Grasslands reports good school re-entry

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SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks Bulletin

Grasslands superintendent Scott Brandt and school board chair Jody Trembecki couldn’t say enough thanks to everyone for the successful school re-entry and they believe some of the ideas may continue beyond COVID19.
On Monday Brandt told board members everything has been going smoothly since the staggered re-opening that started on Aug. 31.
“Our school administrators and our school staff have done an amazing job,” he said.
He went on to thank the many people who worked hard to get the schools prepared long before students learned they would be returning and up to the minute they did return.
“I think it was a success considering what we were going in with and the high anxiety of staff and students and the very short amount of time to get everything ready, especially when your PPE shows up late,” said Trembecki.
“Huge kudos and big thank yous to our senior admin, department heads and school administrators, janitors,” she said.
She is urging administration staff who attend a parent council meeting to explain how much work went into opening the schools.
“I don’t think a lot of people quite understand.”
Brandt said the one thing that may continue is the staggered entry.
Schools chose a two or three day re-entry for students which helped them orientate themselves with the new norms including hand sanitizing, masking and the door they are to use to enter school.
“The overall feedback was that it was excellent and that it should be something that is maybe considered for all of our school start-ups,” said Brandt.
The one area that will continue to need to be worked on is to ensure students bring their masks to school.
Each student was given two reusable masks, however, if they forget them, they tend to use a number of disposable masks during the day which is a cost to the school board.
“We can’t keep supplying them to this level,” said Brandt.
In response to understanding the symptoms of COVID the school board created a student illness guide and includes any new criteria from AHS.
As well as returning students to class there are 110 students who are attending virtual school.
There are 22 students in grades 1-2, 23 in grades 3-4, 20 in grades 5-6, 27 students in grades 7-9 and 17 in grades 10-12.
While the elementary students are learning from local teachers, because of the variety of courses, the high school students are registered in classes with Vista Virtual School.
With so many changes and so many protocols that have to be followed, at the end of August the federal government announced $2 billion in funding for schools.
The money is to help provinces and territories work with school boards to implement measures to protect students and staff from COVID. It is to be used for cleaning supplies, PPE, hand sanitization and anything else required to protect staff and students.
The federal government has allocated $1,340,850 to Grasslands, which has spent about $830,000, $3,180,100 to Christ the Redeemer Catholic Separate School Division, $1,314,250 to Southern Francophone Education Region, $32,550 to Newell Christian School Society and $10,150 to Brooks Community Enrichment Foundation.