COVID-19 Response and Update: December 9, 2020

December 9, 2020 update:

December 9, 2020

Dear Holy Spirit Catholic School Division Families, 

As we approach the holiday season, we know that the desire and ability to travel increases. We are providing this written communication in relation to the COVID-19 situation, the upcoming Christmas break,  and our ongoing school re-entry plans. Please understand that we all have a responsibility to protect our health, our family, and others around us; including our workplaces.

International travel continues to be impacted by COVID-19. The Province of Alberta provides the following directions and guidance related to International travel: 

  • An official global travel advisory remains in effect. Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
  • The Canada/U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel.
  • All non-exempt travelers entering Alberta from outside Canada by air or at the Alberta / U.S. Coutts land border crossing are legally required to follow provincial and federal requirements.
  • Albertans are legally required to isolate for 14 days if they have returned from travel outside Canada. Additionally, all travelers entering Alberta from outside Canada must complete a provincial isolation questionnaire to demonstrate they have appropriate plans and the necessary supports in place to self-isolate for 14 days.
    • Please note that the stipulations noted above are contingent upon the Government of Canada/Alberta maintaining a self-quarantine period of 14 days after international travel. If this health order changes, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division will follow the direction of the federal and provincial government related to any travel restrictions.
  • International Border Pilot Project – Eligible international travelers returning to Alberta may be able to participate in a pilot program that is safely testing reduced quarantine periods. 
    • Holy Spirit Catholic School Division staff  and students who may be applying to participate must understand that this includes increased quarantine restrictions for persons in school and child care settings.
    • This means that, even if you meet all the other requirements of the International Border Pilot Project, for anyone returning to a school setting, you are prohibited from doing so until you:
      • Have a second test which can occur no earlier than the 6th day after their return; and
      • Have the result of the second test as negative.

If, despite the available government information, you are still considering travelling outside Canada, understand that:

  • Given the current government recommendation, 14 days of self-isolation is required upon return from travel outside Canada, even if you have no symptoms whatsoever.
  • This means that we all know with certainty that, if you choose to voluntarily leave Canada, you will have to be in self-isolation for an additional 14 days upon your return, even if you are perfectly healthy.
  • As a result, any travel outside Canada now must be planned, booked, and approved to account for your time out of Canada and 14 days following your return.
  • If you apply and qualify for the International Border Pilot Project you will be required to meet the criteria and quarantine restrictions applied to persons in schools and child care settings.

Thank you for your assistance in ensuring the health and safety of our schools. Should new or updated recommendations from AHS relative to international travel for Albertans be communicated in the near future, we will be sure to update you in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Ken Sampson, Superintendent

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

November 24, 2020 update:

Good evening everyone. Please watch this Government of Alberta announcement:

Here is a summary of educational changes:

There are clear changes to education. As this is new information, we hope to send information out to our families on how FLVT will respond, especially those families with students in Grade 7 to 9, as soon as possible.

November 23, 2020 update:

We want to thank parents and students for their support of the masking requirements for Grade 4 to 9.  Also, thank you to all the students that have been voluntarily wearing masks from Kindergarten to Grade 3.  We want to clarify the masking requirement for music class when singing is occurring.  Following the Alberta Health Services guidelines, all students engaged in singing need to wear a mask.  Therefore, we ask all our Kindergarten to Grade 3 students to have a non-medical mask while they engaged in singing activities at Father Leonard Van Tighem School.

Thank you for all your work and efforts in helping our school be a safe place to be during this ongoing pandemic.

October 26, 2020 update:

Good afternoon,

Please read this important letter from our divisional office regarding bus transportation:

October 26, 2020

Dear families of students who use Lethbridge Transit Yellow Bus Services, 

Lethbridge Transit has advised that, due to recent driver shortages, some bus routes may need to be adjusted or delayed over the coming months. As a last resort, some bus routes may even be cancelled on short notice.

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division will endeavour to keep families informed about changes. To ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date information, please ensure that you are subscribed to receive messages from the division by email and/or text.  The division’s Facebook and Twitter accounts are also good sources of information.

To assist Alberta Health Services in contact tracing for COVID-19, Lethbridge Transit has updated and reinforced the following safety procedures in the attached letter, Procedures for School Bus Transportation during COVID-19:

  • All students must clean their hands (wash with soap and water/sanitize) before the leave home to take the bus and when they leave school prior to taking the bus.
  • Face masks are required.
  • Drivers will be assigning students seats. Family members will be asked to sit together. It is extremely important that students sit in their designated seat.
  • Daily attendance will be taken.  Students will confirm their first and last name as they board. 
  • As per Alberta Health Services direction, school buses will be cleaned/sanitized after morning and afternoon routes with an approved cleaning product
  • The driver’s focus and primary responsibility is to transport students safely to and from school.  To help achieve this goal, students must follow the driver’s instructions.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter, while we continue to navigate these challenging times. 

Sincerely, 
Anisha Gatner, Communications Coordinator
Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

October 7, 2020

Good afternoon families and staff of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division,

As we are now into week six of the school year, we can safely say that we have made it through what we anticipated to be a very challenging September.  School and divisional personnel have gone over and above the call of duty to ensure that schools were ready to welcome children and students back into our schools after a six-month absence.  Our staff has done some great work in welcoming students in school communities to ensure they feel loved, safe and included.  Further, parents have been extremely supportive of our direction and we definitely appreciate your support throughout the entire process thus far.

Recently, we have begun to see an increase in the number of positive cases in the South Zone.  This could very well be an early indication of what is yet to come and seems to be in line with what has been happening in other areas of the province, as well as across Canada. In fact, as you may have heard, over the past weekend Alberta Health Services (AHS) identified a positive case connected to St. Teresa of Calcutta School.  I am pleased to report that school and division staff worked diligently with AHS to inform and isolate the impacted cohort as quickly as possible. We continue to follow the lead of AHS and use the Alberta Government’s resource guide to determine how best to proceed in informing those affected promptly, while still maintaining their dignity and privacy. 

To assist us in the future, so that we may contact you quickly should your child be part of a cohort that needs to isolate, we ask that you ensure that your child’s school has your most current contact information. We also highly recommend that you enable text messages, or download the SchoolMessenger App, so that you may receive timely information directly on your phone. Please know that the school division will only send you text messages in emergency situations.  See our website for more information on this, or contact your child’s school directly for assistance. 

We know that we need to remain vigilant in adhering to the health measures put in place by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, along with additional precautions that our division has identified.  As such, we continue to ask our staff, students and visitors:

  • Not to come to school if feeling ill, even if you are only a bit unwell. The Alberta Health daily checklist should be completed each day prior to attending school and if your child has any of the symptoms listed, fill out the online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811, and remain at home. 
  • To engage in proper and frequent hand washing or hand sanitization
  • To ensure physical distancing of 2 meters
  • To wear masks while in common areas, hallways and in classrooms. This applies to grades 4-12 students, all staff, visitors and volunteers 

Our schools will continue:

  • To maintain class cohorts. This reduces the number of individuals impacted should there be exposure to COVID-19.  We are seeing that this is of particular importance
  • To remain closed campuses.  All visitors and parents are required to call ahead and make an appointment before coming to school
  • To ensure heightened protocols for cleaning frequently touched surfaces

We know that everyone plays an important role in stopping the spread of this relentless virus and other diseases.  We also recognize that the current context in which we live is far from ideal.  We appreciate the support from our parent community as we endeavour to support our students’ mental well-being on a day-to-day basis in our schools.

As in everything we do in Catholic Schools, we are called to pray for each other.  Let us continue to hold each other in prayer as we navigate these challenging times.

Kind Regards,
Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools

Holy Spirit Catholic School Division

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