Gateway Gazette

MLA RJ Sigurdson on Schools Re-opening

MLA Sigurdson reads to a class in January

The suspension of in-person schooling in March has been hard for many students and their families.
Kindergarten to Grade 12 education changed significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students, parents, teachers, Foothills School Division and Christ The Redeemer did an excellent job to
adapt to a different way of learning. However, we all know that students who attend schools learn best
in the classroom with their teachers and peers. The Alberta’s Government goal is to get schools back to
normal learning as soon as possible. With the school season approaching, many parents have been
eagerly waiting to see what school will look like this upcoming year.

This week, Alberta’s government announced that students will be returning to classrooms across the
province at the beginning of the new school year. This is great news for families in the Highwood area.
The decision to re-open schools has been made with the safety of students, teachers, and other staff
members being a top priority. For in-person learning to proceed, health measures are being put in place
for their safety. All schools will implement public health measures, including frequent cleaning of
surfaces, introducing hand sanitizers to school and classroom entrances, grouping students in cohorts,
and adjusting schedules to allow for greater physical distancing. While school may feel a little different
at first, these changes will allow a safe, near-normal return to class.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping Albertans informed on new measures has been a key part
of Alberta’s response. To help prepare families, Alberta’s government has developed a re-entry toolkit
to help prepare parents and students for what to expect in the new school year. This toolkit includes
videos for students explaining some of the health measures, a guide for parents, frequently asked
questions, school posters, a self-screening questionnaire in multiple languages, and links to health
guidelines. The resources in the school re-entry toolkit will help families discuss changes with their
children.

As Alberta’s students prepare to go back to school, the Minister of Education will continue to work
closely with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hinshaw, as well as school boards, to ensure that all
schools are prepared to welcome students back.

The re-opening of our schools, and our entire economy, is a result of the hard work of Albertans to slow
the spread of COVID-19. As students return to school, each of us has the tools to ensure that we can
safely return to daily life.

RJ Sigurdson
MLA for Highwood

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