By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
*Editor’s note: Public health measures changed after press deadline. For more information please visit the Alberta COVID-19 website.
Following the announcement of further actions from the province, Westwind School Division has updated its Back To School Plan.
On Sept. 3, the province announced it was putting in place temporary measures such as mandatory masking for all indoor public spaces and workplaces and the end of alcohol services for licensed establishments at 10 p.m., along with encouraging limiting in-person contacts, especially for the unvaccinated, and pausing in-person return to work.
Schools would not be required to implement mandatory masking, according to the announcement. New vaccine incentives were also announced.
Following the announcement, WSD has adopted some measures to be implemented until further notice, in addition to its 2021-22 Back to School Plan.
“Following Dr. Hinshaw’s Sept. 3 announcement about reducing transmission to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed, we made adjustments to our plan based on the temporary measures introduced,” said Darren Mazutinec, superintendent of WSD.
“Our division continues to be committed to following all the guidance and direction of Alberta Health and Alberta Education. Our return-to-school plan is a living document, and we fully expect to update it regularly as new information becomes available. We appreciate the support of our division families and staff and their willingness to adapt to these changes, as circumstances require.”
Some of the measures the division will implement include:
• Following all provincial isolation and quarantine requirements.
• School leadership will continue to emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette to all students, staff, and parents, and hand sanitizers will continue to be available at schools with voluntary use, as part of the original start-up plan.
• At this time, as per provincial regulations, students and staff are not required to wear masks in Westwind schools. The division will support any individual choosing to wear a mask. However, masks will be mandatory for parents/visitors entering any school/division buildings, and all fans attending indoor/extracurricular events, including sporting events, are required to wear masks. Volunteer coaches will be classified as staff members for this purpose and will not be required to mask while coaching.
• Masks remain mandatory on school buses for all K-12 students, including field trips and extra-curricular transportation. Any division employees that travel to multiple division worksites and schools are required to wear a mask while on-site when physical distancing can not be maintained, which includes Administration, Technology, Transportation, School Psychologists, Counsellors and Maintenance staff.
• All school public school events should be held outdoors — while weather conditions allow until further notice.
• All scheduled division-hosted meetings will be held virtually until further notice.
For more information on the measures, visit http://www.westwind.ab.ca/about-us/news/post/updated-back-to-school-guidelines.