Lloydminster Catholic School Division will be moving forward in reopening their schools under level two of Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools Plan.
Level two is one of the scenarios set out by the province which could be activated regionally or provincially based on advice from the chief medical health officer.
Under level two, students in Grades 4 to 12 throughout the division will be required to wear a face mask in areas where physical distancing isn’t possible, such as in hallways and common areas. They will have to wear one while on the bus. LCSD says students will not need to wear a mask during outside play.
Medical exemptions from wearing a mask will need to be sent to the school principal and all visitors and parents will have to wear a mask while inside the schools.
In a release, Director of Education Nigel McCarthy says opening schools with masks will enhance the safety of students and staff while continuing to deliver education.
He mentions the division has added time to caretakers’ schedules to ensure cleaning throughout the day as well as training specialized staff to support students and staff who may become ill during the day. Busses will also be sanitized after each run.
The division will be getting masks from both provinces and will be providing two reusable masks to each student when they arrive to school on September 2nd. They will also be teaching the students proper hand washing and more information will be given to parents to prepare their children for the first day of school.
The division has also released their reopening plans which was last updated on July 31st.
The plan is based on best practices, discussions with staff and parents and is an evolving plan which they say “needs to be flexible and responsive.”
The division will be focusing on cohorting students and staff, minimizing the interactions between groups and physical distancing will still be recommended within the cohorts. Each school will have their own procedures to ensure physical distancing including having one dedicated access and all other access doors being locked. Breaks and transition times will be staggered as well and more outdoor classes could be possible.
Classrooms will be arranged so that desks are in rows with the students all facing the same direction to avoid direct spread of the virus via coughing or sneezing. Sanitization stations will be available at all entrances, exits, high traffic areas and at the entrance of every classroom.
Each school will also have their own dedicated isolation room for if a student or staff member develops symptoms during the day. It must be able to hold more than one person at a time and cannot be used as a general first aid area.
Assemblies and school-wide events will be held virtually to avoid large gatherings and water fountains will be closed. Water bottle filling stations will still be accessible.
Parents are encouraged to send their children to school with a minimal amount of items in their backpacks and avoid items that could be shared.
Staff will work with families who decide not to attend school in person and they ask parents to consult their family physician if the child has any underlying medical condition or risk factors.
Counselling is one portion of their response and the division will have created an off-site response plan to check in on students and parents. The division has also trained 42 people in Psychological First Aid as well as all staff will have access to the Kids These Days online training.
The full reopening plan can be found here.