Division Communication

PARENT SURVEY: The parent survey has now closed.

During the week of Aug. 24, look for communication from your school regarding start-up details for the 2020/2021 school year. 

September 24 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division Board of Trustees has made the decision to continue with the current Pandemic Plan that does not allow extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
This decision was made following a review of the plan and consideration of a number of factors, including the complexity and sustainability of protocols that are in place to ensure health remains the top priority within the plan.
The Board also considered feedback from middle schools and high schools regarding the potential re-entry of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. There was consensus that maintaining the status quo at this time is, overall, in the best interest of students and staff.
The Board will meet again in mid-October to review the Pandemic Plan.

September 17 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division is working to standardize procedures and protocols surrounding when students are sent home from school and when they can return to class.
Alberta Health Services is recommending students with pre-existing or seasonal symptoms get tested for COVID-19, when the symptoms first appear, to help schools determine a baseline for these symptoms. Should a student test negative for COVID-19, and their pre-existing symptoms or seasonal symptoms remain stable, the student will be allowed to return to school.
If those pre-existing or seasonal symptoms WORSEN, or NEW SYMPTOMS develop, students will be sent home and asked to take another COVID-19 test.
If that test comes back negative, the student will be allowed to return to school. Please note your school may request confirmation of that negative COVID-19 test.
Alberta Health Services is now providing COVID-19 test results via text message. It is our understanding that both negative and positive COVID-19 tests should be received within 2-5 days of the initial test. 

September 9 UPDATE:

Alberta Health Services has provided an update on the COVID-19 situation at Chinook High School. Learn more by visiting this link: CHINOOK

September 8 UPDATE:

The Parent Re-entry Plan for the 2020/2021 school year has been updated. Please see the following link to view the plan: RE-ENTRY UPDATE

Lethbridge School Division has created a stay-at-home guide for those wondering if they should keep their child at home due to illness. The guide can be found here: GUIDE

August 25 UPDATE:

The Parent Re-entry Plan for the 2020/2021 school year has been updated to reflect some recent document updates from the Government of Alberta. The changes to the re-entry plan are highlighted in yellow for easy navigation: RE-ENTRY UPDATE

August 24 UPDATE:

Middle schools will stagger student re-entry on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2: MIDDLE SCHOOL

August 19 UPDATE:

Elementary schools will stagger student entry on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. Click on this link to learn more: STAGGERED ENTRY

August 17 UPDATE:
Watch this video for importation information regarding the safety protocols in place for riding the bus for the 2020/2021 school year: BUS VIDEO

August 4 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division has created an updated Parent School Re-Entry Plan. A link to the plan can be found here: RE-ENTRY PLAN

Lethbridge School Division has created a COVID-19 question-and-answer sheet. To view the document, please click on the following link (UPDATED AS OF SEPTEMBER 16): Q AND A

July 31 UPDATE:

Premier Jason Kenney and Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, announced that schools in Alberta would reopen in September under Scenario 1 – Near Normal Operations with Health Measures in place in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, Lethbridge School Division has launched a parent survey to assist in planning for the 2020/2021 school year.
Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Gilmore has drafted a letter to explain the purpose of the survey, and the importance of filling in out by the Aug. 10, 2020 deadline.

The letter can be found here: LETTER

To access the survey, please click on this link: SURVEY

July 23 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division Supt. Dr. Cheryl Gilmore has drafted a parent letter in regards to the Government of Alberta decision to move ahead with Scenario 1 for school opening in the fall. The letter can be found here: LETTER

June 25 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division Superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Gilmore, has drafted a COVID-19 information letter to parents. The letter can be found here: LETTER

Lethbridge School Division has created a 2020/2021 Guidelines and Health and Safety Re-Entry Plan - Parent Guide. To view the document, click on the following link: PARENT GUIDE

June 23 UPDATE:

The results are in from the Lethbridge School Division Parent Survey for the 2020/2021 school year.
In total, 6,588 surveys were completed, as parents were asked questions pertaining to three back-to-school scenarios, as presented by Alberta Health Services and Alberta Education.

To view the summary of the survey results, click here: SURVEY.

June 16 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division is currently in the process of collecting parent feedback to assist the division in planning for all the possibilities surrounding school start up for the 2020/2021 school year.
As it stands, Alberta Education and the Province of Alberta has presented all school divisions with three scenarios – a return to regular operations, blended operations or at-home learning.
As educators, the ideal scenario for Lethbridge School Division would include a full return to normal classes, with teachers in front of students each and every day inside our schools.
Ultimately, however, that decision is up to Alberta Education, the Province of Alberta and the Medical Officer of Health.
Lethbridge School Division, like all school division across the province, must follow direction from the province in terms of how school start up with proceed in the fall.

Access the survey by clicking on the following link: SURVEY.

June 5 UPDATE: 

Over the past 12 weeks students, parents and school staff have been incredibly challenged in the
COVID-19 social context.
There are many families experiencing stressful circumstances that are not within their control. Students, along with their parents and caregivers, are finding themselves in a new learning situation that demands different roles. Teachers and support staff have experienced the steepest learning curve of their careers in the delivery of learning that demanded change within a week.
What we all have in common is the moral imperative to support our children and youth. Supporting students includes consideration of mental and physical well-being and their ongoing growth as learners.
It calls on the entire community to work together to problem-solve and find the best solutions possible in our new circumstance. Parents, students and staff can be applauded for their ongoing efforts, and with the will to put students at the centre of decision-making, the patience to understand mistakes and the recognition that change is swift and inevitable, we can work together to establish structures within which children have the opportunity to thrive.
The Re-entry Plan for Lethbridge School Division is based on assumptions that may change. It is recognized that the lack of clear direction and assuredness for the fall is stressful and unsettling. The Division will do its best to respond to government directives in a timely manner and keep families apprised of direction as it unfolds.

To view the Lethbridge School Division Re-entry Brief, please click on the following link: RE-ENTRY

April 8 UPDATE: 

Lethbridge School Division has cancelled layoff notices for 120 employees.
As the Division continues to adjust to the $1.5 million reduction in funding announced in late March, the decision has been made to cancel layoff notices for a combined 104 educational assistants and advanced educational support staff, along with First Nations Metis and Inuit liaisons and a group of administrative support professionals.
“Our educational assistants fulfill a crucial role in supporting students with complex needs, and the decision to cancel layoff notices for over 91 EAs and nine AES staff will assist schools in ensuring the continuity of learning progresses for all students engaged in the learning-at-home model,” said Lethbridge School Division Superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Gilmore. “These employees are essential for ensuring students have access to the educational resources they require.”
Layoff notices, effective April 30, are still in place for 300 employees throughout the Division, which includes some educational assistants and advanced educational support staff, learning commons facilitators, career practitioners and some administrative support professionals. 
“The Division looks forward to having all employees re-unite with the team when in-school learning is back in place,” said Gilmore.
To keep all staff in the fall, the Division had to make up a $3 million funding shortfall in the November fall budget update. One-time reserve funds and other operational efficiencies were utilized at that time. Reserves are also being built into the 2020/2021 draft budget to cushion the impact of the new funding framework, and maintain as many employees as possible for the 2020/2021 school year.    
As the Division’s transition to student learning at home continues across all levels during the 2019/2020 school year, Gilmore added excellent work is taking place on a daily basis.
“Our staff has been incredibly flexible, committed and are continuing with what needs to get done to serve students in an entirely-different context. I am incredibly proud of the work that is being done across the Division.”

April 3 UPDATE: 

On Saturday, the Government of Alberta announced the temporary reallocation of resources, which shifted funds from education to Alberta’s COVID-19 response.
For Lethbridge School Division, this has amounted to a $1.5 million reduction in funding.
With that in mind, the Division faces the unfortunate task of extending release notifications and announcing temporary layoffs to some staff. Although these adjustments are temporary, they will have a significant impact on the Lethbridge School Division team going forward.
“I want to emphasize the temporary reductions in no way diminish the excellent work these individuals have done, the connection they have made with students or the support they offer to our colleagues, families and school communities,” said Lethbridge School Division Supt. Cheryl Gilmore.
This week, the Division’s transition to student learning at home began across all levels. The Division’s adjustments to funding reductions have been made with the goal of maximizing student learning and supporting the continuity of learning as much as possible.
“We are examining every aspect of our budget, and we will soon have final numbers in terms of staff we are able to retain,” said Gilmore, who added work continues to ensure job losses are as minimal as possible. “We continue to look for cost savings and efficiencies throughout the entire system.”
The Division has given release notices to temporary and casual staff and the regular and continuing staff in these classifications, effective April 30:
- Educational assistants
- Advanced educational assistants
- Learning Commons facilitators
- Career practitioners
- Administrative support
- FNMI liaisons.
Gilmore added several plans were put in place at the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year to mitigate the number of job losses, as the Division utilized $3 million of reserves to maintain current levels of programs, services and supports. The removal of Class Size funding of $5 million and the implementation of a one-year transition fund of $2 million necessitated the use of reserves.
“Our Division made it a priority right from the beginning of this school year to keep staff in place,” said Gilmore. “We are using further reserves moving into the 2020/2021 school year, and to draw on more reserves at this point, to make up for Saturday’s $1.5 million reduction in funding, would have a significant long-term impact on the Division.”
The Division is continuing the process of formalized the 2020-2021 budget, while at the same time preparing for the impact the temporarily staff departures will have on the remainder of the current school year.
“On behalf of Lethbridge School Division, I thank all staff for they have done as a team transitioning to learning at home,” said Gilmore. “Every role contributes to meeting student needs, and I look forward to a full compliment of staff when our conditions change.”

April 1 UPDATE:

Message from Lethbridge School Division Supt. Dr. Cheryl Gilmore

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the world around us, and what we have come to know and appreciate in our own community, including Lethbridge School Division.

Thank you to parents, guardians, students and significant others working hard and providing support in the endeavour of learning from home. I also thank you for your patience. I am incredibly proud of what our staff have accomplished in a very short period of time in the transition from classroom person-to-person teaching to the provision of learning at home. The learning curve is steep for all employees and families, and this week we are in somewhat of a transition phase as staff continue to learn and adjust. I encourage any parents or students experiencing challenges with this learning platform to email or communicate in the platform suggested by the school with teachers directly. I know that all of our staff are open to feedback and want to support students.

Countless families have been impacted in a variety of ways and continue to navigate the challenges day by day. I am grateful for living in a community that is gracious to one another and supportive of individuals and families in need.

On Saturday, the Government of Alberta announced the temporary reallocation of resources, which shifted funds from education to Alberta’s COVID-19 response. The health emergency which has gripped the world continues to have implications close to home.

We face the unfortunate task of extending release notifications and announcing temporary layoffs to some staff. Although these adjustments are temporary, they will have a significant impact on the Lethbridge School Division team going forward.

For the staff members who will be departing mid-month and at the end of the month, your unwavering commitment to students and families is truly valued.

I want to emphasize the temporary reductions in no way diminish the excellent work these individuals have done, the connection they have made with students or the support they offer to our colleagues, families and school communities.

On behalf of Lethbridge School Division, thank you for all you have done, and will do again in the future, for all of our students and families. We look forward to reuniting with each of you soon.

The Division is committed to continuing the work in building structures and providing support to meet the needs of students, with the goal of all students having access to learning.

Dr. Cheryl Gilmore,
Superintendent of Schools,
Lethbridge School Division

March 30 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division, like many other divisions across the province, is concerned about how the temporary cuts to educational funding will impact students and staff.
The Division had assumed the earlier statement from the Government of Alberta, which stated school authorities would receive their full allotment of funding for 2019/2020, was going to hold true.
As such, the Division based its model of student learning at home on this assumption, which included educational assistants as an integral part of the education service provided to students.
The role of EAs, under teacher supervision and planning, was to connect with a breadth of students including students with exceptionalities, English Second Language students, students without technology and other students at risk. The work plans developed for EAs included a variety of responsibilities to ensure that ALL students had access to learning while schools remain closed for students.
All of our support staff to the time to learn about the interactive platform to use with families, and for those without technology, developed a means of communication and access to learning outside of technology.
The Division is concerned about how this government decision will alter the plans many schools had in place to deliver quality education at all levels. Elementary programming will be rolled out today, while high schools began educational delivery last Wednesday. Middle schools hosted trials last week for online delivery, as educational programming will officially begin today.
“Plans for the delivery of education at all three levels were constructed under the assumption schools would have a full complement of staff available to meet the needs of students at all levels,” said Dr. Cheryl Gilmore, superintendent of schools for Lethbridge School Division. “As a result of Saturday’s announcement from the government, some of those plans may have to be altered.”
At this point, the Division does not have exact figures in terms of the number of staff that will be impacted, as the Division is in the process of seeking clarification from the government.
“Lethbridge School Division certainly values all of our employees, and we are very concerned about how this government announcement will impact our educational system, and our staff, for the remainder of the school year,” said Board Chair Clark Bosch. “The Division will do everything possible to support our students and our staff in these difficult times.”

March 26 UPDATES:

Lethbridge School Division Supt. Dr. Cheryl Gilmore has drafted a letter which includes information for parents regarding the delivery of educational programming for elementary, middle school and high school students:

EDUCATIONAL DELIVERY

Safe Work Procedure - Handling Paper and Hand Hygiene

The Division has developed a Safe Work Procedure for staff to follow in regards to handling paper that will be shared with others. The procedure can be found below:

SAFE WORK

March 20 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Gilmore has provided an update to parents, in regards to the delivery of learning for students at home. The letter can be found here: LETTER

March 16 UPDATE:

Lethbridge School Division has provided an update to parents in regards to Sunday's announcement that classes have been cancelled for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. Alberta Education has let school jurisdictions know that the province will be developing and communicating a “base level of service” and school jurisdictions will navigate what the delivery looks like. For more details, please see this letter from Supt. Dr. Cheryl Gilmore: LETTER.