes the most sense to start tight to gauge reentry and then loosen restrictions as it becomes fit.
Full details regarding Wolf Creek Public School’s reentry plans can be found on their websites.