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OCTOBER 30 EMAIL FOR FAMILIES AND STAFF

OCTOBER 30 EMAIL FOR FAMILIES AND STAFF
Posted on 10/30/2020
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October 30, 2020: We are two months into the 2020-2021 school year and while we have made concerted efforts to maintain stable, safe and caring learning environments, we are still faced with many challenges that impact our MHPSD family.

The Board of Trustees of Medicine Hat Public School Division recognizes the pressures being placed on students and staff amidst the challenges associated with delivering the essential service of education, during a global pandemic. We are incredibly proud of the work done by families and students to follow school guidelines that are not normal or comfortable. This is exhausting work and staff, students and parents are tired. We know that caring for the wellbeing of the people we serve, and those that serve them, is also essential.

The Board of Trustees of Medicine Hat Public School Division has voted to modify the 2020-2021 school calendar for the month of November. By shifting the calendar, we will be able to create a short break for staff and students beginning on Remembrance Day. There will be no school for students or staff on November 11, 12 & 13, 2020. In order to achieve this, November 20 will no longer be a PD day. See the table below: 

November 11 – Remembrance Day

Schools Closed – No school for students or staff

November 12, 13

Schools Closed – No school for students or staff

November 20

Regular School Day - No longer a Division wide PD Day, all students and staff will attend

We know that this is short notice; supporting mental health and wellness in our school communities is a priority and requires a timely and thoughtful response. We need to think ahead and consider the important steps to mitigate the toll of the pandemic and keep our MHPSD family strong and healthy. We appreciate your understanding as we implement this change. Here is a link to our updated 2020-2021 school calendar


COVID-19 – Update to the Alberta Health Daily Checklist 

We would like to inform families that Alberta Health Services updated the Alberta Health Daily Checklist for children under the age of 18 (this also applies to students that are over the age of 18 and attending high school) and these changes will come into effect on Nov 2, 2020. Please take a moment to review the changes to the guide.  

Overview of updates to the Alberta Health Daily Checklist:

  • Symptoms of runny nose and sore throat have been removed from the mandatory isolation checklist for Albertans under 18.
  • The COVID isolation symptoms for children are now one (or more) of the following: cough, fever, loss of taste or smell and shortness of breath. If a child has any of these COVID symptoms:
    • They are to isolate for 10 days OR have a negative COVID-19 test result and feel better before they return to school.
  • If a child has one of the following other symptoms: chills; sore throat or painful swallowing; runny nose or congestion; feeling unwell or fatigue; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; unexplained loss of appetite; muscle or joint aches; headache; or conjunctivitis (pink eye):
    • The child should stay home and monitor for 24 hours.
    • If their symptom is improving after 24 hours, they can return to school when they feel well enough to attend. Testing is not recommended.
    • If the symptom worsens after 24 hours, or if additional symptoms emerge, or if the child has any two symptoms from this second list, they are to continue to stay home, and testing is recommended but not required. The child can return to activities and school when their symptoms have resolved, AND it has been 24 hours or more since their symptoms started.


October 23, 2020

Based on updated guidance from Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services we have made some adjustments to our MHPSD Re-entry Plan - Scenario 1. You are welcome to re-read the entire plan, however we have created a simplified summary document below:

You will note that there are shifts in several areas. The changes include, but are not limited to, paper handling, off-site activities, adult volunteers and guest speakers in schools, signing and face coverings. 

With respect to off-site activities and to guest speakers in schools, I have instructed school principals to limit, as much as is reasonable, the number of people coming and going from inside our schools during the school day in order to reduce the number of potential opportunities for the spread of COVID-19. 

With this in mind, principals are asked to limit off-site activities to those that address critical outcomes in the Programs of Study. Likewise, the adult volunteers and guests in classrooms must support outcomes of the programs of study and will be considered only when virtual opportunities are not available or appropriate to the task. If you have questions or comments about how your school plans to apply these guidelines, please contact your school principals.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to provide safe and caring learning environments for students and staff.


October 9, 2020

Hello families,  

Please take a moment to view a video message from Superintendent Mark Davidson (Youtube).

Documents Referenced in the video: 



August 28, 2020 - Email


Dear Families and staff, 

This email will cover information about back to school, a video message from our superintendent and Chromebooks. 

Just a reminder that the Chief Medical Officer of Health requires that all families do a daily health check before sending kids on the bus or coming to school.


CHROMEBOOKS

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED: Your order is being processed and Chromebooks are being delivered to students at school starting next week. Devices for students who are attending in person will go directly to the student. We understand that some Hub/at-home learners still do not have devices and we will work to make sure those devices are available for students on Monday at their home school. The school will notify AT-Home/Hub Learners when the device will be ready for pick up.

We have experienced some inconsistencies in our registrants for the Hub and ask that you have patience with us as we work to correct any issues. If you are not sure of what you need to do to prepare for Monday and need more information please contact thehub@sd76.ab.ca

IF YOU STILL NEED TO PURCHASE: We have two purchase options available to families. The links below will take you to SchoolCash Online to allow you to complete the purchase agreement and initiate the delivery of a Chromebook to your child’s home school. Please be advised that we are unable to correct the visa purchase option for the yearly payment plan and ask that families choose the Echeck option instead (more details in the payment process section below).  

Chromebook Purchase Options

Purchase Options

Total Device Cost

New Device - Full Payment Option

$199

New Device - 3 Year Payment Plan (grade 11 and 12 students do not qualify for this plan)

$225

1 Year Old Device - Full Payment Option

SOLD OUT

1 Year Old Device – 2 Year Payment Plan

Note: A small quantity is available

SOLD OUT

2 Year Old Device – Full Payment Option

$75


French Chromebook Purchase Options

Total Device Cost

New French Device - Full Payment Option

$199

New French Device - 3 Year Payment Plan

$225

PAYMENT PROCESS INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Click the appropriate link in the table above. This will take you to SchoolCash Online to complete the online purchase agreement and pay the fee. We recommend using chrome as your browser to complete this process. 
    1. If you are already a SchoolCash Online user, please fill out the form first and sign into your school cash account after you have been prompted to.  
    2. If you are new to SchoolCash Online you can:
      1. If paying full amount up front you can use the system as a “Guest”;
      2. Or create an account if you want to use the yearly payment plan option. You will need your childs student ID to create a new account, you can get this from your child’s school. There have been some glitches when paying by credit card on the yearly payment plan option. We regret that we will only be able to accept Echeck for the yearly payment plan at this time. In order to use Echeck Here is what you will need:
        1. Bank account number (1-12 digits)
        2. Bank transit number (5digits)
        3. Institution number (3 digits)
  2. If you have multiple children that you are purchasing for, you will need to complete this process for each child.
  3. Chromebooks will be delivered to your child’s school once they are processed and ready for learning.
  4. If a student is registered in the Online HUB (K-9), the Chromebook will still go to their regular enrolment school. Families will be notified when the chromebook is available and will need to arrange for pick up. 

Important notes:

  1. Each of our categories (new, used and French keyboard devices) have limited quantities and will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
  2. If you are ordering a French keyboard device, please note that delivery of these devices is delayed until later in September or early October. If families choose this option, we will work to provide interim loaner devices to students – however we will need a few days to manage this. 
  3. Note:  For current users of SchoolCash Online, while you will be using your existing account, the process is slightly different as you need to fill out the form first and sign into SchoolCash second.

Feel free to reply to this email if you have questions about chromebooks.


The HUB

We, at The Hub, have been eagerly anticipating the first day of school (Monday, August 31).  Our goal has been to communicate with all Hub families through a phone conversation and a follow up email.   Our teachers were able to contact many of you today and we want to thank you for your enthusiasm regarding the programming for at-home learning.  Our teachers were thrilled to have conversations with you today.  We have missed you! 

We are currently in the process of finalizing staff due to an increase of student enrollments.  Due to these fluctuations, we have been unable to communicate with all families today.  We want to assure you our teachers will be in communication with you Monday, either through individual Google Meets, or through a phone conversation. 

We apologize if we were unable to communicate with you today.  We value your family and are eager to build our learning community with you.   

If you have questions regarding school start up at The Hub, please contact us at thehub@sd76.ab.ca 


See you on Monday... 

Mark Davidson, Superintendent

Medicine Hat Public School Division





August 22, 2020 - Email 

Hello families and staff,

What follows is an update about transportation and some recently updated information from the Government of Alberta regarding our response to Covid-19.  Of course, more information will follow from your school in the coming days.  Administration and clerical staff will be in all schools this coming Monday.

SCHOOL BUS REGISTRATION

The moment you have been waiting for is here!  School bus registration is open deadline to register is August 26, 2020). There are two ways to register.

Registration Option #1: You will have received an email (with the subject: Medicine Hat Public School Division – Form Has Been Assigned), you can follow the instructions in the email to complete bus registration on a desktop, laptop or tablet. If you do not require school bus registration, please ignore the email asking you to register. If you choose to fill out the form on your smart phone, please follow the instructions below:

Registration option #2: If you did not receive an email with a link to register, please follow the instructions below. Login to PowerSchool Parent Portal and follow the instructions below:

Route and Eligibility Information

To view updated bus routes, attendance areas and to find out if your child is eligible for school bus transportation please visit mhpsd.ca. If your child requires special transportation (ex: wheelchair accessibility) please contact Robert Olson, Transportation Coordinator Transportationreg@sd76.ab.ca 403.528.65722

If you have any questions about school bus registration please contact your child’s school on or after August 24, 2020.


DEVICES

We have received many thoughtful questions about devices and Chromebooks, so we developed FAQs to provide you with answers:


MHPSD LEARNING INTENT FORM

We want to thank families for taking the time to fil out our MHPSD Learning Intent Form, we have had 4500 responses. The form is open until Monday, August 24 for families that have not yet completed it.

We understand that some families may want to change their mind after they have filled out the intent form, and that is OK. There is still time to make changes to your learning intent form and if you need to do so please call your child’s school on or after August 24 and they will be happy to help you.


MHPSD SCHOOL RE-ENTRY PLAN: SCENARIO 1 - UPDATE

The Government of Alberta has updated their re-entry plan and as such, we have made the following changes to our MHPSD School Re-entry Plan Scenario 1. What follows is a brief summary of the changes so that you do not have to read the whole thing to find them. 

1) Masks

Masks Exemption: Exemptions to mask requirement for all teachers and staff in all school settings and students in grades 4-12 include:

  1. Persons who are unable to place, use or remove a non-medical face mask without assistance;
  2. Persons unable to wear a non-medical face mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
  3. Persons consuming food or drink in designated areas;
  4. Persons engaged in physical exercise;
  5. Persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a non-medical face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  6. Persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of the non-medical face mask, and
  7. Spaces where physical barriers have been installed between persons.

Exemption under criteria 2 will be granted by the Principal with the support of a signed note or letter from a doctor or other appropriate professional (nurse practitioner, psychologist). In circumstances where the school has prior knowledge of a condition or need, the Principal may grant the exemption without a new note.  Please contact your school Principal to discuss.

Note: The emphasis on masks in all the documents provided by government in the past several weeks has been significant.  Principals will not be granting exemptions based on preference or opinion.  The need for exemption must be compelling and supported by the above documentation or prior knowledge of professional staff. Please know that school administrators are not trying to be difficult.  They have been charged with a very challenging task...to be true to the Government’s direction and thoughtful about when to provide exemptions.  Just call and have a conversation and know that they are working hard to be caring and understanding.

Mask Storage: Families and staff will work together to educate students on how to properly put on and remove a reusable mask, emphasizing:

  • Washing hands or applying hand sanitizer before handling
  • Handling masks by the ties/ear loops/elastics
  • Avoid touching the mask once it is on
  • Changing masks when they become wet or soiled

Masks While Teaching: If students are all seated, and the teacher is in a designated area at the front of the class with at least two metres of physical distance from the closest student, they may remove their mask to teach.  Your child’s teacher will clear with students about why they are able to remove the mask to reinforce/model behaviors.

2) School Sports

Starting Sept 1, in-school athletic practices will be permitted with the following considerations:

  • Cohort limit of 50; one cohort may not interact with another
  • A student may only participate one cohort at a time (unless there is 14 days between changing cohorts)
  • No scrimmages or competition between schools
  • Any student that wishes to play school sports will not be permitted to take part in any other sports off campus
  • General safety protocols being employed in schools should be observed at all times, such as hand sanitizer, masks, physical distancing, etc.
  • Stricter cleaning guidelines
  • Provincial championships are postponed until AB Gov announces stage 3 re-entry

In all cases, significant limits on spectators and their actions (cheering and yelling) are expected to be in place for some time. Click for more information about the ASAA safe return to high school athletics

3) Daily Health Checklist (Updated)

Each day, before leaving home, staff, students, visitors, and volunteers who will access the school for work or education, must self-screen for symptoms of common cold, influenzas, COVID-19 and other infectious respiratory diseases. By completing the Alberta Health Daily Checklist before leaving the home, members of the school community are committing to working to ensure that no one attends to a school building with COVID-19 symptoms.

4) Cafeteria/Food Services (Updated)

  • Providing shared treats for the classroom will be allowed if there is a designated server serving the food, appropriate hand hygiene, and physical distancing.
  • Schools with full cafeteria, concessions, cafes, stores, and/ or programs that handle and prepare foods must follow the Guidance For Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs, and Bars. There is no restriction on students working in food establishments within schools; workplace control measures must be in place.

5) Paper Handling

All paper handling will be addressed in accordance with the procedures from Alberta Health Services. Paper, library books and other items that cannot be disinfected should be stored for 72 hours between use.

6) Responding to Covid – 19 in Schools

COVID-19 in School (K-12) Settings – A Resource guide for schools before, during and after a COVID-19 Outbreak.

7) AHS Expectations of Staff and Students Regarding Testing

Alberta Health is working with Alberta Health Services to develop a strategy for COVID-19 testing for teachers.

  • All teachers and school staff are recommended to have a COVID-19 test before school starts to help better understand baseline risk in this group.
  • Work is being done to speed turn-around time to results for all tests, rather than expediting some groups over others.

The staff of Medicine Hat Public School Division are approaching the coming year, like the community we serve, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  So much about the places we work, and the way we work in them, has been touched by the responses to Covid-19.  We are excited to see our students and to be with our colleagues again.  We are also concerned that we do all that has been added to our work the right way, in order to protect our community’s children and the staff that serve them.

Know that we are all in for your children!  Their safety, our community and our shared success are important to us.  We are thankful for the support you have given us in the months past and appreciate the grace you will show us as we work through this new way of being.

Be Well,

Mark Davidson Superintendent

Medicine Hat Public School Division




August 19, 2020. 

If you missed the phone call from Superintendent Mark Davidson today, here is what it said...

We are excited about the first day of classes on Monday August 31. 
We are also mindful of the great responsibility we bear for ensuring that we do all we can to open as safely as possible.  We understand the challenges we face as a community and are working hard to bring calm and focus to our work with our students.

In order to prepare for the start of school, we need all families to complete our Learning Intent Form. This form lets us know if you intend to have your child attend in-class or at-home learning and will help us assign staff to meet your child’s needs. Medicine Hat Public School Division will provide in-class programming to all who wish to attend in person.  We are also providing English language programming for at-home students from Early Learning tGrade 9 through a new online school known as The Hub. French Immersion and High School students will receive in-class and at-home service through their home school.  Timetable, school calendar and staffing changes are being made to support them in this work. 

If you haven’t done so, please access the form on our website at mhpsd.ca by clicking on the news image or the banner that says Will you choose at-home or in-person learning? It is here that you let us know how we get to serve your child this coming year.

We need to have all responses by August 24. If you have any questions about back to school please visit our website at mhpsd.ca, email us at communications@sd76.ab.ca, call our office at 403-528-6700 or contact your child's school when they re-open on August 24. 

In the coming days we will send a link to our online school bus registration form. All riders must register so that we might meet the expectations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding seating plans to support contact tracing.  

Mark Davidson, Superintendent

 

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