Will Your Child Be Attending School? (August 22 update)

August 22, 2020 update

Thank you to all the parents that did the recent Holy Spirit Catholic survey. Father Leonard Van Tighem School had an excellent participation rate with 685 responses. Here are the number of students that have chosen At-Home Learning:

  • Division One – Kindergarten to Grade 3 – 15 students
  • Division Two – Grade 4 to 6 – 11 students
  • Division Three – Grade 7 to 9 – 30 students

Next Tuesday our staff will be reviewing our re-entry plan. Once it is completed we will share it with parents.

Please read this important message below from our superintendent.

Dear Parents/Guardians of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

We’d like to thank the 85% of our families who provided feedback on our School Re-Entry Survey.  As a result of this information, we now know that over 600 students, roughly 14%, will be opting for at-home programming.  The remaining 86% will be participating in in-school learning.

Pie Chart showing 86% of students will be returning to school and 14% will be working from home.

In terms of bussing, we will be passing along to our transportation partners that 63% of our respondents are either not eligible or not accessing transportation services this year. If you answered “No” on the survey, have changed your mind, and are eligible for transportation (2.4 km or more from your designated school), you may contact your child’s school to make adjustments.  However, please be aware that it can take up to two weeks to process requests. In the meantime, plans for transportation are still being developed and will be communicated as soon as possible.  Please check the division website for the most up-to-date information at: https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/schools/transportation

Pie Chart showing 63% of students will be not be riding the bus and 37% will be.

The survey feedback has certainly reinforced that many are concerned about sending our children to school and that this decision has been a difficult one for many reasons.  We also received messages of support and appreciation knowing that the staff of our entire system are working diligently to ensure that our students will be safe and learn a great deal this next school year. Thank you for all of this feedback. While we will continue to update our School Re-Entry Questions and Answers Document, we wanted to speak to a few of the questions that have continued to emerged in the survey: 

What happens if a case of COVID is confirmed in a school?

If health officials confirm a case of COVID-19 in a school community, we will follow the process outlined by the province. Alberta Health Services provided additional guidelines on August 20, 2020 regarding this topic in the following document: “COVID-19 in School (K-12) Settings: A resource guide for schools before, during and after a COVID-19 outbreak.”  

What do you mean by at-home instruction?

“At-home instruction” does not mean “homeschooling.”  Homeschooling is a very specific program that is directed by the parent/guardian.  While there are school jurisdictions that support “homeschooling”, Holy Spirit is not one of these.  

If a family chooses “at-home learning,” their child will remain enrolled at the school where they are registered for 2020/2021. Students will be part of an online learning group with an assigned teacher. However, the teacher may not be a staff member at their designated school. This learning format will include live online teacher instruction, activities and assignments that students will complete independently. 

If you have opted to have your child learn from home, please confirm this choice by submitting the Home Spirit At-Home Learning Registration Form.  

Will there be “at-home learning” for students attending an Early Learning Program? 

Given the play-based nature of our Early Learning Program, it will only be provided directly within the school.

Will there be co-curricular activities (sports, fine arts, field trips, etc…)?

Unfortunately, not at this time. When our schools first reopen, our primary goal will be to reduce contacts and ensure that students and staff feel comfortable before any of these activities resume. Also, our schools need to have all students and staff out of the buildings by 5:00 p.m. so that thorough cleaning protocols and sanitization can occur. 

While we continue to plan and work for a safe start to our school year, please know that there are some key things that we will be asking our families to do to help us ensure the safety of our school communities: 

  • Before leaving home everyday, complete the Daily Screening Questionnaire for your child. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions, PLEASE STAY HOME. This is the number one way we can help to protect our children and staff. 
  • Talk to your children about the new health measures and teach and practice these important skills: 
    • Washing / sanitizing hands
    • Physically distancing 
    • Wearing a mask when physical distancing isn’t possible
      (Dr. Deena Hinshaw has created this video to teach how to put on/take off/wear masks properly) 
    • Good respiratory etiquette

I know that our schools have also sent many messages to help prepare for the school year and have invested a tremendous amount of effort into developing specific plans for their school sites.   I am so impressed and thankful for the leadership of our school communities and ask that you keep them all in your prayers as they continue to pour their time and talents into this important work – ensuring the health and safety of our students.

Thank you all again for your support and may you all enjoy these last few days before we begin the school year in earnest!

Ken Sampson, Superintendent

August 11, 2020 update

Good afternoon Parents/Guardians of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

First of all, our apologies to those who may be receiving this information for the first time.  The transfer of our student data to the most recent 2020/2021 information was completed this past Monday.  So, we are aware that this may be new information for some of our Early Learning and Kindergarten families especially.

As a result of this complication, we have extended the deadline on our parent survey to Sunday, August 16, 2020 at midnight.  

For your quick reference, please find below links to emails that were sent previously: 

This survey, which we need completed for each student in your family, is intended to help us to plan for the upcoming school year, starting on September 1, 2020.  We are simply asking parents/guardians to let us know if they plan to have their child attend school in-person or at-home.  We are also inquiring if parents plan to send their child on the bus, if they are eligible for transportation services (living 2.4 km or more from their designated school).  There is space for comments within each question and we will be reviewing this information carefully.  Thank you in advance for your feedback.

We have also heard from many parents/guardians that they would appreciate some additional information before responding to the survey, particularly regarding at-home learning. This information will be provided in the next day or so.  In the meantime, our “Guidelines for Maintaining Safe & Health Schools in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” will continue to be updated, as will our “Response to COVID” webpage. 

Thank you again for your support and assistance.  We know that these are challenging times and difficult decisions and we will continue to pray for you and your family, that you all remain safe and healthy.  


Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools

August 5, 20202

Good morning everyone,

Please read this very important letter from Mr. Sampson and then complete the short survey to tell us if your child will be coming to school this September or doing an at-home learning program. Please do the survey for each of your children. The survey deadline is Thursday, August 13, 2020. For our June survey, Father Van Tighem School had a response rate of close to 60%. For this essential survey, we are looking for a 100% response.

Thank you,

Greg Kostiuk

August 4, 2020

Good afternoon Parents/Guardians of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

As many of you have likely heard, the Government provided an update today, August 4, 2020, that mask use for students in grades 4 to 12, as well as all school staff, will be mandatory as we begin the 2020/21 school year. Staff will be required to wear masks in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, and students will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas, such as hallways and on buses. Mask use for kindergarten to grade 3 students will continue to be optional. Further, the government has committed to providing two reusable masks per student. More information about this can be found on the Alberta Government’s website.

In keeping with the government’s July 21, 2020 announcement, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division continues to plan for opening on September 1, 2020 in Scenario 1 mode, or “near-normal” with health measures in place.  As I mentioned in my email on July 29, 2020, to assist us in developing accurate plans, it is critical that parents/guardians complete this short survey for each student by Thursday, August 13, 2020.  This information is essential to helping schools structure learning in the best way possible. Thank you in advance for your valuable feedback on this matter.  If we work together, we can problem solve and overcome any challenges.  

For the most up-to-date information regarding the division’s response to COVID, please visit our webpage at: https://www.holyspirit.ab.ca/division/response_to_covid

Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools

27 thoughts on “Will Your Child Be Attending School? (August 22 update)

  1. Yes. Leland and Rex Simmonds will attend school. Social and teacher involvement is very important. It’s been really hard since school was out. Emotionally I feel the children will be successful attending school. As a single working mom id rather them be there than sitting at home while I work. Thank you.

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