BONNYVILLE – No matter what re-entry for schools looks like, Northern Lights Public Schools (NLPS) will be ready.
During the board of trustees meeting on June 10, superintendent Rick Cusson explained the school division will be working hard over the coming weeks to ensure they’re ready for whichever provincial plan is chosen for the coming school year.
“We will have to put some significant planning in place with our administrators, taking into consideration what our parents, staff, and students have to say about what re-entry with conditions will look like,” he said. “We will be moving forward over the course of the next couple of weeks and into the summer to make sure that once we get notification Aug. 1, we will be good to go.”
This comes in response to the provincial announcement on June 11 that there are three scenarios for the 2020/21 school year. The first, which is what they're aiming for, will see in-school classes resume on a near-normal basis with health measures in place, while the second would see in person teaching resume partially with additional health measures. The final option would see at-home learning continue, with school classes cancelled.
Board chair Arlene Hrynyk noted there’s going to be a lot of flexibility with putting together the academic calendar.
“I just think there’s so much for staff to consider with that flexibility in mind knowing the situation can change. I think we all hope we can see September where it’s as normal as possible, primarily because people need some of that in their life.”
The Government of Alberta will share which scenario is chosen with school boards on Aug. 1, but the province is requesting school authorities prepare for implementing any of the possibilities.
“We are providing clear direction and the certainty parents and the school system need to plan ahead and get ready for what the new school year may look like,” said Alberta’s Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange in a press release. “We are hoping, and it is likely, students can return to daily classes at school while taking health precautions, but we have to prepare for all possibilities. I want to thank our education leaders, teachers, and parents for their thoughtful contributions to this comprehensive plan.”
Cusson told the board he will be in discussions with administration “to talk about what some of the re-entry pieces might have to look like in schools, whether that’s pieces around personal protective equipment, hand sanitization, extra cleaning protocols and whatnot.”
Once they have more concrete information from the province, a survey will be sent out to parents, students, and staff about what might ease any anxieties surrounding going back to in-class learning.