Please find attached below the most recent RCSD Return to School Plan. Our senior administration has been working on this plan throughout the summer. Our original version was based on the Government of Saskatchewan Safe Schools Plan released in early July and referenced in my July 30th letter to staff and stakeholders. In the time since, the spread of the virus in Saskatchewan, particularly the Delta variant, has influenced our Local Medical Health Officer's evaluation of the current health risk assessment and their subsequent Planning Guide for 2021-22 School Year. In addition, the Government of Saskatchewan released Living With COVID: Long-Term COVID-19 Precautions Updated on August 20.
As a result, the attached plan contains safety protocols for all students and staff with the most significant changes designed to protect the personal safety and academic progress of the most vulnerable population, our elementary school students and staff. Largely due to age ineligibility, approximately 80% of our elementary school students are not vaccinated. At the recommendation of our Local Medical Health Officers, our plan requires masks for all students, staff and visitors while inside elementary schools. Elementary school students and staff do not have to wear masks while outdoors.
High School students, staff and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in the school. Approximately 60% of Regina high school students are fully vaccinated as of last week. RCSD will continue to support Public Health in their campaign to achieve an 80% vaccination rate in this population.
While many of us hoped for a return to school as we knew it prior to COVID, the safety protocols in the plan are still necessary to protect our students, staff and families while also prioritizing in-person learning opportunities. Our Local Medical Health Officers' evaluation of last year's school experience has informed this plan and we believe it will be effective in reducing the interruptions to in-person learning.
The plan does allow a return to many of the activities that are essential to school culture and student mental health and well-being. We are committed to supporting our staff as we re-introduce many of these activities while regularly communicating with our health experts to ensure they are conducted in a safe environment. We will also return to the traditional two semester high school schedule.
We recognize many challenges remain. There are obvious disconnects between our mode of operation and that which is currently in place in the province. Our plan will be different than that of many other school divisions as we respond to our local conditions. We believe the staff of Regina Catholic have consistently demonstrated an incredibly professional and empathetic response to the COVID pandemic and it is that same approach which will build the foundation for a successful return to school, regardless of these circumstances.
We will be in regular communication with staff and stakeholders to ensure we are responsive to the evolving landscape in schools and our community. Our ongoing consultations with the Local Medical Health Officers will ensure our plans adjust to the current medical risk assessment to maintain our priority of student and staff health.
RCSD Return to School Plan - September 3, 2021.pdf