Dear Westmount Staff and Parents/Guardians,
Subsequent to the message sent yesterday afternoon, the following information provides additional detail.
The Alberta government confirmed that the province is moving forward with Step 2 of the staged approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions today, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The formal announcement is available here.
As announced, Step 2 of the staged approach includes:
- Remaining provincial school requirements (including cohorting) will be removed.
- Screening prior to youth activities will no longer be required.
- Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues.
- Limits on social gatherings will be removed.
- The provincial mask mandate will be lifted in most settings. However, masking will still be required in high-risk settings, including on public transit, at Alberta Health Services-operated and contracted facilities and all continuing care settings.
Mandatory isolation requirements are still in place and are included in Step 3 of the phased approach. The timing to shift to Step 3 will be determined based on decreasing hospitalization rates.
The provincial masking mandate is removed in most settings in Step 2. In alignment with Step 2, school authorities are not able to require anyone entering the school to wear a mask, unless in accordance with isolation requirements. Individual family choices need to be respected and individuals should not be stigmatized for their choice related to masking going forward. Staff and students can continue to wear masks if they choose to. Our schools will support students and staff who choose to wear masks.
Any remaining rapid test kits or masks that had been supplied, will continue to be provided to any students and staff who request them.
Please note that while the provincial masking mandate has been removed, there are still instances, such as related to isolation and on public transit, when masking is required.
As part of Step 2, provincial schools will not be required to cohort students. While cohorting is no longer required, this shift does not mean schools need to re-design current timetabling or classroom structures. Our schools will retain their current timetabling and classroom structure for the remainder of the school year to avoid learning disruption and in consideration of our students’ contexts and needs.
The mandatory requirements to isolate have not changed. Information about isolation requirements is available here. Additional information related to isolation and masking is available in the Guidance for K-12 schools and school buses.
Mandatory isolation requirements will be removed in Step 3 of the phased approach to relaxing COVID-19 measures, and will become a recommendation at that time.
Vaccine requirements for employees remain within the purview of the employer, respecting applicable employment and health and safety legislation. We will seek advice from our legal counsel regarding a decision to retain or remove these requirements.
School authorities cannot require parents, volunteers or other non-school employees to show proof of vaccination. Parents, volunteers and other non-school employees are required to follow all provincial health orders and guidelines that are applicable in schools, such as daily health checks.
Shifts to at-home learning
For the time being, the school shift process for provincial school authorities will remain. School authorities have the discretion to shift a grade or class to at-home learning should it be operationally required. Shifts for schools or entire school authorities for operational reasons require approval of the Minister.
Updated guidance documents
Moving forward please refer to the following updated guidance documents to support you with the transition during these steps:
Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication.