Greetings to our parents and education partners!
A new school year is upon us. The annual return to school is traditionally met with enthusiasm and hope by students and staff alike. Of course, this year is like no other in many ways. Yet, our staff are excited to greet your children back to our schools. I believe that most of our students, as a result of an extended absence, are keen to reconnect with classmates. We would all like to return to “normal”. We will continue to provide a first-rate education to your children, and we will follow all of the guidance from Alberta Education and the Chief Medical Officer of Health to keep them safe.
As we begin this school year, our mantra has been, “We’re all in this together.” But what does this phrase actually mean? For us in WRPS, it means our success is truly, more than ever before, interdependent. We need your support. We need clear guidance from our provincial government. We all need to be on the same page.
We are committed to provide a safe learning environment for your children, and we need your help to do so. We recognize there are a variety of perspectives in our school communities about the strategies embedded in our Re-Entry Plan which was updated August 31. Some parents feel we’re going too far while others may think it’s not enough. Our plan is based on guidance and direction from the provincial government. We are guided by our medical professionals who are using the best data available. That means it’s not perfect. It means that the rules can change based on new information. We are working with an unsure future that could change rapidly. Living with this uncertainty is neither comfortable nor comforting. If we err, it will be on the side of caution. Our staff care deeply about your children, and we will not be cavalier with their health.
Because we’re in this together, it is important we respect everyone’s point of view. It’s also important that you support us in necessary practices that include mask wearing, extra hygiene protocols, and daily screening. Please ensure your children have all they need for the day such as masks, lunch and water bottles, because we want to limit visitors to our schools. We are counting on you.
We are starting the year with a staggered start to ensure our students have a solid understanding of the protocols established. To begin the year, we will concentrate on our students’ wellbeing. There may be anxiety about returning to school, and it is important we address that. For families who are choosing not to send their children at this time, we are establishing a school-at-home-learning option for them. The details of this option are found in our Re-Entry Plan. It’s critical for our planning that you alert the principal of the school right away, if you are exercising this option.
Earlier in August, we asked for your feedback about our school re-entry planning. About 900 people responded which is much appreciated.
I am very pleased and excited to join the great team at WRPS. This is a challenging time, for sure, but I do believe that in partnership with you, this will be our finest hour.