Inside Look At COVID-19 Measures Being Taken In Fort McMurray Schools

You’re getting a first-hand look at the measures schools are taking ahead reopening.

The Fort McMurray Catholic School District and Fort McMurray Public School Division are moving forward with a staggered re-entry next week to allow staff and students time to learn the new measures in a stress-free environment.

The first official day where all grades will be present at the same time is September 8.

Mix News was given an opportunity to tour St. Martha School to see some of the measures being taken.

St. Martha staff and FMCSD Administration wearing masks in the front office // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Masks will be mandatory for all staff and students in grades 4 to 12 in all common areas. This includes buses, hallways, and classrooms when social distancing isn’t possible.

Hand sanitizing stations are also being set up in the hallways and inside of each classroom.

A hand sanitizing station that’s been set up inside a classroom // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Hand sanitizer, along with COVID-19 signage, set up in a hallway in St. Martha School // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Schools in both districts have also set up arrows along the hallways to ensure students stay on one side, depending on which way they’re going.

This is expected to help with overcrowding and shuffling throughout the common areas.

A hallway in St. Martha School divided to ensure students can safely move throughout the school // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Signage has been put along the hallways to ensure students know how to navigate them safely // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

One of the biggest changes will be directly in the classroom.

Desks have been separated to ensure students can be as far as possible from each other.

Many classes would previously put the desks in a pair or a group of four.

A St. Martha classroom set up for the first day of school // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Schools will also include a pylon system where students and families will know where they’ll enter and leave school.

Pylons like this will be set up across community schools to help students and families know where they’ll enter and leave the building // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

Measures Around Outbreaks

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided more details on Thursday about possible outbreaks at schools.

They will be declared when at least two individuals, staff or students, test positive within a 14 day period. An outbreak will also be declared when there are at least two cases linked to a school setting.

Despite an outbreak being declared, schools could potentially remain open if the possible exposure was limited and deemed safe by Alberta Health Services.

Staff and families will be notified of each positive case linked to the school.

Hinshaw is also reminding everyone who’s sick to stay home and those who develop symptoms while at school to immediately go home with the school tasked with making sure they’re isolated for the time being.

Families are also encouraged to use the province’s resource guide to get more information about potential outbreaks in schools.

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