BRSD Board Hears Plans for School Re-entry
Battle River School Division
At their final meeting of the 2019-2020 school year, held on June 11, the BRSD Board of Trustees learned more about the plans being put in place for a safe re-entry into schools next fall.
After three months of home-based learning, BRSD students, along with all other K to 12 students in Alberta, are wrapping up their year.
As school divisions look ahead, they know that, by August 1, Alberta Education will determine which of three possible scenarios will be in place for a return to school next fall.
As emphasized by Hon. Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, on June 10, the goal is for all students and staff to return to school buildings next fall, with a ’nearly normal’ routine. But it’s possible that students will return to a more mixed reality, combining some attendance and non-attendance days, or even going back to an online, at-home learning format.
As Superintendent Rita Marler outlined, staff of BRSD have been putting plans in place to be ready for whatever scenario they face come September. She reminded the Board that even a return to ‘near normal’ will not the same as it used to be, with extra cleaning and sanitizing measures being put in place, and school routines adjusted to ensure students and staff interact in smaller groupings. Specific details of the format school will take will be shared in August, once school divisions know more about the format school will take.
Plans are being based, in part, on input provided by nearly 2300 parents, more than 1200 students and approximately 500 staff who participated in BRSD’s recent re-entry survey.
Parents expressed concern about their children being able to move ahead with learning, and also about the social and emotional wellbeing of their children. Students, too, were concerned about the impact of being away from friends and school routines. Staff felt they were in a position to support students whatever the reality is next fall, but also expressed concern about ensuring everyone’s health and safety in a school environment.
Addressing these concerns will be part of the school division’s re-entry plan. There will be time dedicated to understanding and supporting where students are at in their learning, as well as supporting their physical, social and emotional wellness.