Local schools’ plans for student re-entry are becoming more clear. Three high schools have updated their plans, while each elementary school in the Catholic Division has also released school-specific plans on the division website.
In a video posted on the division website and YouTube Principal Mark Phaneuf of Ecole St. Mary broke down some of the changes coming in the new school year beginning September 8.
“This isn’t the typical way to introduce myself or the school but I think we can all agree on the past few months our world has been anything but typical. To those of you new to our school in the fall we are excited to have you joining us,” he said.
Phaneuf explained that they will be working under the full curriculum this fall for Grade 9 to 12 unlike when class was suspended and the schools did Supplemental Learning.
“ We are going to change the structure of the school year because of COVID to make sure that we can make the environment safer for our students and for our staff members,”
For Grade 10 to 12, classes will move to two periods with five blocks and four semesters of shorter duration and Grade 9s will move to four terms with two classes a day. The Grade 10 to 12 students will be able to complete 10 credits.
“It reduces the numbers of teachers students see and reduces the number of students each student is exposed to during the day. So we want to create these cohorts 10 through 12 and homerooms in Grade 9 so there is more predictability of who you are in contact with. We will also be able to reduce our class sizes through this model as well,” Phaneuf said.
The structure of the day at St. Mary will change because the school is opening in Level 3 and will have a hybrid model. Phaneuf noted that students will have predictability by attending every single day. All students Grades 9 to 12 will attend their two classes in the morning. When lunch starts, students will go home for the day and continue with online learning for two periods. This will be facilitated through the new Edsby portal which the division has put in place.
“It’s fantastic, it is going to be for families and students and for teachers to engage and communicate. What teachers are going to do is every day they will post what they cover in the morning, maybe a video, maybe a summary of what they are doing in the morning and what they are doing in the Edsby portal as well. It might be a science lab that they are posting a screencast of and then students are working on that as well,” Phaneuf said.
The Edsby is one platform for all users across the school division. It allows access to all students with Microsoft 365 Office apps and is available to all students for free download on personal devices while enrolled in the division.
Phaneuf explained that the hybrid structure is a benefit to all students.
“If you are sick and all and you can’t attend school, if you are symptomatic for anything for COVID and if you have to stay at home and even if you have minor sniffles, a sore throat or a regular flu you need to stay home until you are better and come back to school,” he said.
Teachers will be posting daily on Edsby for both morning and afternoon sessions and classrooms will still be active even if students are home sick.
“There will be no changing teachers, no changing classes, you can remain in the same program you are in. And you will already have a habit of coming to school daily but when you can’t you will have that habit of going into Edsby for your learning as well,”
If the school moves either up to Level 4, which is all online learning, or down to Level 2, which is less restrictive and has in-class learning, there can be an easier transition.
“If we move to Level 4 then we have to be at home for all learning then it also has established a routine for teachers and for students to use the Edsby Portal so we can do the full curriculum with online learning. So you can continue to be engaged whether you are in school or not. And for those of you students who can’t attend school maybe out of preexisting condition yourself and they aren’t able to attend school personally this fall we have an online option for you at Ecole St. Mary High School. All students Grade 9 through 12 will have the option for online learning if they want,” Phaeuf said.
Registration is currently available at the website and they hope to have their welcome letter and schedule out next week and they will also make guidance counsellors available for class changes.
Carlton released some revisions to their plan over Facebook Friday.
The school is officially running block scheduling along with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.
The morning block, with a staggered exit based on different school locations, will run from 8:55 a.m. until 11:40. The afternoon block is set for 12:40-3:15. The staggered geographic exits will be determined by teachers in like hallways ensuring safe departure.
Students will take their semester one, period one class in the morning until Oct. 30, and their period four class during that same time period.
From Nov. 2 until Dec. 18, they will take period two and five classes, and from January-March, they will take their semester one period 3 class in the morning and semester 2 period three class in the afternoon.
March and April will see the second semester period one and four classes taught, with May and June reserved for period two and five classes of the second semester.
Grade 9-12 students, the school wrote, will be assigned to specific days that they will attend face-to-face instruction on a half-time basis. The rest of the course work and instruction will be done remotely.
As per the division’s plan, masks will be mandatory for in-person classes and hand sanitation stations will be accessible throughout the building.
The school will be in Level 3 with students with last names beginning A to K and L to Z receiving face to face instruction together. On days when students are not receiving face-to-face instruction, students will be provided with remote learning. Remote learning can include online learning, inquiry projects, research projects or other learning opportunities.
Students will be asked to enter the building closest to their class. Teachers will update parents before September 1 about the closest entry points.
Common gathering points will be available for students during lunch hour. They will have to abide by social distancing and mask rules and any health guidelines and division protocols.
Masks are required for Grade 4 to 12 and there are guidelines available for cloth masks in the Sask. Rivers re-entry plan. The cafeteria will be closed for Block 1 but this will be revisited with the division and health authorities as time progresses. Students are encouraged to bring their own lunch but there will be some lunch items available which are prepared in a safe manner.
Lockers will not be available to students and they encourage students to bring a bag, binder and outside clothing to their classroom. Washroom usage and student breaks will be determined by teachers in conjunction with other classrooms located nearby.
Teachers will arrange for safe handling of learning resources. Materials brought from home are limited to school essentials such as backpacks. Teachers will also arrange learning environments to be front-facing and provide a supply list during the first few days of school.
Band and Global Sport Academy classes are the exceptions. Instructors in those areas will be in touch with those students.
In an email to students and parents Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) addressed their re-entry plans.
“We are excited to have students back to school and want to express our commitment to doing so in a safe way that supports the physical and mental health of everyone involved. We understand how school start up this year will have many different people feeling many different ways about school start up and we want to make sure that students feel supported, connected and ready to continue learning parents feel that they can trust the school to make decisions that are best for their kids,” the email stated.
At PACI, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks when they enter the building. Masks will be provided but students can use their own reusable masks if they choose to and teachers will greet students upon entry to the building. Each grade will also have a separate entrance and required to sanitize their hands up entry to the building. Sanitization stations will be set up around the school.
PACI will also have a staggered start to the school year as outlined by director of education Robert Bratvold’s email. Students are divided into group A and Group B; students last names A-K are in Group A and last names L-Z are in Group B. Group A will attend school on Tuesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 10 while Group B will attend on Wednesday, September 9 and Friday, September 11. The school start and end times will still be 8:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. And 12:40 p.m. To 3:15 p.m. With staggered breaks and lunch breaks.
The school is also moving to the block system which limits the number of contacts in the school day. “Your child will have one class in the morning and one class in the afternoon each block will run for approximately 36 days, and then new classes will start. The school year is divided up into five blocks, and each student will take two classes in each block for a total of 10 courses that each student can take,” the email said.
While staff and students are encouraged to provide masks for themselves, they will be provided by the division as required. Reusable masks will be distributed to students and staff as supply arrives. Disposable masks will be provided in the meantime.
Catholic Division elementary schools release plans
Elementary schools in the Catholic Division, including Ecole St. Ann, Ecole Holy Cross, St. Michael Community School, St. Catherine Catholic School, St. Francis School and St. John Community School all include school specific plans for parents to review before school starts September 8.
The focus of the school-specific plans are broken down into the eight areas outlined in the province’s Safe Schools Plan including Safe Transportation, Safe Attendance, Safe Access, Safe Facilities, Safe Classrooms, Safe Activities and Safe Alternatives.
Each of the schools have instituted staggered entry plans that are similar to those in the high school entry plans and dedicated entry doors.
Safe transportation protocols include assigned seating for students and a record of this seating plan on school buses and students who live in the same household will be seated together. As well where possible parents are encouraged to transport their own children and cleaning and sanitation of buses or other vehicles used to transport students is required between each run. Safe access measures to schools include dedicated entrance and exit doors, staggered recess, lunch, and other class transition times to allow for additional space.
Safe classroom measures to reduce the risk of transmission in the classroom include limiting physical contact such as hugs and handholding, as well as encouraging the use of alternative greetings such as, utilizing outdoor spaces for learning when possible and clear protocols for bringing supplementary school materials such as backpacks and school supplies in and out of schools as well as classroom configuration to minimize contact.
For safe supports for all students local health officials will provide support to divisions to implement measures including personal interactions with intensive needs/immune-compromised students conditions will be in place to allow for the provision of supports within a safe and secure environment, which may include in-school setting or other appropriate spaces for the delivery of education and medically fragile students will have supports in place to address their educational needs.