Staggered start to the school year

Staggered start to the school year

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake, Kinuso and Smith school offices will be re-opening this week, with classes starting this week (Aug. 31). However, the first week of classes will be a bit different than normal because not everyone will attend every day. Also, throughout the year, drop-off and pick-up times are staggered.

First week of classes
Smith School, which is part of Aspen View School Division, starts classes on Wednesday, September 2. However, 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 or four days depending on the school. Outreach schools, such as Lakeside Outreach School in Slave Lake always have a staggered entry. 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.

High Prairie School Division schools are organized by grade.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School is organized by last name. St. Mary and C.J. Schurter parents were informed by the end of last 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 will be held at the Community Christian Centre in the SE.
Swan River First Nation School in Kinuso hadn’t solidified start dates as of Aug. 24.

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 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.”

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.

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