Superintendent Update September 14

Hello Foothills Community.  It’s been two weeks since we first welcomed students into our buildings.  Allow me to start by saying thank you.  I understand that this is a year unlike any other, it’s been beyond challenging for our students, parents, and staff.  We have been learning, living, and working under the shadow of a pandemic for over 6 months.  While some uncertainty remains, there is also much success.

Thank you to our school families and the entire FSD team for your efforts in preparing for and welcoming students back to school over the last few weeks.  It is great to have students back in our schools, including our new Hub@Home option.  

Foothills School Division continues to be committed to keeping you informed.  We have an ongoing public engagement opportunity available to answer any questions you may have.  I have sat down and read each one, answering where possible and seeking clarification from public health when not.  I’m committed to keeping this engagement opportunity open for as long as required to ensure that every FSD family feels confident and comfortable with learning in Foothills School Division.

Please know that both Alberta Health Services as well as provincial Occupational Health and Safety inspections are taking place in our schools as of last week.  These inspections provide us valuable information and insight that helps us revise and fine tune our guidance protocols to schools and also supplement our FSD Handbook with additional expertise.  

Please also know that we are actively training new bus drivers to be able to supplement both our active driver as well as our substitute driver lists.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we meet the new provincial safety training requirements.  Our aim is always to ensure that our new drivers have the requisite safety training and skills to transport your children safely across the Division.  This will also allow us to alleviate as much as possible disruptions in bus service moving forward.

A common question we have been receiving thus far is regarding the relaunch of school sports, band, and other extracurricular activities.  This will be challenging.  The Guidance we receive from the provincial government continues to evolve, however I am confident that we can find a solution by once again working together to create exciting opportunities for our students and staff.  We are bringing together staff from across the division to work on planning a safe return for sports, band, musical theatre, music, singing and outdoor events.  The plan would be to have some of these activities reintroduced at the earliest beginning of October.  We also need to review the new guidance documents from Dr. Deena Hinshaw on this topic and incorporate this information into our FSD Handbook for staff and community.

Foothills School Division truly appreciates your efforts as we collectively navigate a safe return to school.  Student success is a partnership and this pandemic has reinforced that relationship.  Working together has made all the difference and will continue to make all the difference moving forward.  Our collective responsibility is the safety and well being of our students, your children.  Thank you for joining us in this collective responsibility, and please let your teacher or school principal know if we can help or support.

Chris Fuzessy, Superintendent of Schools