By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
Six schools under the purview of Clearview Public Schools currently have greater than 10 per cent of students and staff away with illness.
Big Valley School, Donalda School, Erskine School, Stettler Elementary School, Byemoor School, and Gus Wetter are all impacted, some with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Due to the large number of staff and students away from two sites, Big Valley and Donalda, Clearview Public Schools has made the decision to transition the schools to at home learning until at least Oct. 1st.
“We’ve actually moved to a short-term at home learning opportunity for two schools, based on information we received from the minister of education,” said Clearview Public Schools Superintendent Brenda MacDonald.
The decision to transition to at-home learning was based on several criteria including teaching or support staff shortages, a significant number of students being absent, or other COVID-19 related information provided by Alberta Education, Alberta Health Services, or the Government of Alberta.
“We follow the health guidelines we have been given,” said Associate Superintendent Peter Neale.
“I don’t know that any of us have the right answer, I think all of us are just trying to do our best for staff and students.”
In addition to the recently announced restrictions put in place for schools, such as the return of masking and cohorts, Clearview Public Schools has been approaching the ongoing pandemic with a “risk adverse” approach, according to Neale.
“We made the decision to maintain our daytime custodians,” said Neale.
“We didn’t know for how long this year, and I think in retrospect it was a good decision to maintain the additional cleaning processes. Prior to the most recent guidelines we asked staff to wear masks in common areas. We did maintain our disinfecting and sanitizing protocols from last year, so we did start this year as ready we could be.”
Trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic has been challenging for Clearview Public Schools.
“For our perspective, it is a difficult situation the government is faced with right now,” said Neale.
“We recognize that this is a challenging time for everybody. We really try to respect the viewpoints that are involved. For anybody who doesn’t want to wear a mask, there are people who want to wear a mask. For people who want to get the vaccine, there are other people who don’t think vaccines are a good way to go. In our world, we try to listen to all those voices and try to do what’s best for our students and staff.”