COVID-19 Information

March 17, 2020 update

Good morning everyone,

We want to share with you some brief updates:

  • We are trying to process the issue, events, and the tasks ahead of us.  Thank you for your patience, we hope to send a more detailed update by the end of the week or early next week about how we will be supporting student learning while they are home;
  • We ask you not to contact the school or individual teachers at this time;
  • School Council meetings have been cancelled.  We will inform you when this has changed;
  • Parent-Teacher interviews for March 26 are cancelled;
  • Later this morning we will be sending a notice regarding the process to pick-up student belongings and emptying lockers.

Thank you for all your support.  We wish you a happy, quiet St. Patrick’s Day.  We ask you to continue to pray for all those affected by this crisis.

March 15, 2020 – 5:30 pm update

Please view the press conference from our government, including our Premier and Dr. Deen Hinshaw: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#statement

K-12 classes cancelled

The following message was received by the Honourable Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, today at 5:00 p.m.

I want to thank the many boards and education partners that have provided their views over the weekend. It has become clear that it would be challenging to implement health recommendations like social distancing and proper cleaning protocols.

The safety of our students, teachers and staff is the number one priority for all of us – for me and my Cabinet colleagues, for Dr. Hinshaw and for school staff.

With that in mind, we will be indefinitely cancelling classes across the province. Students are expected to stay home.

We are all in this together. And I hope you all agree this is the right decision.

School authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of our school facilities. We expect maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities, and administrative work to continue. 

Now I know that student progression will be on the minds of both parents and students. We expect every student to receive a final mark and that students will progress to their next grade level next year. However, provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests will be cancelled as of this time. Diploma exams essential for post-secondary acceptance will continue.

We are confident that every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.

The Government will also be working with post-secondary institutions to ensure that these extraordinary circumstances do not prevent our students from being eligible for admission to post-secondary studies for the upcoming school year.

Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met and to support student learning.

Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction. Given the unique situation, my department and I will work with school divisions throughout this process, and school authorities will still receive their full allotment of funding for the 2019-20 school year.

I know these are challenging times for everyone. I will be sending an open letter to parents in the coming days, and Alberta Education will be working directly with you to help navigate through these changes.

We all have a role to play to keep our students and the staff that work in our schools safe and healthy. This is – and will always be – our top priority. The most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta can be found on alberta.ca.

I know this leaves you with many questions. Please stay tuned in the days to come for more details. 

Sincerely,

Adriana LaGrange
Minister of Education

Effective immediately, all K to 12 classes are cancelled until further notice.  Schools are not closed but are open to teachers and staff.  Students are expected to stay home.

We know there are many questions and we hope to be able to provide some answers as soon as possible.  We will provide an update as soon as we can.

May God bless all of us during this difficult time.

March 14, 2020 – 3:30 pm update

We plan on having schools open on Tuesday, March 17.  We encourage everyone to view the press conference from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.  Here is a link: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#statement

Also, we encourage everyone to read the following document https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid19-alberta-guidance-for-schools-and-child-care-programs.pdf   On Monday, March 16, 2020, divisional and school staff will be meeting to plan to implement the recommendations in this document.

March 13, 2020 – 1:51 pm update

Our #hs4 schools remain open at this time.  However, there is planned PD on March 16, 2020 – so no students on Monday and staff will report to their respective schools.  In the meantime, all large gatherings have been cancelled (includes sports, fine arts shows, school-wide assemblies), and all field trips outside of the #hs4 boundary have been cancelled.  For the most recent info, check the division website at holyspirit.ab.ca 

As Albertans are NOT recommended to travel outside of the country at this time, staff or students returning from out-of-country are expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

March 13, 2020 – 11:37 am update

We wish to provide you with a timely update regarding planned activities within our schools and division, based on the new information provided on March 12, 2020, by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Dr. Hinshaw has outlined aggressive measures that should be adhered to in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

1. In keeping with the directive to restrict large events all events and activities that would be taking place in our schools are cancelled until further notice. This includes sports events, fine arts shows and school-wide assemblies.

2. Albertans are NOT recommended to travel outside of the country at this time.  Given the fluidity of the situation, we have made the following decisions, until further notice:

  • All division field trips scheduled to take place outside of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division will be cancelled. The Board Office will work closely with travel providers, schools, and parents to arrange for refunds where possible.

  • All staff or students returning from travel outside the country are expected to self-isolate for 14 days after their return.

These measures have been put into place to ensure public safety and adhere to the recommendations put forward by Alberta Health Services.  For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in Alberta, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#p22780s6

March 12, 2020 – 7:16 pm update

Good evening Holy Spirit Catholic School community,

Please know that schools remain open tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020.

In the meantime, we are carefully reviewing the new information provided by Alberta Health Services today, March 12, 2020, in a press conference with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

We will be closely adhering to the recommendations set out by Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education.  We will be sure to update you as soon as more information is known.

For more information, please see Alberta Health Services’ Info for Albertans.

Also, here is a link to a recent announcement regarding Out of Division field trips.

March 12, 2020 – 12:00 pm

We understand our students, staff, and families may have questions about coronavirus. We encourage you to refer to official sources – such as Alberta Health Services (AHS) – for the most accurate information.

As in all health-related situations, Holy Spirit works closely with local and provincial health authorities to ensure the health of our students and families. We are in ongoing communication with the Medical Officer of Health to monitor the situation in our area. At this time, we are taking all recommended actions from AHS to prevent and mitigate the acquisition and transmission of the virus.

Still, it is important that schools and families work together to provide our students with safe spaces that are calm and supportive, as well as being clean and disinfected.

Prevention

There are two important ways to prevent and control respiratory viruses in school settings:

1. Stay home if you, or your child, is sick.

  • Students and staff who are ill with respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, and/or muscle aches) are asked to stay home from school. If your child is not feeling well, we ask that you keep them home so that they can rest and recover. As always, remember to inform the school of the absence.
  • The AHS has the following recommendations for travellers returning to Canada:
    • If returning from Iran, Italy, Hubei Province in China, and Grand Princess Cruises, self-isolate for 14 days, even if feeling well.
    • For all other travellers, monitor for symptoms for 14 days after returning and, if you become ill, self-isolate.

2. Practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.

  • Wash hands with soap and water often. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.
  • Use a tissue when you cough/sneeze, and throw the tissue in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag. Wash your hands immediately after that. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

While, our caretaking staff remain vigilant in their regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-traffic, high-touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, water fountain push buttons), the school division has asked even further attention be given to these areas. The division has also provided for more hand sanitizers in our schools, and more handwashing signs have been placed in prominent locations as reminders for our students.
If you have a younger child, please support them at home by supervising and assisting in hand hygiene. In schools, instruction will be provided by staff. We are further enhancing our communication with students about hand-washing, sneeze/cough etiquette, and preventing illness.

Food Sharing

Students should not be sharing food, utensils, dishes, and water bottles or drink containers. Although this practice is important for preventing exposures to allergens, it is equally important in reducing virus transmission between children.

Calm Role Modeling

A new virus such as the COVID-19 can create anxiety and be difficult for students/children to understand, especially if someone they know is sick, or they see or hear troubling messages on the radio, internet or television. It is normal for children to feel worried and nervous and have questions.

Support your children by reassuring them about their personal safety and health:

  • Limit their access to news and online stories about the issue.
  • Maintain a normal routine unless otherwise advised by an authority.
  • Encourage them to talk to you about their concerns.
  • Reassure them they are safe.
  • Advise them of steps they can take to stay healthy:
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABC’s to measure time), especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Cough and sneeze into arm or tissue.
  • Stay home if they are not feeling well.
  • Keep hands away from the face and mouth.
  • Stay healthy by eating healthy foods, keeping physically active, and getting enough sleep.

Field Trips

Currently, the school division has cancelled all international trips and is working with our travel providers and families to provide refunds as much as possible.  All other local, provincial and national travel, field trips and tournaments are being reviewed as per the direction of AHS and other experts in health and travel. No other cancellations have been announced at this time, but should this change, those impacted will be contacted right away.

Health Information

Please ensure that you are accessing high-quality information from reliable medical sources. If you have any questions about your personal health situation, contact 8-1-1 (Health Link) or your health care provider directly.

4 thoughts on “COVID-19 Information

  1. I would like to know what else the school is doing to prevent the spread besides just canceling field trips. Have extra cleaning/disinfecting measures been taken?? Are the children being taught about the pandemic at school as well? I spoke with a teacher from the school and the response was “we are just washing hands like we have always done”

    Hand hygiene, at this point, is our best defence. I realize it’s not the schools responsibility to do all the teaching, but it would sure help reiterate the seriousness of this pandemic. Not so much for the healthy people, but more so for the immunocompromised and elderly.

    I am helping by keeping my kids home.

  2. Hi Greg,

    Thank you for the updates. I heard that the Aladdin play is being cancelled due to COVID-19. I understand the need to protect the children and guests, but it feels premature to cancel something the kids have worked so hard towards this far in advance, without giving a potential rescheduling date. Perhaps it is an option to film the play and make it available to parents and children.

    Again, thanks for all you are doing to keep everyone involved safe.

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