Division News Article

Pembina Hills to delay first student day and stagger entry for students

August 24th, 2020

In response to the Minister of Education’s media release on August 21 and the concerns from parents and staff, the Pembina Hills Board of Trustees held a special meeting today and decided to delay and stagger the first day of school for students.

Staggering entry will allow teachers to focus on practicing the new rules and to build students’ confidence and comfort with the return to school.

The first week of school

Monday, August 31 — Unchanged 

  • No students
  • Staff Professional Development and school Start-up meetings

Tuesday, September 1 — Unchanged

  • No students
  • Staff meetings and fine tuning of individual school re-entry plans

Wednesday, September 2 — *Changed from published calendar

  • No students
  • Staff meetings and fine tuning of individual school re-entry plans

Thursday, September 3 — *Changed from published calendar

  • First day for students in Grades 1, 3, 5, 7 ,9 and 11
  • Everyone else stays home

Friday, September 4 — *Changed from published calendar

  • First day for students in Grades 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12
  • Everyone else stays home

Schools with Kindergarten programs will inform parents regarding the unique plans for Kindergarten students’ first day of school.

Timing of the decision

Pembina Hills trustees and administration appreciate that this decision comes quite late. We had been waiting for specific directions from the Government of Alberta.  In the August 21 media release, the Minister of Education stated that school boards have the authority to adjust calendars.

On Friday, August 21, Pembina Hills released a short poll to gather feedback from parents regarding re-entry. Responses to the poll have provided valuable data to support decision making.

The staggered entry will provide students and staff some time to learn the new rules and the required health measures. The extra time will allow schools to adjust routines and practices as needed.

Next steps

  • The transportation department will begin reaching out to families directly to review specific busing procedures (after August 26).
  • School staff will refine their school routines and offer communications as necessary.
  • Parents:  If you have chosen alternatives to in-class learning:
    • Please inform the school that your children would have attended so the school can adjust class lists as needed.

All of our plans for re-entry are designed as per the guidelines provided by the Government of Alberta.

Our goal is to ensure the highest quality education experience possible for all of our students. We believe that delaying and staggering the first day of school will create a positive experience for our staff and students.