Local Journalism Initiative reporter
Prairie Rose Public Schools have opportunities for safer classrooms and better student experiences during the pandemic on their radar.
After the extended winter break, Prairie Rose Public Schools feel grateful to have returned to in-person learning as of the 10th, said Superintendent Reagan Weeks during the January 11th Board Meeting.
“As it currently stands, we are meeting staffing levels and feel very prepared as a division to respond to the evolving nature of COVID-19,” said Weeks. “And as we continue to adjust and maneuver to ensure that we are simultaneously providing safe learning environments and hopefully as engaging learning environments as possible.”
The growing weariness of both students and staff is a concern in the division, however, as well as ensuring that students are not missing out on opportunities that would be expected for them during their school years despite restrictions.
“It’s been two years now where a lot of the things that students look forward to most have been impacted. So staff across the division are working hard to give students as many possible opportunities as they can,” said Weeks.
With the rise of the Omicron variant there have been questions regarding the probability of the schools remaining open, said Weeks, but she notes that it currently looks like they will have the necessary resources in place to keep both students and staff safe, and the situation within the schools is being monitored closely.
It was also noted that Alberta Health and the province have made the decision to no longer ask schools to report positive COVID cases to their school communities. The division will no longer be posting notices of confirmed cases to their website.
Deputy Superintendent Mark Heinricks noted that the exact percentage of students absent or ill that would be considered alarming may differ from school to school, as “25% in Eagle Butte would be very different from 25% for Jenner.”
Prairie Rose is also presently investigating different options to help improve air quality within the schools, speaking with different companies and colleagues throughout the province to form a recommendation on how to move forward at this time.