August 20, 2021
Dear River Valley School Parents and Guardians,
Even during the most adverse of times, River Valley School continues to be an innovative and inclusive school that endeavours to harness the innate curiosity in children and ensure that every one of our students will flourish academically, socially and emotionally. Within the current challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school’s mission and values remain at the heart of all that we do to ensure that every student is capable of achieving their personal best.
Continuing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our school will require the dedication and support of our entire community. Such measures as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, the diligent and daily completion of the health screening questionnaire by every student and staff member, and, of course, having staff and students stay home when sick or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, are all important to the health and wellbeing of our entire RVS community. The school remains dedicated to the additional measures of mask use, staggered drop-off and pick-up, the implementation of an adjusted timetable, the procurement of additional resources and equipment to reduce the sharing of materials, and the continued employment of additional custodial and cleaning staff. Alberta Health Services (AHS) has advised and trusted schools to create protocols that reflect their own school contexts, and, at River Valley School, we continue to go above and beyond expectations whenever possible.
The main objective of this document is to outline our commencement plans for school reopening in September 2021, following the health protocols outlined in the Government of Alberta’s 2021-22 School Year Plan. While we are looking forward to being back together again soon, all possible measures are being put in place to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students and staff upon their return. This document outlines exactly what health protocols will look like for all of us. Knowing that the context of this pandemic can change quickly, we will continually review and evaluate our protocols to ensure the health and safety of our community. As such, this document is subject to change at any time. Our school community will be notified if and when changes are made.
We thank our community members for working with us through this turbulent time. It will require a collective effort to keep our young learners at school, safe and benefiting from the rich learning experience that River Valley School has to offer.
River Valley School, Head of School
In keeping with the direction of Alberta Health Services, the Government of Canada, and the World Health Organization, in regards to the current COVID-19 virus outbreak, we are advising all families to please visit the following websites for guidance around prevention, testing and other useful information:
DAILY SELF-SCREENING PRACTISES
In order to prevent the spread of infection, students, teachers and staff who have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 (according to Ministry of Health and local Public Health guidance) must stay home and decisions about testing and return to school should be guided by the Ministry of Health in consultation with local Public Health protocols.
Before leaving home, staff and students who will access the school for work or education must self-screen for symptoms each day that they enter the school using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
To help minimize spread of any respiratory virus we always recommend the following:
- Make sure everyone in your household washes their hands with soap and water often. If soap and water are not available, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag. Wash your hands immediately after that. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
- Stay home if you’re sick. If your kids are sick, keep them home from school.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often and shared by everyone in your home such as door knobs, light switches and bathroom taps.
- Ensure your child’s immunizations are up to date, including their annual influenza immunization.
- For further information regarding COVID–19, please call Health Link at 811, and/or visit the Alberta Health Services website for COVID–19.
MASK USE AT RIVER VALLEY SCHOOL
- Mask use for students in Grade 1 to Grade 6, as well as all school staff, will be mandatory in all indoor shared spaces.
- Mask use in all specialist, learning support, and Arrowsmith classrooms will be mandatory for staff and students in grades 1 to grade 6 (with the exception of physical and outdoor education, when students are physically exerting themselves).
- Within homeroom classes, when students and staff are eating, drinking, or physically distanced, mask use will not be mandatory.
- Mask use for students and staff will be optional during outdoor activities, recess, and DPA.
- Mask use for students in Pre-Junior Kindergarten, Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten will be optional, but recommended at drop-off and pick-up times.
- Students and staff who choose to continue wearing a mask in optional settings will be fully supported in their decision. Discussions about personal choice regarding mask use will be held in homerooms to ensure students feel supported amongst their peers.