Calgary Catholic School District reveals what schools could look like in September
CALGARY -- School boards are getting ready to face a new reality when classes resume in the fall. The measures being taken at St. Joseph elementary and junior high in the northwest are like you would expect to see in grocery stores or malls.
A hand sanitizer station is at the front doors of the school for everyone entering to use. Arrows are on the floor to direct foot traffic. Public water fountains are taped off so they’re not used. Bathrooms have instructions for hand washing and limit the amount of students entering.
In the classroom, backpack and coat hooks won’t be used but rather they’ll be placed in the seat next to the student to maintain distance.
Bryan Szumlas is the chief superintendent of the Calgary Catholic School District. He says classroom sizes vary with only 10 to 15 students allowed inside at a time with their teacher.
“If it was a traditional class of 25 students perhaps only half of them will come on the A day and on the B day the other half of the class would come,” said Szumlas. “We’ve been communicating this out to our families and we’ve been encouraging all of our families to plan for the worst, but hope for the best.”
Face shields or masks?
Personal protective equipment isn’t required for teachers right now but Szumlas is looking at options.
“Face shields we think are going to be better than masks because as educators when we’re teaching kids how to read and write, listening to and seeing our expression of our face is going to be really important,” said Szumlas. “So that’s why we are leaning more towards face shields as we resume classes in the fall.”
Jason Schilling is the head of the Alberta Teachers Association. He says safety is the number one priority for teachers.
“We need to get rid of that uncertainty and we need more input from the government about what the basic standards will be for schools to enter,” said Schilling. “I know that school boards are looking at the scenarios and doing their best to try and figure out how they will ensure teachers and students are safe when they return in the fall.”
Szumlas wants parents to see what the Calgary Catholic School District is doing now so they can plan for the return to classes in the fall.