Lethbridge School Division says regular classes in 2020-21 'not looking likely'
It isn't "looking likely" that students in the Lethbridge School Division will see a regular return to classes in 2020-21. (File)
LETHBRIDGE -- Parents whose children are enrolled in one southern Alberta school division got a bit more of an idea of what the next year's schooling would look like.
The Lethbridge School Division released a re-entry brief last week in order to help inform parents who've been dealing with the "stressful circumstances" of the past 12 weeks.
"Parents, students, and staff can be applauded for their ongoing efforts, and I know that with the will to put students at the center of decision-making, the patience to understand mistakes, and the recognition that change is swift and inevitable, we can work together to establish structures within which children have the opportunity to thrive," the division wrote in the release.
It went on to say that it recognized parents are worried for their children's futures because of a "lack of clear direction" and plan for the fall.
In May, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced three plans the province was considering when it came to educating students in the fall.
Those plans included:
- Schools being open and operating as close to normal conditions as possible
- Schools to be generally open but with some health restrictions in place
- For the schools to be closed and the teacher-directed at-home learning to continue
For its purposes, Lethbridge called the three options "regular operations," "blended operations" and "at-home learning."
"At the current time (emphasis added), regular operations is not looking likely," the board wrote. "This may change if the spread of COVID-19 is curbed significantly or there is a vaccine."
The division added the second option, blended operations, is much more likely to occur, but there's a catch.
"This is the most difficult scenario to plan for and will be challenging for families," it said. "Blended operation means that schools must be structured in a manner that adheres to the health protocols put in place by Alberta Health Services."
The protocols would include additional hygiene practices such as hand-washing and use of hand sanitizers, utilizing personal protective equipment by certain staff members and protective shields on desks and social distancing.
"Social distancing is the most challenging protocol because schools will not be able to house the regular number of students."
As a result, the division says it would likely divide students into groups that would attend school for full days on a rotational basis.
While it emphasized the situation will continue to change, the Lethbridge School Division said it would do its best to keep parents informed.
"The Division will do its best to respond to government directives in a timely manner, and keep families apprised of direction as it unfolds."
All schools throughout the province of Alberta were closed down in mid-March. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, Premier Jason Kenney announced on April 30 that schools would not reopen before the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Since that time, schools in Quebec and B.C. have reopened to students in a limited capacity.