IMPORTANT CLARITY REGARDING HOW NEW PROVINCIAL HEALTH RESTRICTIONS IMPACTS HORIZON

Posted on Sep 4, 2021

THIS NEWS UPDATE HAS BEEN SUPERCEDED BY SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 PROVINCIAL STATE OF EMERGENCY, PLEASE REFER TO NEW HEALTH RESTRICTIONS FOR FURTHER CLARITY.

On August 20, 2021, Horizon sent a letter to staff and parents indicating that we would continue to rely on guidance from the Alberta Government, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and local public health officials regarding health measures. We informed individuals that we would continue to work closely with Alberta Health and adjust recommendations when advised to do so. We also committed to communicating what those adjustments would be.

On September 3, 2021 Dr. Hinshaw announced temporary measures to reduce transmission and prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed.

The following provincial measures take effect on September 4th at 8:00am.

 

Provincial Masking Requirements

  • Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces.
  • Employees must mask in all indoor work settings, except in workstations.
  • Schools are not required to implement masking, but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
  • Medical mask exceptions letter, from an authorized health professional will be required for those seeking a medical exemption as per Government of Alberta guidelines.
  • Masks are mandated on all school buses for all students

What this means for Horizon

  • Masking is strongly recommended (but not mandated) for all staff and students in school common areas, or where social distancing is not possible.
  • Masks will be mandatory for all bus students, including kindergarten to gr. 4 students while riding a bus.
  • Masks will be mandatory at Division Office and Maintenance Office, except when staff are in workstations, as they are not included within the “school” exemption.
  • Masks will be mandatory for visitors, including parents, who enter Horizon schools, division office and the maintenance office  as they are entering an indoor public space and are not included within the provincial “school” exemption.

 

Provincial Social Gatherings Restrictions

  • Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts.
  • Unvaccinated Albertans are strongly recommended to limit indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only 2 cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.

What this means for Horizon

  • Schools shall postpone indoor public events (social gatherings with parents and/or the general public).  E.g. “indoor” welcome back BBQs, spectators for “indoor” extra-curricular events, and “indoor” public assemblies and/or events).
    • Outdoor public events may continue, but attendees must comply with provincial health restrictions.
    • Schools may continue with indoor extra-curricular events, but spectators are not allowed at indoor practices, games, or other indoor events.
  • Schools are encouraged to limit indoor school wide student events. E.g. school wide student assemblies).
    • Outdoor school wide student events may continue, but attendees must comply with provincial health restrictions.
  • Parents may continue to access the school building for individual purposes. E.g. dropping their children off, student programming meetings, paying school fees, but must be masked.
  • School and division meetings shall have the option for people to participate virtually. E.g. board meetings, administrator meetings, learning support teacher meetings, staff meetings, professional learning events for staff, school council meetings, parent-teacher meetings.

 

Working from Home Recommendations

  • Employers are recommended to continue work-from-home measures where possible, and to pause or revert plans to have staff return to work.

What this means for Horizon

  • Work from home option is not available while schools are operational. Individuals requesting unpaid leaves to deal with personal matters may contact our human service department

 

Provincial Isolation and Quarantine Requirements

  • Isolation is still legally required for people who have COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive.
  • Quarantine is no longer legally required for close contacts positive cases, unless directed to do so by local public health officials.

What this means for Horizon

  • Individuals (parents, students, and staff) shall continue with daily self screening, and remain home when sick (when they have COVID-19 symptoms) or test positive for COVID.
  • Staff directed to quarantine by public health should use one of the following absence codes ("sick" – if symptomatic/positive, "COVID not sick" – when directed to isolate by a public health official).

 

Additional measures

  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available at schools
  • Schools will continue to encourage good hand hygiene (e.g. washing hands) and good respiratory etiquette (e.g. covering coughs and sneezes)

 

As per the August 20, 2021 letter to parents and staff, should schools see an increase in absence due to illness, Horizon will work with local public health officials and implement additional measures such as mandatory masking and other health requirements as determined by public health.

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