Regional Office –
No added masking for Pembina Hills
Given recent changes to provincial health measures, Pembina Hills board members discussed with careful consideration whether to bring in any additional health-related requirements for local schools, including requiring masks. The board received feedback from 69 parents, grandparents and concerned community members, in the form of e-mail, phone, video and messages on social media. While some people supported adding local health measures, the vast majority of community members opposed the school division requiring masks in any situations other than those mandated by the province.
Following a very thorough discussion, the board chose not to add any local requirements to require masking. Pembina Hills School Division will continue to comply with all provincial health requirements, but will not introduce any additional requirements at this time.
International tours suspended until 2022-2023
Many high school classes and clubs go on field trips, excursions, national and international travel. In August 2020, the board moved to suspend international trips for the 2020-2021 school year given the uncertainty of local, provincial and international health measures and travel restrictions.
School division leadership and school principals discussed whether international trips should resume for the 2021-2022 school year. Principals suggested that national and provincial trips should continue, and that international trips for the 2022-2023 school year could be submitted for approval in principle.
The board agreed and suspended international tours for the duration of the current school year, but noted that this decision will be reviewed in the summer of 2022.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was established in July 2021 for federal employees and those in federally-regulated industries to acknowledge the lasting harm resulting from the residential school system. The board discussed this important day, which will be commemorated at schools and in classrooms throughout the week leading up to September 30, but opted not to change the school calendar for the 2021/2022 year, given that dates were set in the spring of 2021.
Response to Alberta Education’s request
On August 27, 2021, Superintendent David Garbutt received a letter from Alberta Education requesting that Pembina Hills take a series of actions on behalf of Alberta Education related to maintaining course materials formerly owned by the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). These actions – which would require board approval and ongoing extensive work by Pembina Hills staff – were requested to be completed by August 31, 2021.
The first opportunity for the board to discuss and/or approve these requests was the September 8th board meeting. After discussion, the board decided to deny all requests stated within Alberta Education’s letter.
The next school board meeting is at the Regional Office on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 starting at 9:00 a.m.