Local school boards release fall plans; lots of hand washing

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

The week of August 3 to 7, Lesser Slave Lake school boards released their plans for reopening in the fall. Health measures include: handwashing, assigned seating on the bus, quarantining paper for 10 days, and students not being able to use microwaves.

Slave Lake, Kinuso, and Smith schools are part of the High Prairie (HPSD), Living Waters Catholic, and Aspen View school divisions, and Koinonia Christians Schools. The plans are very similar.

While schools will be open for in-class teaching in the fall, local school divisions will also be supporting parents who choose at-home learning (See above article).

The plan for fall is to start with “Scenario 1: near normal operations,” says HPSD. However, schools need to be ready to move between this and the other two scenarios. “Scenario 2: schools are open for classes with some health restrictions that affect operations” and “Scenerio 3: students are not allowed in school to take classes – at-home learning continues.”

“All subjects will continue to be taught, but music will be adapted to meet health recommendations and blended with drama outcomes,” says Living Waters. “There will be a shift to prioritize time spent on core subjects while time spent on complementary subjects may be reduced to the focus shifted to reinforce literacy and numeracy skills as well as mental health and wellness.”

Sick days
HPSD says, “while this plan focuses on Scenario 1 – near-normal classroom teaching – a higher than usual absenteeism is expected due to the strict regulations around staying home if any COVID-19 related symptoms are present. Classroom teachers are responsible to provide instructional material to students who are at home sick or in isolation. Teachers must also be prepared to continue programming and content delivery in the event they are at home isolating.”

Living Waters says school starts and ends at the same time, but “there will be assigned drop-off and pick-up times for students being driven or walking to school.”

Aspen View has added an opt-out option on its bus form.

Students who ride the bus must wear masks, says HPSD. There will be assigned seating, and any students who develop symptoms on the bus will move to the isolation seat. Students who don’t obey the rules will not be allowed to ride the bus.

Both St. Mary of the Lake and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Schools in Slave Lake have nutrition programs.

Meal times will be staggered, says Living Waters. School nutrition programs can still run, but not as buffet or self-serve. “Staff and students will be required to pack in and pack out all food each day. Students will not be permitted to use microwave ovens. Classes that teach food preparation may occur as long as students do not share the food they prepare with other students or staff.”

“Water Fountains can remain open, mouthpieces of drinking fountains are not a major source of virus transmission and require regular cleaning. Students will be encouraged to fill water bottles rather than having them drink directly from the mouthpiece of a fountain.”

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