Division News Article

Update – Step 1: Easing health measures in schools

February 9th, 2022

On February 8, 2022, the province announced a plan to reduce and eliminate restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic—Alberta takes steps to safely return to normal. Some of these changes are specifically relevant to schools. We have had many layers of risk management applied in our schools for almost two years now. While some layers will be removed in the next few days, there are many that will remain. Guidance regarding the removal of other restrictions are expected to occur on or around March 1st.

This update highlights changes to the following restrictions that are specifically impacted by the February 8th announcement: Masks, Events, Daily Health Checks, Conditions of Employment, and Next Steps. If an existing restriction is not described below, presume that the restriction remains.

Masks

On Sunday, February 13th, the health order that requires students to wear masks in schools will be lifted.

  • Students will no longer need to wear masks in schools and on buses as of Monday, February 14th.
  • All staff must continue to wear masks.
  • Adult visitors and volunteers must continue to wear masks in schools.
  • Masks are still available for distribution to staff and students.
  • Any student who chooses to continue to wear a mask may do so and will be supported in their choice.

Events

Spectators will now be able to attend school sporting events. While adult spectators will no longer need to maintain the 2 meter distance while seated, they will need to continue to wear masks.

Students participating in off-campus field trips will be expected to abide by the rules of the venue they attend. For example, children who are 13 years and older would be required to wear masks if the venue maintained that expectation.

Daily Health Check

All conditions listed in the Daily Health Check remain in place, including isolation requirements. The expectations for all individuals to wear a mask for a period of time after testing positive for COVID also remain in place until further notice.

Please continue to monitor the health of yourselves and your children each day and keep them at home if they have symptoms, as described in the Daily Health Check.

Conditions of Employment

The existing conditions of employment, which were modified in response to the letter issued by Ministers of Health and Education in October 2021, have not been impacted by this step in the province’s three-stage plan for the removal of restrictions. The requirements for staff and volunteers to provide proof of vaccination or negative rapid test results therefore remains in place. We will communicate regarding any changes to PHSD’s conditions of employment at such time as provincial guidance changes.

Next steps

Information about Step Two of the easing of restrictions and how it will impact schools is expected to occur March 1st. We will communicate any further changes as soon as possible.

We understand that people will have a variety of feelings about this first step of reduced restrictions. We ask that everyone remain patient and continue to abide by the remaining restrictions.

Please refer to the Alberta government website for full details about the province’s three-stage plan to ease public health measures.