2021-22 Back to School Plan

NGPS 2021-22 Back to School Plan 

UPDATE: On December 30, 2021, Alberta's Education Minister announced that the pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 student winter break would be extended to January 10 province-wide, and that January Diploma Examinations are cancelled. At this time, classes are scheduled to resume for students on Monday, January 10, 2022.

The health measures for schools that were announced on September 15, 2021, continue to be in effect:

Mandatory masking for students in Grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades 

  • Exception: Medical exemptions confirmed by the school principal are still in effect.
  • NGPS students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be required to mask when in common spaces, like hallways, as per the Division's September 3 direction.
  • Masks and distancing are not required by youth under 18 while engaged in physical activity.

The NGPS 2021-22 Back to School Plan outlines in detail the strategies and health measures the Division will implement to support the health and safety of students and staff. Each school will follow the Plan and also build school-specific information to best fit their community.

NGPS will continue to follow and implement provincial health requirements and measures as required, including:

  • Daily health screening for students, staff and visitors before coming to school
  • Staying home when sick
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting in schools and on yellow buses
  • Mandatory masking for students in Grades 4-12, plus staff and teachers in all grades
  • Common space masking for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3. NGPS students in Kindergarten and Grades 1-3, are required to wear a mask when in school common spaces, like hallways.
  • Masks are mandatory for all students on school buses regardless of age/grade 
  • Handwashing and sanitizing
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE) where required

Health and safety measures continue to be evaluated continuously in response to changing public health information.

As always, we remain committed to providing safe, caring and inspiring learning environments for our students and staff. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to safety, learning and cooperation. Together, we will continue to work to keep one another safe.

Before coming to school each day, all staff and students must continue to use Alberta Health's Daily Checklist to decide whether they can attend school or must stay home.

Alberta Health Services recently updated the checklist with testing recommendations and isolation requirements for children and adults who are fully, partially, or not vaccinated.

Families and staff are not required to manually fill out the form or to submit the form to their school. The questionnaire is a tool to assess wellness before coming to school. 

We are excited to return to in-person learning and to keeping students in the classroom; however, we do caution parents to prepare for potential short-term shifts to at-home learning should student or staff illness require it. Shifts to at-home learning could occur for individual classes, schools or, (unlikely) the Division. Any necessary shifts will be for the shortest time periods possible.

Isolation helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people you could infect if you have symptoms or test positive by staying home and avoiding others. Effective January 3, Albertans are legally required to isolate as outlined below:

  • Fully vaccinated (2 doses or 1 dose Janssen): Isolate for 5 days from the start of symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer, if symptoms are not related to a pre-existing condition. For 5 days following isolation, wear a mask at all times when around others outside of home.
  • Not fully vaccinated (1 dose or less): Isolate for 10 days from the start of symptoms or until they resolve, whichever is longer, if symptoms are not related to a pre-existing condition.
  • If you test negative and have symptoms, you should still stay home and away from others until symptoms resolve.
  • Before coming to school each day, all staff and students must continue to use Alberta Health's Daily Checklist to decide whether they can attend school or must stay home.
  • Families and staff are not required to manually fill out the form or to submit the form to their school. The questionnaire is a tool to assess wellness before coming to school. 

Parents will be asked to pick up their child from school immediately. The student will be asked to wear a non-medical mask if able to do so safely, and be isolated in a separate room or kept at least two metres away from others. Parents should ensure the school has their most up-to-date contact information.

NGPS looks forward to having parents, visitors and volunteers back in schools. As we initially come back into school with health guidelines, schools will explore ways to safely bring volunteers, visitors and parents back into their buildings this year.

This will look different from school to school based on the unique circumstances of each school community. When visitors are invited back into schools, all individuals are required to:

  • Make an appointment by contacting the school office by phone or email
  • Screen for illness
  • Sign in at the school’s visitor log
  • handwash/sanitize upon entering the building

In accordance with directives from Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta, mandatory masking is in place for: 

  • students in Grades 4-12, plus staff and teachers in all grades
  • all students/individuals on school buses regardless of age/grade/function 

Common space masking for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3.

NGPS students in Kindergarten and Grades 1-3 are required to wear a mask when in school common spaces, like hallways.

Health and safety measures will continue to be evaluated continuously in response to changing public health information and in the event circumstances and required health measures for schools across the province, schools in a particular region, or individual schools and classrooms, change, based on provincial direction and the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.

Northern Gateway Public Schools will not be providing an online learning format; however, online learning options are available. Please see the Online Learning Directory and speak with your local school principal. 

As per Alberta’s Education Act, Section 20(1), a parent of a student may provide, at home or elsewhere, a home education program for the student. For further information, please see the Home Education Regulation, September 2019. Students who are registered in a home education program for the current school year must remain in that program for the entire school year. 

Specific strategies related to COVID-19 will be added as required to meet the student’s needs.

The dispensing of medication will follow Administrative Procedure 714 Medical Assistance for Students and any applicable COVID-19 guidelines. 

Division contract service supports (occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and/or psychologists) will provide service following their professional association guidelines and will wear personal protective equipment as needed/required.

Grade 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) will resume and participation is mandatory for all schools not piloting the new draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum.

Diploma Examinations

Grade 12 diploma exams are mandatory in the 2021-22 school year.

Diploma exams will be offered for every diploma exam course in April, June and August administrations. January Diploma Exams have been cancelled.

There are no specific restrictions or requirements for school activities and services. However, masks are required on school buses. Schools may continue with activities providing there is consideration given to safety factors such as reducing contacts and social distancing. These activities may include:

  • Field trips
  • Music, singing, dancing, theatre
  • Sports
  • Visitors to the school
  • Food services
  • Student transportation
  • Work experience
  • Ceremonies
  • Graduations

This is a stressful time for many Albertans. Resources are available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs a little extra support, or advice on handling the stress, or ways to talk to children.

Mental Health Resources