Dear Westmount Parents/Guardians and Staff,
Westmount looks forward to welcoming back more than 1300 students for the 2021–22 school year. As we prepare to welcome our students and staff back to in-person learning and working, we continue to be guided by the following principles:
- the safety of students and staff is our primary concern
- high-quality teaching and learning will continue using a variety of gifted education strategies
- school authority flexibility to adjust health and safety protocols based on our local context
The basic return to school process is premised on a near-normal scenario to commence September 1st. The most recent 2021-2022 School Year Plan provided by Alberta Education on August 13, includes two contingency scenarios to be implemented based on changing COVID-19 conditions. Please note that available funding does not afford Westmount to offer an at-home learning option this school year.
On August 13, the Government of Alberta also released its Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools. Given the availability of vaccines, the province has indicated it will provide opportunities for eligible students in grades 7-12 to be vaccinated at school. Watch for follow-up information to be communicated from Westmount.
Provincial direction, feedback from staff, students and families, consultation with our board, and what we know about COVID-19 right now, helped determine how the start of our school year will look commencing September 1. We will continue to monitor information available and adjust our plan as necessary.
Westmount measures for pandemic management include:
- requiring the use of masks for all students and staff including renewed exemptions
- daily health screening for students and staff before coming to school – It is critical that any member of our community who is feeling unwell follow the expectations of the current public health order regarding isolation
- enhanced cleaning and disinfecting in schools
- encouraging physical distancing where possible
- creating cohorts of students where possible (kindergarten to grade 6)
- hand hygiene requirements for students and staff
- enhanced central ventilation (MERV13 filters)
- no parents, visitors, volunteers or external resource people without an appointment in schools
- partnering with Alberta Health to host vaccination clinics in schools (grades 7-12)
Several previous health protocols will be adjusted (provincial directive) including:
- schools and AHS will no longer inform close contacts
- lockers and change rooms can be used
- band and sports activities can proceed
- field trips will be allowed with appropriate health and safety measures
Please watch for a specific re-entry communication from your student’s Westmount campus by Monday, August 30th. We look forward to welcoming our students and staff back to a safe, enjoyable school year.