On Tuesday the Government of Alberta announced that all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students will return to their classrooms this fall under 'Scenario one.'
Scenario one is outlined as being: in-school learning with class resuming near-normal operations and the implementation of increased health-measures.
Rocky View Schools (RVS) say that based on a recent survey this is in line with the preference of its students and parents.
Students under the Rocky View School Division will return back to class on September 2.
Previously, Albertans were told that a final decision on the 2020-2021 school year would be announced on August 1.
Board Chair Fiona Gilbert says that the government's early announcement allows both parents as well as the jurisdiction the necessary time to finalize its plans under this scenario.
"Parents can make plans for their kids for the fall and make decisions for them as well. From a Rocky View Schools perspective, we're appreciative of the government's early announcement because it gives us a little bit more time to finalize and put our plans into place for re-entry into school in the fall."
Gilbert says that RVS will be changing some school routines and practices to limit the risk to students and staff.
She says "The safety and well-being of students and staff is our top priority as we prepare to reopen schools in September. With this at the forefront of our efforts, RVS will be changing some school routines and practices to employ multiple layers of protection and to adhere to provincial risk mitigation strategies."
Gilbert says that some of the steps that Rocky View Schools will be taking in their approach to a safe re-entry include cohorting students whenever possible, enhancing cleaning practices throughout the buildings, promoting proper hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette, adjusting in-school traffic flow and use of space and assigning seating plans on buses.
RVS says that the schools will diligently screen for any symptoms associated with COVID-19 and that it's important for students and staff to stay home if they're sick.
Additionally, Gilbert says that the school board will press pause on any extracurricular lunchtime and afterschool programs at this time, however regular curricular components that take place during regular school hours will still take place for now.
"At this time physical education is still a curricular component for kids and will still be continuing in school. There might be some changes to what activities are planned and hopefully, more outside activities will take place rather than inside activities. Teachers and Phys. Ed. directors will be making those decisions when they come back."
Other curricular components that will still happen at this time are school music, band and drama programs.
RVS recognizes that there is difficulty in long term planning in the midst of a changing Pandemic.
They recommend that parents have contingency plans in place in the event the province mandates schools move to a blended or at-home learning format in the future.
Parents and staff can review the preliminary re-entry plan for Scenario one here .
The provincial government has also provided a re-entry tool kit as a resource for parents to help prepare them for returning to school.