We are extremely happy to currently be in Return-to-School Scenario 1, near normal conditions. Teachers, staff, students, and parents seem very happy to be able to have the doors of our school open once again.
Our teachers and staff began preparation for this school year going back to May and June 2020. The first order of business was to declutter our classrooms. As you can imagine, after 26 years of operation, there was no shortage of places that needed some attention. Unrequired furniture as well as those with soft coverings were removed from the school. We also reconsidered our storage and paper usage going forward. The result was a series of sleek, clean classrooms. The spaces were easily deep-cleaned by our facilities teams over the summer, and when teachers began to move in this August, the spaces were ready and waiting.
All those entering the building are required to go through the AHS Screening Questionnaire, and parents are asked to get in the habit of doing this with their students each morning before coming to school. Keeping sick kids at home will be the number one preventative measure to assist maintenance of health at Fish Creek School. The Student Illness flat sheet guides our process when students do come to school sick, or are demonstrating symptoms. Parents will be asked to come to the school to pick-up sick children directly.
In school, we have used the cohort system in organizing for the school year. A student's primary cohort will be their classroom. An extended cohort may extend to classrooms that do shared activities like PE, and the grade grouping for outdoor activities like recess. Each grade team has their own set of designated doors, and where doors are shared there is a definitive entry process to keep cohorts separated. Staff deployment has also been done according to cohorts, and all cross-grade activities, such as buddying are currently on hold. Our Learning Commons is also currently closed for student activity in an effort to assist with cohort system.
Hand washing and hand sanitizing is required upon entry into the building and there are several times throughout the day where students are required or invited to wash or sanitize their hands. As we know, in addition to staying home when sick, hand hygiene is another key risk mitigation strategy.
Calgary Board of Education mask guidelines provide us with the direction for mask wearing. All students are asked to bring a mask to school (with some exceptions) and each teacher is very familiar with the mask requirements for their particular grade.
Cleaning procedures are constantly happening throughout the day supported by our facilities team. High touch points are cleaned regularly, and teachers and staff have product to keep their spaces clean. Lunch preparation and cleaning is a key aspect of the day and we are fortunate to have a large staff of lunchroom supervisors to assist in these efforts.
Prior to school, families feeling uneasy about a return to school for their child were provided with an alternate option from the Calgary Board of Education through the creation of the Hub. Hub students will continue learning online at home while supported by a CBE teacher. Hub students will have the chance to return to in-person learning for February, 2021.
Alberta Health Services and the Calgary Board of Education work in concert to identify positive cases, and manage these with each school. Through the cohort organization process, schools will serve as key partners in contact tracing. Swift and direct communication with all Fish Creek School families will occur should a need arise. If the provincial government were to make a choice to move to either Scenario 2 or 3, all classrooms are ready to assume online learning almost immediately.
Staying safe requires a concentrated effort from all parties. If we all do our part, we will be able to continue excellence in teaching and learning at Fish Creek. Thank you to our staff, parents and students for your efforts, and welcome back to school.