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Thursday , 1 October 2020
E.H. Walter School, a Buffalo Trail Public School in Paradise Valley. Image credit: Facebook.

Vermilion area school boards release back to classroom plans

Schools boards in Vermilion and the area have released their own plans on how to get students back into the classroom.

Both East Central Alberta Catholic Schools and Buffalo Trail Public Schools are distributing their re-entry plans for the 2020-2021 school year.

The plans for each local school board look fairly similar, but with all of the adjustments, parents may want to take a closer look.

Individual schools will also have varying layouts for physical distancing.

ECACS and BTPS schools will follow the provincial regulations regarding masks meaning that staff and students Grades 4–12 will be required to wear masks on buses, when entering schools, in hallways and common areas.

It will not be all the time, as long as distancing can be met and students K–3 will have the option of following suit. Two resusable masks will be provided per student.

BTPS prepping for re-entry

BTPS is asking that only one parent attend the school on the first day to limit the number of people within each building.

After the first day, parents are asked not to come in and will be given drop off and pick up locations for their kids.

BTPS is also asking that only essential visitors enter the school and that all visitors wear masks (disposable masks will be provided).

“Things will look a little different, especially the first day,” said Rhae-Ann Holoien, BTPS superintendent.

Most extra-curricular activities will be able to continue with health measures in place.

Field trips requiring transportation cannot occur in the fall of 2020, but walking field trips can proceed as long as physical distancing, eating, equipment sharing, and hand-washing guidelines are adhered to.

Playgrounds will remain open while following provincial guilelines.

Alternatives learning opportunities for BTPS students can be arranged through Students Online.

East Central Alberta Catholic Schools following city board

ECACS will follow Edmonton Catholic School guidelines which may include: signs and directional arrows to control the flow of foot traffic, caps on students in lunchrooms and washrooms, staggered times for hallway movement, staggered start and/or end times, assigned entrance and exit doors, removing or rearranging seating in common areas, limiting access to common areas, a daily assessment, and extra cleaning.

For ECACS, it is recommended that playgrounds on school property be off-limits before and after school. During the day, students will be given access to the school yard and playground equipment in groups in order to maintain physical distancing.

This may include staggered recesses, zones of play and schedules for equipment access. Details will be determined per school, and students will be expected to wash their hands using proper hygiene both before and after using playground equipment.

For the children who want to stay home, alternative online programming is available through the School of Hope.

“Thank you for your continued support as we strive to do what is best for all of our students and employees during these challenging times,” said Charlie McCormack, ECACS superintendent in a written statement.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect Media from the Vermilion Voice newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.