Staggered school year starts Aug. 31, Sept. 2, or Sept. 8

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake, Kinuso and Smith school offices will be re-opening this week, with classes starting Aug. 31, Sept. 2 or 8th depending on the school. The first week of classes will be a bit different because not everyone will attend every day. This is called a staggered start. Also, throughout the year, drop-off and pick-up times are staggered.

Before school starts

All High Prairie School Division school offices will reopen on Aug. 25. This includes E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary, C.J. Schurter Elementary, Roland Michener Secondary, and Kinuso Schools.

Smith School opens for staff on Aug. 26. Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School office opens on Thursday, August 27.

Aug. 26 is the deadline for E.G. Wahlstrom students to sign up for ‘at-home learning,’ says an E.G. Wahlstrom letter about the staggered reopening. “After that time, we may not be able to guarantee you a spot in ‘at-home learning’.” Class assignments will be finalized after that day and in class students will be assigned to a class.

Other schools’ deadlines for at-home learning sign-up may be different. However, all school divisions are offering some type of at-home learning option.

First week of classes

Smith School, which is part of Aspen View School Division, starts classes on Wednesday, September 2. All students will attend all three days of school that week.

Many schools in the area are having a staggered start, which means that the first week of school students do not attend school every day.

High Prairie School Division’s first week of classes starts Monday, Aug. 31, but students only attend one to four days depending on the school. For all HPSD schools, normal classes with all students start September 8, the Tuesday after Labour Day.

St. Mary of the Lake and St. Francis Assisi Catholic Schools students attend either Aug. 31 or Sept. 1. Regular classes start Wednesday, Sept. 2.  

HPSD schools are organized by grade. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School is organized by last name. St. Mary and C.J. Schurter parents will be informed by the end of this week which days to send their children the first week of school.

Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School will start classes on Sept. 8. These classes will be half classes, which means half of each class will attend on Tuesday and Thursday and the other half will attend Wednesday and Friday. The older grades classes will be held at the Community Christian Centre.

Swan River First Nation School in Kinuso hadn’t solidified start dates as of Aug. 24.

(See list below for breakdown of staggered first week).


A letter from St. Francis of Assisi School gives the following reason for the staggered start:

“During our first days of school, students will have an opportunity to come to school in smaller cohorts and become familiar with the new arrival routines, doors of entry,

student cohorts, class schedules, lunch routines, movement within the building and

dismissal. We also believe that bringing students together in a smaller group will

prevent students and families feeling overwhelmed on the first day of school.”

A letter from Aspen View announcing its staggered approach says the delay of two days is to ensure that the promised masks and other personal protective equipment arrives from the Alberta government, staff can learn the new protocols, and teachers can change lesson plans to “ensure continuity among both in-school learners and those accessing alternate program delivery options.”

The government of Alberta has promised two masks per child and staff member, however these had not arrived by the drafting of the staggered entry letters.

This is important as students are required to wear them in on buses, in the hallway, and in any crowded area.

The Roland Michener letter posted on Facebook says, “Students will wear masks as they enter the building and move directly to their first period classroom.”

Parents may only drop kids off at front door of the school or the northwest gravel parking lot between the school and the tracks. Buses will unload at the rear of the school. Students cannot enter the school before 8:15 a.m.


Roland Michener has several doorways. This year, each grade is assigned a different one to enter and leave the school. For example, Grade 7 will use the door by the junior high office. Koinonia is also using different doorways, as are likely all schools.

Schools have different times for student drop-off and pick-up, but here’s an example from the two Living Waters Separate Catholic School District. This school division has two in the area St. Mary of the Lake (elementary) and St. Francis of Assisi (secondary), both in Slave Lake.

St. Francis parents are assigned a drop-off time between 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. St. Mary’s drop-off time is between 8:20 and 8:30 p.m.

For both schools, pick-up is: bus – 3:15 to 3:20; parental pick-up – 3:20 to 3:25; walking (secondary students driving themselves) – 3:25 to 3:30 p.m.

Staggered starts by town and school in alphabetical order


Kinuso School (Elementary) – each student attends two days

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – (even grades) Grade 2, 4, and 6
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – kindergarten, (odd grades) – Grade 1, 3, and 5
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – Grade 4 & 6
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – Grade 2 and 5
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – kindergarten, Grade 1 and 3

Kinuso School (Secondary) – two days

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – Grade 7 and 10
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Grade 8 and 11
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – Grade 9 and 12
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – junior high (Grade 7 to 9)
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – senior high (Grade 10 to 12)

Swan River First Nation School

  • Dates to be announced


Smith School

  • Wednesday, Sept. 1 – normal classes start for all students.

Slave Lake

C.J. Schurter Elementary School – one day [parents will be informed on Aug. 28 which section (A, B, or C) their child is in]

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – only Grade 1(A) and 2(A)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – only kindergarten (A), Grade 1(B) and 3 (A)
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – only kindergarten (B) and Grade 2 (B)
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – only kindergarten (C), Grade 2 (C) and Grade (3)
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – only Grade 1 (C) and 3 (C)

E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary School – two days

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – only Grade 6 students attend
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – only Grade 5 Students attend
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – only Grade 4 Students attend
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – only Grade 5 & 6 students attend
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – only Grade 4 students attend

Lakeside Outreach School always has a staggered entry.

Roland Michener Secondary School – three days

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – Grade 7 and 12
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Grade 9 and 11
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – Grade 8 and 10
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – all students
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – all students

Saint Mary of the Lake Catholic School – four days [The staggered first days are Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, parents will be informed between Aug. 25 to 27 which day.]

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – parents will be informed
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – parents will be informed
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – all students
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – all students
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – all students

Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy – four days

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – students with last names A to L
  • Tuesday, Sept. 1 – students with last names M to Z
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2 – all students
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – all students
  • Friday, Sept. 4 – all students

Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School – two days

  • Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 – no school
  • Classes start Tuesday, September 8
    • Wednesday and Friday – half of every class
    • Tuesday and Thursday – the other half of every class

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