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Update on Health Measures at STEM Innovation Academy

Posted on September 17, 2021

Dear Families,

As you are aware, the Government of Alberta declared a state of public health emergency on September 15th in response to the rising COVID-19 cases. Several new measures were put in place to help minimize the spread, increase vaccination rates, and most important, to protect our health care system. In collaboration with administration and our STEM Board of Directors, we are enhancing some of the measures we currently have in place.

Our School Entry Plan was shared with you on August 18 and will be updated to include our new enhanced measures as follows:

Beginning immediately, all staff and students will be required to:

  • Wear a mask at all times while on the charter bus to and from school
  • Wear a mask at all times while inside the school. This includes times when students are sitting in their desk and facing the front of the room. It also includes times when the teacher is at the front of the room instructing. This measure exceeds the government health measure. As our program is based on collaboration, we are trying to strike a balance between the need to keep everyone safe and the need to maintain valuable learning opportunities. The only time a mask may be removed is when individuals are eating or drinking or when working alone in an office.
  • Eat lunch from 11:45 am-12:05 pm with all devices off and away. This measure exceeds the government health measure. Our Hive and hallways are busy at lunch and it is not feasible to physically distance at this time. If students are focused on eating, they will finish lunch much sooner than they currently are. Once students are finished eating, they may access their device beginning at 12:05 pm with their mask on. As a reminder to students, weather permitting, they may choose to eat their lunch outside without masks.

Beginning Monday, September 20, we will recommend:

  • That students change for Phys. Ed. Our change rooms are small and it is difficult to maintain a physical while changing. For this reason, students may choose to remain in their STEM uniform. Often times students can adapt their physical output during Phys. Ed. and for this reason, students will have the option to change into their gym strip. If students are not changing, it is important they are wearing clothes that allow them to participate in class and not hinder their movement. If students are not changing, we recommend they are wearing a t-shirt and have deodorant at school in their backpack. This measure exceeds the government health measure.

We will continue to respond to information as it is available. The pandemic continues to evolve and we will continue to review and adjust our practices as necessary to keep everyone safe. We are committed to open communication with our families.

Lastly, we continue to respect the personal choices of our students, families, staff, and greater school community. There may be a differing of opinions on our enhanced measures. I do believe we share a common goal in keeping everyone safe. That is, and will remain, our highest priority. Families and students navigated the pandemic last year by working together. This partnership remains essential as we all do our part to reduce the strain on our health care system and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

We encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. Parents still wishing to provide consent for their child to be vaccinated in school may do so by completing and returning asap the consent form that is posted on our website. Moving forward, we will notify families of self-reported cases in the school. In doing so, we will absolutely protect personal information. 

Together, and supported by each other, we will get through this. Thank you. Joanne Higgins Superintendent

Joanne Higgins