COVID-19 Update March 16, 2020

On March 16, 2020, the Pembina Hills School Division superintendent, board chair and senior administration participated in a conference call with other Alberta superintendents and representatives from the Ministry of Education. Pembina Hills continues to take direction from provincial officials.

The meeting focused on how to provide continuity of education for students. Many details are still being discussed. This update will provide you with what we know so far.

We expect to provide updates regularly, as we get new information.

Meanwhile, for this week:

  • Teachers will be gathering together supports and resources in preparation for a different way of providing instruction to students
    • We are working on solutions that can include print or online resources or both.
  • Schools will arrange for materials to be picked up.
    • We have asked schools to create a schedule for how and when students can retrieve resources and personal belongings from schools.
    • Please watch your school’s website for these schedules.
  • You will be asked about the availability of devices and internet connections.
    • Teachers and other school staff will reach out to parents to confirm the ways in which your children can connect to online resources.
    • We intend to identify individuals who need additional or unique assistance. Support may include the distribution of division-owned devices.

Spring Break is scheduled for March 23 to 27. There would have been no classes and no staff on site during next week. We intend to use the next two weeks to develop strategies that align with what other school divisions are doing. We will post information as we have more to share.

Unless the province directs otherwise we believe that learning will resume after spring break, albeit without students attending school buildings.

Other information

  • Alberta Education has declared that Provincial Achievement Tests (grades 6 and 9) are cancelled.
  • At this time, grade 12 Provincial Diploma Exams have not been cancelled. We continue to wait for guidance from the province.
  • The superintendent’s team and school leaders will be discussing support for students with complex needs and at-risk students.
    • We will develop a plan for students to reach School Division counselling staff via telephone and/or video-calls.
  • Grade 12 students may be anxious about completing graduation requirements.
    • We have been assured by the province that students in this situation will be well supported.
    • The details of how course completions will be credited to them is forthcoming.
  • It is too soon to make a decision regarding graduation ceremonies, but based on the guidance from the province, gatherings of large groups are not advised.
    • This decision will be made in due time, and communicated as soon as it’s made.

Mental health and coping
This information is from the Alberta Health Website.
The COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on Albertans’ mental health. Resources are available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs a little extra support.

Help Line
The Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you.

  • Call 1-877-303-2642

Kids help phone

  • Phone  1-800-668-6868
  • Text CONNECT to 686868

Online resources
For helpful advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk to children.

Pembina Hills employees and Board of Trustees are continuing to serve the needs of students and families. We are committed to maintaining accurate and timely information.

We appreciate your patience as we transition into this very different environment.

Please continue to monitor and the Barrhead Composite High School website for updates.

Posted on: March 16th, 2020