School Directory

COVID-19 Updates

Alberta takes steps to safely return to normal

March 1, 2022

On February 26, 2022 the Alberta government confirmed that the province is moving forward with Step 2 of the staged approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. You can read the announcement here.

As was announced, effective March 1, Step 2 of the staged approach includes:

  • Remaining provincial school requirements (including cohorting) will be removed.
  • Screening prior to youth activities will no longer be required.
  • Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues.
  • Limits on social gatherings will be removed.
  • The provincial mask mandate will be lifted in most settings. However, masking will still be required in high-risk settings, including on public transit, at Alberta Health Services-operated and contracted facilities and all continuing care settings.

Mandatory isolation requirements are still in place and are included in Step 3 of the phased approach. The timing to shift to Step 3 will be determined based on decreasing hospitalization rates.

Masking

The provincial masking mandate is removed in most settings in Step 2. In alignment with Step 2, school authorities are not able to require anyone entering the school to wear a mask, unless in accordance with isolation requirements. Staff and students may choose to continue to wear masks and will be respected and supported.

Cohorting

As part of Step 2, schools in Alberta will not be required to cohort students.  

Isolation

The mandatory requirements to isolate have not changed. Information about isolation requirements is available here. Additional information related to isolation and masking is available in the Guidance for K-12 schools and school buses.

Mandatory isolation requirements will be removed in Step 3 of the phased approach to relaxing COVID-19 measures, and will become a recommendation at that time. 

Vaccine policies

Our school division Administrative Procedure 492: Vaccine Status for employees and school visitors is in abeyance. 

School authorities cannot require parents, volunteers or other non-school employees to show proof of vaccination. Parents, volunteers and other non-school employees are required to follow all provincial health orders and guidelines that are applicable in schools.

View all updated documents here:

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February 9, 2022

Good afternoon MHCBE families, 

Last evening we sent information outlining the Alberta Government’s plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the province. After meetings with legal counsel and Alberta Education representatives, we are able to provide additional information on how the provincial update affects the day-to-day functionality of our schools. 

Effective February 9, 2022:

  • The Restriction Exemption Program is no longer in effect in Alberta. Adults and youth over 12 no longer have to produce proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend games or performances. Therefore, our Division Administrative Procedure 492: COVID-19 Vaccination Status will be paused in totality. Schools will not be checking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • There will be no limits on fans and audiences in school buildings with a capacity under 500 (all of our Catholic schools fall in this category).
  • Masking remains mandatory for all adults entering school buildings until March 1, 2022.

Effective February 14, 2022:

  • Masking is no longer mandatory for K-12 students in school or on buses. Students will not be asked to wear a mask at school. As always, our Catholic schools will continue to offer a supportive environment for anyone who chooses to wear a mask at school. 
  • Masking is still mandatory for all adults who enter school buildings.

Effective March 1, 2022:

  • Masking is no longer required for adults.
  • Cohort requirements are no longer in place, full school events (assemblies etc.) are now permitted. 

In effect until further notice from the Government of Alberta:

  • Staff, students and visitors must continue to complete the Daily Health Checklist each day before entering a school building. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.
  • Isolation and quarantine requirements will continue to be in effect until further notice from the Government of Alberta and Health Officials.

As always, we will continue to follow the guidelines as recommended by The Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Government of Alberta. It is my sincere hope that staff, students and families continue to treat one another with respect and kindness as we continue to move through another unique school year.

 

God bless!

 

Dr. Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

_________________________________

 

February 8, 2022

Good evening MHCBE families, 

This evening at 5:00 p.m. Premier Kenny shared details regarding Alberta’s most recent COVID-19 Public Health Actions. From the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020, Medicine Hat Catholic Schools have continued to follow the guidance and recommendations provided by the Government of Alberta and the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Our school division will continue to follow the recommendations provided by the provincial government. Below you will find updates that affect schools as we move toward reopening Alberta. View the full press release here.

“When it comes to our children, there are many important factors to consider when they attend school,  including seeing the facial expressions of teachers and classmates, having the ability to be animated and joyful, and considering the mental health impacts that come along with public health measures such as masking. I have been encouraged to see a downward trend in the number of Alberta schools shifted to at-home learning over the last few weeks. At the peak of the fifth wave there were 29  schools that were shifted to at-home learning, and today only 7 of the over 2,500+ schools in our province remain learning at home. Effective Monday, February 14, 2022 the masking requirements in CMOH 22-2021 will be removed and as such there will be no masking requirements for any students in schools or on school buses. At this time, masking will still be required for adults including teachers, administrators and other school staff including school bus drivers.” - Education Minister, Adriana LaGrange

Masking: Effective February 13 at 11:59 p.m., masks will no longer be required for students K-12 while attending school or while riding the school bus. As always, our Catholic schools will continue to offer a supportive environment for anyone who chooses to wear a mask at school. At this time, masking will still be required for adults including teachers, administrators and other school staff including school bus drivers.

Cohorting and large school gatherings: Effective March 1, 2022, large school gatherings such as assemblies will be permitted. Details will be shared in the coming days.

Division Vaccine Administrative Procedure: School Divisions are not considered to be part of the Restriction Exemption Program. In the fall of 2021, the Minister of Education and Minister of Health sent a joint letter asking School Divisions across Alberta to encourage proof of vaccination policies for adults in schools. Shortly after, our COVID-19 AP 492 was developed and implemented.

School Divisions are currently awaiting approval from The Minister of Education to retract COVID-19 Vaccine Policies. AP 492 will continue to be in effect across the division until further notice. Information regarding our division Vaccine Administrative Procedure will be shared in the coming days. 

Daily Health Checklist & Isolation: The Daily Health Checklist is still in place across Alberta. We ask that staff and students continue to screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist and isolate if they are feeling ill or test positive for COVID-19.

School cleaning/sanitization continues: High-touch surfaces will continue to be cleaned throughout the school day.

Hand washing and sanitizing: Staff and students continue to practice good hygiene habits including regular handwashing and use of the hand sanitizer stations at the entry of the school buildings and outside of each classroom.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this pandemic. 

God Bless!

Dr. Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

Return to Class Q&A

January 7, 2022

As announced earlier this week, students will return to in-person learning on Monday, January 10, 2022 with the added safety of access to rapid tests and medical-grade masks. The Government of Alberta is providing at-home rapid test kits and medical-grade masks for use by students and staff members. These are expected to start arriving in school divisions next week. It’s highly recommended students wear medical-grade masks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Click here to view the full announcement.

Here are a few highlights and best practices as we prepare for a safe return to class next week:

  • Staff and students must continue to review the Alberta Health Daily Checklist with their children before sending them to school.
  • Masking is mandatory for students in grades 4 and up, including staff and teachers in all grades. Masks are required on school buses. Masks are recommended for students attending kindergarten to Grade 3. Please send your child to school with a mask each morning.
  • Regular hand washing and sanitizing will continue in our schools. Staff and students are asked to set aside intentional time to wash and sanitize their hands regularly throughout the school day.
  • At-home rapid tests will be distributed by your child’s school.  A box of 5 will be sent home with each student and staff member (expected mid-January). Please note: Rapid tests are optional and are to be administered at home.
  • Masks will be distributed by each school at their discretion. Schools may choose to keep masks to distribute to students at school. 

We understand families may have additional questions regarding school re-entry next week, we have prepared a short Q&A that you will find here. It is our hope that this document will help families better understand the changes moving forward. Please note, this document may require updates/changes as early as next week as school divisions await the formal guidelines from the Government of Alberta. Once the updated guidelines have been shared with school divisions, more information will be shared with staff and families (including an updated Q&A document).

We ask for patience as we adjust to these new operational guidelines and prepare additional communications for families. Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation.

God bless! 


Dr. Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

December 31, 2021

Dear parents/guardians, 

As you may be aware, yesterday the Government of Alberta announced an extended winter break extended for K-12 students across the province. The kindergarten to Grade 12 winter break will be extended provincewide to January 10. Click here for the full press release. 

In an effort to keep our families as informed as possible, we have a few details we are able to share at this time. 

  • MHCBE Early Learning Programs are included in the extended winter break and will return to class on January 10.
  • January diploma exams have been cancelled. A decision will be made later in 2022 regarding April and June diploma exams.
  • Alberta Health and Municipal Affairs’ PPE Task Force will also deliver 8.6 million rapid tests and 16.5 million masks to schools, starting the week of January 10. Please note: rapid tests will not be administered at school, they will be sent home for parents to administer to their children if they choose to do so.

It is our hope that we will all safely return to in-person learning on Monday, January 10. Division updates will continue to be shared with staff and families as information becomes available.

Thank you for your continued support. Wishing our families a safe and Happy New Year!

 

Dr. Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

October 10, 2021

 

At the Public Board Meeting on October 12, the Board of Trustees passed a motion directing our senior administration team to develop an Administrative Procedure (AP) regarding COVID-19 vaccines related to school staff and visitors entering division buildings.

This Administrative Procedure requires all adults who enter division buildings to provide their COVID-19 vaccination record or present proof of a negative COVID-19 test. This includes (but not limited to): division employees, contractors, practicum students, on-site partners, volunteers, parents, guardians and members of the public including school bus drivers. Effective December 13, 2021.

This action aligns with the guidance of Alberta Health, Health Canada, the Ministers of Health and Education and Legal Counsel. All division stakeholders are asked to review this new procedure. 

Administrative Procedure 492: COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Effective December 13, 2021:

  • All adults entering division buildings must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination OR proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • When visitors enter the school building a staff member at the front office will verify their vaccination status by scanning their QR code.
  • If not fully vaccinated by December 13, 2021, the adult requesting entry must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen screening test or PCR test completed no more than 72 hours prior to the time they are entering the division building.
  • This procedure applies to all sporting events, tournaments, concerts and extracurricular events hosted inside any Medicine Hat Catholic school division building.

This Administrative Procedure does not apply to division students. 

 

October 7, 2021

 

Dear parents and guardians, 

On October 5, the Alberta Government indicated that school divisions will now be taking part in a COVID-19 tracing process now known as "Contact Notification". This process will begin next week across the province. While similar to last year's contact tracing, there are a few very key differences that families need to be aware of.

Parents/guardians will now be notified directly if their child has been exposed to a COVID-19 case who was present at school while infectious. This may include in their classroom, on the school bus or during a school-related activity (club/sports/ out of school care). Contact notification letters will be sent to parents/guardians via email From: communications@mhcbe.ab.ca Subject: School Contact Notification.

Parents/guardians can expect a contact notification:

  • Each time a new positive case of COVID-19 is identified in a classroom, parents/guardians will be sent a notification letter. Children may continue in-person learning. 
  • If a case of COVID-19 has been identified on a school bus or during a school-based extracurricular (team/club/out of school care), you will also receive a notification letter. Children may continue in-person learning. 
  • If a school has 10 or more cases in a 14 day period, they will transition to outbreak status. All school parents/guardians will receive a notification letter. Children may continue in-person learning. 
  • Grades K-6 ONLY: If three positive cases of COVID-19 are identified in a classroom during a five-day period, the class will transition to at-home learning for 10 calendar days. 

Helpful links:

It is our hope that the information provided answers any questions you may have at this time, please contact your child’s school for further clarification if needed.

Thank you all once again for your patience as we adapt our approach.

God bless!


Dr. Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

Close Contact Notification Process

October 5, 2021

At 3:30 p.m. the Government of Alberta announced that a COVID-19 close contact notification process will be implemented in school divisions across the province beginning next week.

Full update here: https://youtu.be/Nk4WymjZ2cA  

We are aware that families may have questions regarding the impacts of this announcement. Our senior administration team is working closely with Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services to learn more about the updated COVID-19 notification process. We will share information with staff and families as soon as a formal process has been developed. Our school division will continue to share COVID-19 updates on our division social media and division website.

We thank you once again for your continued support and patience as we navigate this change in direction.

Staying safe and healthy this school year

COVID-19 Provincial Update

The Government of Alberta declared a state of public health emergency. This evening, several enhanced public health actions were put into place to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 across the province.

Government of Alberta enhanced measures for schools:

  • Mandatory masking for students in Grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.
  • Elementary schools to implement class cohorting.
  • Indoor sports, fitness, recreation, and performance activities are permitted in schools, with requirements to maintain 2 metre physical distancing where possible.
    • Masks and distancing are not required by youth under 18 while engaged in physical activity.
    • Spectator attendance restricted to 1/3 fire code capacity and limited to households or 2 close contacts for those living alone. Attendees must be masked and distanced. 

Effective tomorrow (Sept. 16), masks will be mandatory for all students grades 4-12 and all division staff members. We kindly ask that parents/guardians send their children (grades 4-12) to school with a clean mask tomorrow.

While enhanced measures are in place, masks will be required in:

  • Shared spaces
  • Classrooms when students are not sitting at their own desk
  • All indoor areas where physical distancing is not possible

We are pleased to be able to continue to provide in-class learning for the incredible students in our division. I want to take a moment to thank you all, for the constant support as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances. As always, we will continue to provide updates to families in a timely manner. 

 

God bless,

Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

Helpful links:

Enhanced Safety Measures in Schools - Sept. 10, 2021

Cases of COVID-19 and respiratory illness are visible in our city and increasing. These cases are now being identified in schools as we begin the new school year. As we begin a new school year with new staff, new families, and new health measures in place, we believe it is important to address the changes to the COVID-19 contact tracing process as well as the measures put in place to keep staff and students safe at school.

Contact Tracing

As of July 29, 2021, Alberta Health Services is no longer required to notify school divisions when a positive case of COVID-19 is connected to a school. This means, our COVID-19 contact tracing procedure has changed as we enter the new school year. If a case of COVID-19 is identified in your child’s school, an initial letter will be sent by your school principal. A page has been developed on our division website to identify schools with active cases. 

In an effort to help staff and families better understand the updated contact tracing process, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions

Enhanced Safety Measures effective Monday, September 13

Currently, our schools have several health and safety best practices that are followed daily, in an effort to limit the spread of illness in schools, the Board of Trustees has made a motion to put enhanced measures in place beginning on Monday, September 13.

  • Masking is strongly recommended (but not mandated) for all staff and students in common areas or where they cannot physically distance.
  • Masking is mandatory for all students riding a bus.
  • All visitors, including central office staff, are required to mask when they enter any school in the jurisdiction for any reason.
  • Each school will now have an atomizer which is capable of completely sanitizing a classroom in approximately ten minutes. This will allow schools to sanitize a classroom very quickly during the school day if needed.
  • Schools are to suspend large indoor gatherings of students. E.g. A school-wide assembly in the gymnasium. Outdoor school-wide events may continue.
  • Students participating in activities in public venues during the school day must follow all health guidelines for public spaces.
  • Regular hand washing and sanitizing will continue in schools.
  • Schools will continue to encourage good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • As of July 29, 2021, Alberta Health Services is no longer notifying school divisions when a positive case is connected to a school. Our school division will notify parents upon the first occurrence of COVID-19 in their child’s school. The division will maintain school-specific information on our website after the initial case has been identified.

Medicine Hat Catholic Schools continue to: 

  • Remind families to screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist and isolate if they have core symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
  • Ask that staff and students stay home if they are feeling sick
  • Offer a supportive environment for anyone who chooses to wear a mask at school
  • Deep clean schools each evening and disinfect high touch surfaces throughout the school day
  • Promote regular handwashing and sanitizing among staff and students
  • Support physical distancing

We strongly believe in supporting a comprehensive approach to mental health and wellness that includes nutrition, exercise and our faith. Our school division continues to work with local public health officials and implement additional measures such as mandatory masking and other health requirements as determined by public health.

We thank you all for your support and understanding.

God bless,


Dwayne Zarichny
Superintendent of Schools
Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education

Preparing for the 2021-2022 School Year

August 13, 2021

As announced by the Government of Alberta earlier today, students across the province will return to school this fall with minimal restrictions. In addition, classroom and school activities such as sports and extracurricular activities will now be permitted. 

MHCBE is committed to keeping staff, students and families safe as we return to in-class learning. Here are a few best practices we will continue in our schools during the 2021-2022 school year:

  • We ask that staff and students screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist and isolate if they have core symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
  • Staff and students will not be required to wear masks in school buildings at this time, but our schools will continue to offer a supportive environment for anyone who chooses to wear a mask at school.
  • Masking will be permitted for all students riding the school bus until September 27, as per Government direction.
  • School busses will continue using seating plans in order to limit contact on the school bus. All school buses will be disinfected daily.
  • Regular hand washing will continue to be implemented at each school and schools will continue using their hand sanitizer stations at the entry of the building and outside of each classroom.
  • All school buildings will be deep cleaned each night and high touch services cleaned throughout the school day.

It is our hope that students and families are comfortable and eager to return to the classroom with the proper health measures in place. Detailed information regarding return to school will be shared families in a letter from the Superintendent of Schools early next week. 

Helpful Links:

COVID Return to School Update

July 1, 2020

The Government of Alberta has announced that all schools will be able to resume in the fall 'near normal' with minimal restrictions in place. As more information becomes available to us over the summer, we will update parents with any changes or new requirements. Current details regarding guidance and health measures for schools can be found here: 2021-2022 School Year Plan

Daily Health Checklist Updated July 5, 2021

Isolation and Quarantine Requirements for Vaccinated Albertans

With more and more Albertans eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, now including children ages 12 and up, we are seeing a change in close contact isolation requirements. Please read the information below regarding isolation requirements for vaccinated Albertans. Any further questions should be health with through Alberta Health Services directly by calling 8-1-1. 

Learn more: Government of Alberta Isolation and Quarantine requirements

Isolation and quarantine requirements for vaccinated Albertans (May 31, 2021):

If you are fully-vaccinated* and are exposed to a COVID-19 case:

  • If you have no symptoms, you are not required to quarantine.
  • If you do have symptoms, you must isolate for 10 days and should get tested – your isolation can end early if you test negative.

If you are partially vaccinated* and are exposed to a COVID-19 case:

  • If you have no symptoms, you must quarantine for 10 days and should get tested.
    • Your quarantine can end early if you test negative on day 7 or later.
    • If you test negative before day 7, you must remain in quarantine and need a second negative test on day 7 or later to end quarantine.
  • If you do have symptoms, you must isolate and should get tested.
    • If you test negative before day 7, you must continue to quarantine (10 days total from exposure date).
    • If you test negative on day 7 or later and your symptoms have resolved, your quarantine can end.

*You are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving both doses in a 2-dose vaccine series, or 1 dose in a 1 dose vaccine series.
You are considered partially vaccinated 14 days after receiving the first dose in a 2-dose vaccine series.

 

We want our families to know that we are committed to following all guidelines and directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services, and Alberta Education to ensure our school facilities continue to be a safe place for learning.

We want to thank you for the continued support of your child’s school administration, teachers and staff members. With patience, grace and positivity, we will all learn and adapt to these new procedures and grow stronger as a school community, together.

Division COVID-19 cases