Community

Enhanced Ventilation in Schools

JANUARY 22, 2021 – Regina Public Schools announces the completion of an important project that will contribute to the health and safety of all students and employees in all Regina Public schools and buildings.

All Regina Public facilities now have enhanced, new air filtration systems. Announced in October and in the Return to School Parent Handbook, the school division has increased airflow and replaced or updated all ventilation systems in all its schools and buildings.

The newly installed air filtration systems use a technology called “bipolar ionization.” This filtration:

  • Reduces particles and smoke in the air;
  • Kills pathogens (bacteria, viruses, molds) including human influenza viruses, coronavirus and SARS; and
  • Helps control allergens and asthma.

The installation of the air filtration systems was a multi-phase process that began in September 2020. The first phase included installing systems on rooftop units, unit ventilators and furnaces. The second phase, completed in December 2020, included the installation of the large-scale air-handling units on school buildings.

Regina Public Schools staff worked with external contractors to complete the installations. They focused on following all health and safety protocols and minimizing disruption to school staff and students. This complex work involved more than 800 individual installations at schools and school division buildings.

Following a public request for proposals process, the new ventilation systems were funded by Regina Public Schools, with support from Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada pandemic funding.

Improving airflow and filtration in all Regina Public Schools is part of the school division’s three-part safety strategy outlined in its Return to School Plan. This strategy includes mandatory face mask use and physical distancing, where possible; enhanced cleaning protocols; and the increased, filtered ventilation in all schools and buildings. To review the back to school plan please visit this link.

Aboriginal Storytelling Month 2021

JANUARY 21, 2021 -- The Regina Public Library is hosting some fantastic virtual programs for Aboriginal Storytelling Month (February). If you are interested, please sign up on the Regina Public Library website. Contact Wendy Sinclair at wsinclair@reginalibrary.ca if you have any further questions.

Indigenous Storytelling Through Books

https://www.reginalibrary.ca/attend/programs/4832496

Indigenous Storytelling Through Graphic Novels

https://www.reginalibrary.ca/attend/programs/4832501

Indigenous Storytelling Through Puppets

https://www.reginalibrary.ca/attend/programs/4828890

How We Try to Keep You Informed During the Pandemic

January 20, 2021 -- Ever wondered what happens when there is a case of COVID-19 at a school? A lot of work goes on behind the scenes. After the notification from Public Health, it usually begins with school division and school-based administration identifying potential close contacts in the school. This work is done in consultation with and confirmed by Public Health.

What is contact tracing? We are trying to find out where the staff member or student was on the day that they were contagious. Were they in one classroom or several? Did they go throughout the school or stay in one office? How close did they sit or stand to others and for how long?

Once that has been determined, the school division springs into action. This could be during the school day, at night or on weekends or holidays. To keep all employees and families informed, we follow these steps:

  1. We are informed by Public Health.

  2. We call all school staff and inform them of the specifics and what they may need to do.

  3. School staff and division office staff telephone all confirmed close contacts and provide them with the information they need to know. For instance, do they need to quarantine for 14 days? Do they need to self-monitor, etc.? This work is the responsibility of Regina Public Schools staff.

  4. Once close contacts and staff have been called and informed, communication with the school community, the public and the news media is completed.

    • If there is a need to immediately contact all school families for their health and safety, or to announce the closing of a school or program, a recording and a set of text messages will be made and telephoned to the entire school community.

    • In the past, these messages were sent every time there was a case in a school. As of January 2021, these messages will only be used to quickly inform school families if they need to be informed of a change in school attendance or routine.

    • In the event that telephone and/or text messages are made to close-contact students and/or families, the message will clearly identify if it is a close contact call or an information-only call.

    • In every case of COVID-19 at a school, school families will be notified by letter, usually on the same day or by the next school day.

    • Close contacts and affected classes get one letter with instructions for self-isolation or self-monitoring. All school families will receive an informational letter.

  5. If there are any close contacts at a school, following direct communication with those families, the school division will post information on the school’s website.

  6. The school division will then inform Regina-area news media who help inform school families and the public. We are grateful for their support and assistance.

  7. The school division’s Twitter account is also used to inform families, the public and, after business hours and on weekends, the news media.

  8. Usually by the next school day, the school division will inform all school division employees.

There has been a lot of speculation why sometimes schools are closed, why sometimes it is only a classroom and why, at other times, learning continues as normal. It is all about the close contacts. If the individual who has COVID-19 was out of the school while contagious, nothing needs to be done; we just inform school families. If that individual was in one classroom and there were several contacts, we will inform them and follow Public Health direction, but keep the classroom open. If there were many close contacts in one or several classrooms, we may close the classrooms and switch to remote learning for up to 14 days.

Why do whole schools close?

If there are many close contacts and the potential for further infection is possible, or the disruption to learning is too significant, we will close the school and go to temporary remote learning. The other situation may be that many staff members are close contacts and the school cannot operate without an appropriate number of employees.

We can bring in substitute teachers, educational assistants, facilities staff, administrators and even temporary principals. Sometimes, however, the number of close contacts is too large, challenging our ability to operate the school. At those times, the school may close and students would go to temporary remote learning.

Things to keep in mind

You may get a telephone call or text from Regina Public Schools even if you do not have a child in an identified school or any school.  In rare cases, this is an error. Most likely, if you do get called or texted, you have been made an emergency contact by someone else – a relative, a friend or a neighbour. If you get these calls and you are not an emergency contact, please contact your local school or email info@rbe.sk.ca; provide your name and phone number and we will try to fix it.

If you do have a child in a school but do not get informed, then you are not on our parent/guardian contact list and should be. Please call your local school. They can also help get you set up to get text messaging. These messages are important during the pandemic and also when other important information needs to go out, such as an incident at a school or a cancellation in busing.

Regina Public Schools employees are working hard to create a learning and working environment that is as safe as possible for students and staff. We are also striving to keep our school families well informed and prepared, even on weekends and holidays. The process we follow continues to evolve. We appreciate your patience and your ongoing support!

Survey time!

January 14, 2021--Your Board of Education and school division would like to know your thoughts about the recent temporary remote learning in which all students participated, before and after the holiday break.

We are asking parents, guardians, students and employees to participate in a voluntary, anonymous and confidential survey. Deadline for completing the survey is January 29, 2021.

A summary of the survey results will be on the Regina Public Schools website, when available.

Surveys were sent home from all schools on January 14, 2021. The survey link is available here.

Attached here is the letter that went home to school families.

Welcome Back

JANUARY 5, 2021 -- Welcome back to all staff and students. Temporary remote learning has begun for all elementary, high school and eSchool students. Schools will reopen for in-class learning for elementary and high school students on Monday, January 11, 2021.

The school division office is now open for regular business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:25 p.m. Monday to Friday. All visitors to the school division office or to schools are asked to please follow instructions posted on every building entrance, including using the QR code for potential future contact tracing. All visitors must also  wear masks and use the hand sanitizer available at every entrance.

COVID Identified, Parents Called

December 14, 2020 – the Saskatchewan Health Authority informed us that there was one case of COVID-19 in an individual at Ruth Pawson School.

For the safety of students and staff, and in consultation with Public Health, we have informed all close contacts and provided them information about self-isolation.

Information letters will be sent to families on December 15. 

Please remember that remote learning began for all students at Regina Public Schools on December 14 and will continue until December 18th. The scheduled holiday break is from December 21 until January 1, 2021. Remote learning will resume on January 4 and continue until January 8, 2021. In-class learning resumes on January 11, 2021.

If there are any additional close contacts at the school, they will be contacted directly by Public Health. A close contact is someone who has been within two metres (six feet) of someone for a cumulative 15 minutes. 

If any staff, student or school family members show any symptoms, they should please stay home and contact Healthline 811. Symptoms are described here.

For more information about the process Regina Public Schools follows when there is a case of COVID-19 in our schools, please read this on our web site. https://www.reginapublicschools.ca/keep_you_informed

Board Season's Greetings

DECEMBER 11, 2020 -- The Regina Board of Education has made a video wishing all Regina Public Schools employees season’s greetings. When you have a moment, please take the time to view the heartfelt messages from our trustees.

This video is also a great opportunity for parents/caregivers, students and the public to be further introduced to the new Board members. It is worth the watch! Subtitles are included in the video for the benefit of all viewers.

Board Season’s Greetings Video

Beware of Thin Ice Conditions

DECEMBER 8, 2020 -- Even though ice has formed on some water surfaces in Regina, residents are reminded to stay away from all bodies of water, including Wascana Lake and creek/storm channels and detention ponds in residential neighbourhoods.

Throughout the winter season, do not walk, ski, skate or play on any body of water. Parents/caregivers are asked to take a few moments to talk with children about this important safety rule.

If you see people, particularly children, close to thin ice, call Regina Police Service at (306) 777-6500. In an emergency involving people or pets, call 9-1-1.

Temporary Remote Learning Announced

DECEMBER 7, 2020 -- Regina Public Schools is announcing that all schools will move to temporary remote learning. Effective December 14, 2020, all Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in all elementary and high school classes will move from in-class learning to remote learning, and will return to in-class learning on January 11, 2021.

All Regina Public Schools staff will continue to work safely in schools and offices. Teachers and school-based staff will provide ongoing online learning coursework and resources for all students to continue their learning for the weeks of December 14th and January 4th, with the scheduled holiday break taking place from December 21, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

The decision, locally made by Regina Public Schools, to move to remote learning for all students is a proactive intervention to ensure safe continued learning for students, for the health of all student and employee families, and for the ongoing business continuity of the School Division and its schools.

Regina Public Schools hopes to avoid a prolonged move to Level 4 remote learning across the division and in all schools by taking this proactive intervention, by adding one week of remote learning to either side of the scheduled holiday break. Provisions have been made to allow high school students to complete Quint 2 classes before December 18th and for all elementary students to continue their learning during that period.

As of December 7, 2020, Regina Public Schools has seen:

  • 63 student and 26 staff COVID-19 positive cases
  • 39 (out of 57) schools affected
  • 56 classrooms closed
  • 8 elementary schools closed, 1 collegiate closed
  • More than 8,422 employee absence days so far this year (24% more than at this point in a typical year)
  • More than 1,100 employee absence days due to quarantine leave
  • Chronic shortfall of replacement staff due to more employee absences and a reduced pool of available substitute staff
  • Growing anxiety and other mental health challenges to all employees and students

Safe operation of schools requires an appropriate number of adults in the buildings. Teachers, support staff, administrators and facilities staff are all essential to student safety. Increased employee absenteeism due to COVID-19 and our inability to fill those absences is challenging the ability of school staff to keep students safe.

Business continuity is an important element of this proactive intervention. By reducing the number of people in all schools and buildings and allowing for more physical distancing, the fear and anxiety of becoming exposed to COVID-19 at work may be minimized. Taking these temporary measures will ensure that students will continue with uninterrupted learning. Also weighed in the decision were the following key benefits:

  • Teachers and all employees can continue to teach and work without disruption. Currently, the impact of one school-based student or staff member diagnosed with COVID-19 can affect multiple people in a school. This proactive intervention can help ensure that a single case will not disrupt and affect the learning and working of many others.
  • Students can learn from home without the fear of exposure to COVID-19 at school or of exposing others.
  • High school students can complete Quint 2 and be ready for Quint 3 in January.
  • As a measured action to reduce in-school risk, this proactive intervention may allow all schools and buildings to reopen and in-class learning to resume on January 11th.
  • Attempt to reduce possibility of a long-term School Division-wide move to Level 4 described in COVID-19 Response Plan.
  • The School Division will continue to provide supports for vulnerable students, such as community food programs and the provision of devices for students that need them to learn remotely.

The Regina Board of Education supports this move to a proactive intervention. Currently, more than 1,000 families have had to plan, almost overnight, for their children to learn from home when a classroom or school is closed. It is hoped that this plan provides families the peace of mind that students will continue their learning and will not get sick at school or be identified as a close contact and have to be quarantined from their loved ones over the holiday period.

This is a summary of the schedule for all students of Regina Public Schools for Monday, December 14, 2020 to Monday, January 11, 2021:

December 7 to 11, 2020

In-class learning

December 14 to 18, 2020

Remote learning – students will learn from home and staff will work in schools

December 21, 2020 to January 1, 2021

Scheduled December break – no school for students

January 4 to 8, 2021

 

Remote learning – students will learn from home and staff will work in schools

January 11, 2021

In-class learning resumes