By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Students will be returning to classrooms soon, and Westwind School Division is committed to ensuring their students return to learning safely.
“Westwind is making every effort to return to as normal circumstances as possible while following all guidelines released by AHS and Alberta Education,” said Darren Mazutinec, superintendent for Westwind. “We are committed to offering a full academic complement to students, while also making every effort to find a way to provide all the ‘co’ and extracurricular programming that we know is a valuable part of the whole public education experience.”
An emphasis is being placed on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols in buildings and buses. Families are reminded to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses, and to use the AHS Screening questionnaire daily. Face masks will be needed for those in Grades 1-12 and for staff in hallways and gathering areas. However, once they are in the classroom and “distanced as much as possible”, they may be removed.
“We are committed to following all Alberta Education and AHS guidelines, and those guidelines currently say that K-3 students are not required to wear masks. Our principals and staff will educate students about hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette and encourage social distance awareness as they play and learn. In our elementary school classrooms that currently have tables instead of desks, we have invested in barriers that will serve as additional measures to protect students.”
In order to abide by physical distancing requirements, Westwind will only be providing bussing for funded riders, or students who live further than 2.4 kms away from their designated school. They are asking parents whose children normally take the bus to take them directly to school themselves in order to help the school division with physical distancing efforts on their buses.
Due to the pandemic, many families are considering distanced learning for their school-age children this year. Mazutinec says their students seeking distance or home learning are encouraged to enroll at Westwind Alternate School under Principal Mike DeVuyst.
“We respect and recognize the role of parents in determining their child’s educational needs, path, and direction. We understand that due to health concerns and parental choice related to the pandemic, families may choose not to have their child attend their designated school,” said Mazutinec. “It is our hope that we will be able to welcome these students back into their resident schools in the future.”
“We know this school year may look different from others, but many things will be the same. Our caring and dedicated staff remain committed to providing excellent quality education and are anxious to see you again. We are all working hard to create as normal of an education experience as possible, and we ask for the patience and support of our Westwind families as we continue to do all we can to ensure a safe and successful return to school.”
To find out more about Westwind’s reentry plan, visit https://www.westwind.ab.ca/school-re-entry-2020/schoolrentry