Dear Staff and Families,

The following updates are provided for your information.

Rapid Tests and Masks

Government supplied shipments of masks and rapid test kits should start to arrive this week. Our two campuses are working on strategies to distribute the masks and rapid test kits to individual staff members and students. Each campus will notify parents of their process for distribution once shipments have arrived.

Schools will consider how best to ensure access to masks without sending all of them home. This may involve a daily distribution through a regular classroom routine, particularly for the lower grades.

Initial shipments will include one box of test kits and a two-week supply of medical grade masks. Each box of rapid tests contains five tests. Testing is recommended to be done twice a week (Sunday evening and Tuesday evening or Monday morning and Wednesday morning) prior to attending work or school. Initial shipments of masks will include a two-week supply for all adults and children in our schools to use two masks per school day.

Results of rapid tests are not required to be reported to the school.

Positive Test COVID-19 Notifications

At this time, no notifications will be sent by our school to families regarding reported results of positive rapid tests as noted in our previous communication. Due to the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant, it may be challenging to continually inform parents of positive test cases per class, or grade level. Please continue to inform the school if your child will be absent from school for any reason. Schools will continue to monitor school absenteeism due to illness.  Close contacts of positive test cases at school are not required to isolate unless you have been advised to do so by AHS. Should the situation warrant a shift to at-home-learning for a class or grade, we will inform families of the pending shift as soon as possible.

Masking and Isolation Requirements

The isolation requirements for Alberta have recently changed. The information is available at https://www.alberta.ca/isolation.aspx.  Note that the isolation requirements differ for individuals who are fully vaccinated and for those who are not.

Alberta Health guidance indicates that fully vaccinated individuals returning from COVID-19 isolation of 5 days must wear a mask continuously for an additional 5 days when out in public or interacting with others. This will present some operational challenges in schools as it means individuals should not remove their mask in the presence of others and consideration must then be given for eating in an area that does not include others. If an individual has been isolating due to a positive case of COVID-19, is fully vaccinated, all symptoms have resolved and returns to work or school, the school will do its best to provide an area to isolate, and not wear a mask in order to eat lunch.  The option is for the individual to remain in isolation at home for the full 10 calendar days before returning to school.

It is important that staff and students who are ill stay home, use the daily checklist and follow isolation requirements to determine whether or not they can attend school.

Please contact the Elementary or Mid-High attendance lines to report that your child will be absent:

  • EC – 403 217 0426 Option 1 or email attendance-elem@westmountcharter.com
  • MH – 403 217 9427 Option 1 or email attendance-mh@westmountcharter.com
  • Provide the following information
    • first name and last name (include the spelling of the last name)
    • the date of the absence (or late)
    • grade
    • the name of your child’s homeroom teacher and
    • reason for absence (or late).

Providing Instruction Online

Maintaining in-person learning is our priority. Our schools will not deliver instruction both online and in-person. If families withhold their children from attending school due to health concerns or as a precautionary measure, they may access resources as identified by their school. (PowerLearn / Google Classroom). If your child’s class or school is going to be transitioned to online learning, you will receive information from the school directly and instruction will be provided via Zoom / Google Meet / PowerLearn / Google Classroom (MH).

We will be closely monitoring absences and other factors related to the pandemic that may require changes to processes and procedures.  We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work through these challenging times.

Joe Frank

Superintendent