The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
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Wild Rose School Division 'trusting' in government's decision
to reopen schools in September

By Brittany Willsie 
Staff Reporter 

The Government of Alberta recently announced their decision to send students back to school in the fall. 
Students will resume in-school classes close to normal, with some added health measures. 
One safety measure will be a necessary self-screening questionnaire that students and staff will have to fill out daily before entering the school. 
“We’re totally trusting and depending on Alberta Health Services and the Chief Medical Officer when she says that it’s safe for us to return based on having some additional health and safety protocols in place,” said Brad Volkman, superintendent of Wild Rose School Division (WRSD). 
“They’re the health experts, we’re the educational experts. So, when they tell us it’s safe to move forward using certain processes like cohorting and physical distancing as much as possible … then we’re trusting them and we’re going to implement those things and move forward. But our top priority is the safety of our students and our staff.”
At this time, WRSD is working on a handbook to distribute to students, parents and staff. The handbook will explain various protocols to ensure safety and should be ready to publish on Aug. 7. 
“We’re ready to go and we’re looking forward to having our students back in our classrooms and getting back to learning,” Volkman said. 
The provincial government also announced that should there be a COVID-19 outbreak in a community or school, there could be a transition to partial in-class learning or at-home learning. 
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said they are committed to protecting the health of students, staff and families. 
“There is no risk-free approach to COVID-19 but there are also risks to children’s overall health from school closures,” Hinshaw said. 
“We are continually refining our public health advice for schools based on best available evidence. We also have plans in place to respond quickly when cases are identified. Limiting the spread of the virus in schools will require the dedication and support of all Albertans when the school year begins this fall.”
Additional resources can be found online. The Government of Alberta has put together a digital tool kit that can be accessed through the alberta.ca website.