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Back to School Information - CLES Frequently Asked Questions

Mrs. Wheeler is excited to teach Grade 3 students again this year!

*Updated Oct. 8, 2020


As we begin the 2020-21 school year we realize that in-person schooling is going to look very different.  Many parents have questions about what school will look like and how it will operate.  The following FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document is designed to help communicate information to you and hopefully give you a picture of what CLES will look like as we enter these very different times. Please note that this Re-Entry Plan will be updated if required based on changes we need to make at CLES due to updates from Alberta Education, or due to something we as a school have to change to work more effectively.

The staff of Cold Lake Elementary School will be doing everything possible to ensure the safety of your child.  If, after reading this document, you have some questions or concerns please call Cold Lake Elementary school at 780-639-3107 and Mrs. McKale, Mrs. Ogrodiuk-Whaley, or our office Admin Assistants would be more than happy to talk with you! 


How is the school kept clean right now?

  • Northern Lights Public Schools has hired additional staff to ensure that there are custodial staff at the school all day long.  
  • Custodial staff will be cleaning all high touch surfaces more frequently.  This includes but is not limited to: door handles, water fountains, toilets and sinks.  
  • Our school ventilation system will be running continuously to enhance air circulation.
  • Difficult to clean items such as classroom rugs and soft furnishings and certain toys (i.e. stuffed animals) have been removed.
  • Staff will also be assisting with regular sanitizing of center toys, gym equipment, etc. 


What time does school start and end?

  • 8:30 is when CLES school starts; our day ends at 3:15 but we are starting a process of Home time Staggered Pick up, where parents can pick students up early (see more info on Home Time below).


Before leaving for school in the morning, what should I do?

  • Before students leave for school, families are reminded to complete the daily self assessment to ensure each family member is healthy.  If your child is not well please do not come to school.  Students that exhibit COVID symptoms at school, will be sent home. 
  • If your child is exhibiting ONE (1) symptom or more on the checklist, DO NOT send them to school.  Please make sure your child is healthy before coming to school.    COVID-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist (For Children Under 18)

Where does my child go when arriving at school?

  • At 8:15am when bus students begin to arrive, they will go directly to their Purple, Yellow, Green, Blue or Red entrance doors where a supervisor will greet them, give them hand sanitizer, and allow them into the school by cohort.  Students will then go directly to their classrooms. 
  • Students who are dropped off by parents are asked to arrive here at 8:30am (as usual). We appreciate parents dropping students off to school no earlier than 8:30 since this helps us to maintain a safe flow of traffic outside and in our hallways with the bus students who arrive earlier.  Students who are dropped off, go to their assigned entrance door for hand sanitizer, and once inside they go directly to their classrooms. (There may still be a small wait time for students lined up outside...we are estimating a couple minutes.) Parents, please continue to use the parent drop off parking lot or east road, not the bus lane.
  • At 8:15-8:35 teachers will be at their classroom doors greeting their students.  To avoid hallway congestion and maintain physical distancing, students will enter their class with all belongings as they are not stopping at their lockers in the a.m. (Teachers will dismiss students in a staggered fashion to place their belongings in the hallway lockers eventually each morning).
  • All doors (except the front) will be locked at 8:40 as usual, and late students can enter through the front door, letting our Admin Assistants know they are here.

We are so proud of our students for showing patience and responsibility with COVID safety routines like waiting to enter the building safely, washing their hands repeatedly, physically distancing and wearing their masks in grade 4. Our priority is to make our school and procedures safe for all our students and staff; we look forward to using this new entrance routine starting Monday, Nov. 2.


For inside days (i.e. it's raining), where does my child go when they get to school?

  • On cold/rainy days (inside days) the students come in through their assigned doors and go straight to their classrooms when they get to school. For safety, supervisors will limit the kiddos in the boot rooms to avoid congestion so some students may be standing for a couple minutes outside with staff waiting to go in - umbrellas and warm jackets will definitely be recommended for students and staff on these days!:)

Can I enter the building when dropping off my child for school, especially on the first day?

  •  Due to COVID safety procedures and precautions, CLES parents are strongly encouraged to stay outside the school unless special arrangements or appointments have been made between parents and the teacher ahead of time.   This helps us keep the students and staff safe, which is our number one priority.
  • We realize that this will be very difficult for parents who would like to walk their children to class and for children who are feeling anxious about their first day. We encourage you to talk to your child’s teacher to discuss any extenuating circumstances that we may not be aware of. We are well prepared to assist your child and ensure they have a great start to their year.


What is the protocol for parents coming into CLES?

  • If parents wish to speak with a staff member in person at CLES, we encourage parents to arrange an appointment with us beforehand by calling the office or speaking to the teacher. 
  • Before entering the school, all visitors are required to complete the AHS COVID assessment document. If they answer YES to any of the questions, they should not proceed into the school. All adults must put on a mask BEFORE entering the school. Once inside, visitors will be required to hand sanitize and sign in.
  • We ask that all parents and visitors to the school please use the front entrance. 
  • Parents will only be allowed in the office area of the school to drop items off for your child at the office and we will ensure that they are given to them.  If you need to talk to your child we will call the child to the office so you can talk to them. 
  • For safety reasons at this time, we recommend that younger siblings do not enter the building with parents. *If picking up a child for an appointment or dropping off an item, and it’s impossible NOT to bring a younger sibling along, please let us know about this ahead of time by calling the school or teacher, and we can walk your child outside the front entrance to meet you. (780-639-3107)
  • At this time, no outside groups will be allowed to use the school after hours.  This is to ensure that our custodial staff can work to clean and sanitize the school and have it ready for the next school day.


Can I drop off my child before 8:30 to play on the playground before school?

  • Due to COVID safety protocols such as physical distancing, avoiding congestion, hand sanitizing, and staying in cohorts - a big change to our schedule is that we will not be able to open up our playground in the mornings for all 400+ students - the playground will be closed before school. Buses will arrive between 8:15-8:30, but to help us stagger the arrival of students and eliminate congestion our drop off time is 8:30 for parents bringing children to school.
  • We understand this poses a challenge for parking in our 'Pick Up/Drop Off' parking lot, so we'll be encouraging parents to also park on 16th Ave (in front of the “Emma’s Store”) or on 8th St. (along the east side of the school).  For the safety of our precious students, PLEASE DO NOT park in the bus lane or staff parking lot.  

Where does my child go when late after 8:40?

  • Teachers will head into the school with their homeroom class or cohort at 8:35. When students arrive after that the outside entrance doors will be open until 8:40.  
  • The outside entrance doors (red, yellow, green, blue) will be locked at 8:40. A supervisor will circulate the school 2 times after that to ensure there are no students waiting outside at locked doors.  Students dropped off after 8:40 can go through the front entrance doors. Once inside the school, there is a door to enter the office, and it is locked. Parents/students need to ring the door bell and we will open it immediately.

What should I label this year for my child? 

  • Students cannot share any supplies. 
  • Please ensure EVERY item belonging to your child (supplies and clothing) are labelled clearly with your child's name. This includes: mask(s), water bottles, school supplies, back pack, lunch kit, outerwear and footwear, since there cannot be a "Lost and Found" at CLES right now. 
  • *Students often take off their sweaters during gym class then leave them there accidently, so we’d recommend that parents please label sweaters also.

Can my child use the school water fountains?

  • Our water fountains are sanitized repeatedly throughout the day by our full time custodian.  However, we encourage your child to have a labelled water bottle to use at school, which they can refill at our various water-filling stations. If you have not, please send a water bottle to school with your child. 


Will my child be in a homeroom all day? 

  • Students will remain as a home room group with the teacher for most instruction, except for times like gym and library when they will join another class, thus becoming a cohort with this class. These two classes together will be a cohort for library and gym. There may be a whole grade level cohort for recesses, since students can spread out more easily outside.
  • There may be times when the other teacher from the cohort class instructs your child's class. Our Music teacher and Librarian, along with the Gym teacher and certain support staff EAs will also become part of your child's cohort.  For safety reasons, your child’s cohort will help limit the amount of students mixing together during learning and recess times. Students will use proper hand hygiene before entering or exiting these spaces and staff will carefully supervise students during transition times.
  •  If children receive any small group intervention from a staff member, groups of students working together will be from the same cohort joined by the same intervention teacher. 

What does snack and lunch time look like?

  • There is NO sharing between students of Food or Drink.
  • Students and staff will wash/sanitize their hands before and after snack breaks and lunch time.
  • Students need to bring their own water bottle to use.  These can be refilled at the water filling stations at the school.
  • Students will eat snacks and lunch in their classrooms. 
  • We are no longer allowing microwaves in classrooms at CLES - students can bring warm food in a thermos instead.  
  • We are not recycling at CLES at this time, students can bring their recycling home.


How will students maintain proper hand hygiene at CLES?

  • Every classroom at CLES has a sink, hand soap and individual paper towel/napkins.
  • Students will be expected to wash their hands continually throughout the day using class and bathroom sinks.
  • There will be hand sanitizer at each exit/entrance and at each classroom entrance.  Students MUST use the hand sanitizer every time they enter or exit the classroom or another place in the school i.e. gym & learning commons.  The teachers will do the same.
  • Hand sanitizer is located at the entrances to the Learning Commons, Gym and Main Office.


How will students physically distance at CLES?

  • CLES students and staff will physically distance as much as possible.
  • Teachers will set up their classrooms to facilitate as much social distancing as possible.
  • There will be NO large, whole school assemblies or gatherings in common areas at this time.
  • Posters have been posted throughout the school to remind students and staff to physically distance, to not share food or items, and to hand wash and sanitize regularly. We also have directional floor arrows and physical distancing floor stickers throughout the school. 
  • Recesses and lunch times will be staggered to avoid congestion.


How will recess look at CLES? 

  • Playground play before school at 8:30 will no longer take place.
  • Student cohorts will have designated playgrounds at recess and cannot play on different playgrounds for now.
  • Students and staff will wash/sanitize their hands before outdoor recess and after recess when reentering the building.
  • Teachers will have a snack break every morning scheduled for their own class, and may take children outside in the morning to play in their designated playground area. 
  • Due to our high student population of roughly 400+ students, we will need to stagger lunch and recess times to avoid congestion in our hallways and playground. This means different cohorts of students will play outside at different times.
  • Students will receive 30 mins of lunch time, and 30 mins of lunch recess, not necessarily in that order, between 11:30-12:30. Your child’s teacher will let you know the schedule soon. We will have a supervisor in each classroom while students eat lunch, with supervisors in hallways during lunch monitoring students properly distancing while walking to/from washrooms while ensuring students are using proper hand hygiene before exiting their class, and after using the washroom. 
  • We will have a supervisor inside the school at recess to help students who, for various reasons, may not be able to play outside ie. injuries, etc. 
  • For grades 2-4 students needing bathroom breaks during recesses, they will enter our Blue south Heartly door where a supervisor will assist them to enter the building safely using hand sanitizer. Another supervisor will escort students to the bathroom and ensure proper hand hygiene was used afterwards and before heading out to the playground again. This will be the same process for the Kindergarten and Grade 1 students and supervisors with the Yellow east door for recess bathroom breaks. 
  • Grade 4 students are required to wear masks during recess since there will be many students around and physical distancing may be more challenging.
  • All staff will wear masks during recess supervision.


Will there be Gym class this year?

  • Yes, gym classes will take place with one class or two classes (the cohort) in the gym but as much as possible, gym class will be outside on the front or back fields, or on the cohort’s designated playground. 
  • For gym, Grade 4 students may remove their masks.


Is there Music class this year?

  • Yes, Mrs. Pedersen will teach Music to all CLES students and visit each homeroom classroom weekly, practicing proper hand hygiene before entering and exiting each class. 
  • Music lessons will emphasize music appreciation, rhythm and beat. Some instruments will be hand made so each child has their own instrument that doesn’t get shared. Wind instruments will not be used and there will be no singing by students or staff.


What does home time look like?

  • Please arrive no later than 3:30 to pick up your child.
  • CLES staff will arrange for some grade levels to line up with supervisors before 3:15 to allow for a staggered exit with limited congestion of students leaving the building. 
  • All students and staff will wash/sanitize their hands before leaving the school at home time.
  • At the end of the day, in staggered fashion physically distanced from one another, students will be escorted by a staff member out of the building.
  • Students will either line up for buses, walk home or be picked up by a parent or guardian at the parent pick up/drop off spot outside on the west side of the school. After school, Out of School Care students will meet in the Learning Commons. For Happy House after school care students, they will meet up with the daycare staff outside the south of the school, near the gym door.
  • For parents picking up child/ren, students will be socially distanced outside lined up by cohorts at the parent pick up/drop off (next to the CARE to Learn Preschool on the West side of the school). 
  • As always, for safety precautions, students cannot walk independently to your parked vehicle. We ask that parents please pick up students by 3:30, at the parent pick up area and walk your child/ren to your vehicle, maintaining physical distance with other families.  For COVID safety precautions, parents cannot come into the school at home time to pick up a student. 
  • We understand that due to inclement weather, this plan may change. For instance, if pouring rain, we would have to keep students inside classroom cohorts, and your child would be called down to the pick up door one at a time to meet you outside.
  • Bus students are encouraged to wear masks, and will physically distance in the line up, while waiting for their bus. 
  • If a child misses the bus, they will wait in the office and a parent will be called; please note that when picking up your child who missed the bus, you will need to enter the front entrance, go through the screening process, wear a mask, hand sanitize, and sign in/out unless we can arrange for you to meet your student outside the school front entrance.
  • Teachers will want to know how your child is getting home (i.e. bus, pick up, out of school care, walking).  If you have not spoken to the teacher before the first day of school to let them know, you can call the office on the first day of school (780-639-4371) or write a note for your child's teacher.

What does "Staggered Home time Pick-Up" look like this year?

  • We had a wonderful first week with the students back at school, and we are especially proud of them for implementing our new safety practices in and around the school. In our efforts to keep the students properly distanced and eliminate congestion in the hallways and boot rooms at home time, we have come up with a Staggered Pick Up plan to help our 400+ students leave the school in a safe and timely way.  This year there are MORE students being picked up by parents, and so our new plan also aims to eliminate congestion of vehicles in the parking lot and reduce the number of parents who are lined up waiting. 
  • Teachers will have their students at 'Parent Pick Up' waiting area at the following times, starting Tuesday, September 8: 

Kindergarten Students - 2:45p.m.

Grade One Students -  2:55p.m.

Grade Two & Three Students - 3:05p.m.

Grade Four Students - 3:15p.m.

*Students walking home will be dismissed at 3:15*


  • Picking up Siblings During Staggered Pick Up Time: We realize that some parents may have to wait for their older child to come out later than their younger child/ren, but for now this is the best and safest option for us with such a high volume of students. If you'd like your older child to meet up with your younger child/ren for an earlier dismissal time, please reach out to your children's teachers, and something can be arranged. Keep in mind that Grade Four students have gym time at the end of the day: 4M/4T gym ends at 2:45, and 4R/4B gym ends at 3:15.  Another option for parents with siblings is you may want to pick up your younger child early, then wait until your older child comes out afterwards. 
  • Waiting For Your Child At Parent Pick Up Time: Again, we appreciate everyone's patience as we find the safest, most efficient process for our students leaving the school at home time. We realize that many parents have had to wait in a long line up while the supervisors find your child and bring them to you. We will continue this process, asking parents to line up on the sidewalk nearest to the west fence by the Care To Learn preschool. Supervisor 'runners' will approach the fence, ask you for your child's name and grade, find your child and then bring your child to you.  We encourage all parents/guardians picking up their children to physically distance with other parents and children, and to please wear masks, if you are able. 
  • We hope this new Staggered Pick Up schedule works well, and we thank you for your cooperation.  Adjustments to this plan will be made if necessary and we will be sure to communicate any changes to parents beforehand. If you have any questions, please call the school 8:00am-4:00pm on weekdays, or you can email us at:  Our website is also a great source of info, so we encourage parents to check our website regularly.


What is the protocol for masks at CLES?

  • Students in Grade 4 will be required to wear a mask at all times when they are riding the bus, walking in hallways, in their classrooms, at recess and when they are unable to physically distance. Gr. 4 students can take off their mask during gym class.
  • Removal of Grade 4 student masks is at the teacher's discretion.
  • A breathable bag (i.e. brown paper bag) is recommended for students to store their masks when they have the intention of putting them back on (i.e. after they eat). We have brown paper bags for all students the first week of school. Teachers may ask parents to supply more, or something similar, throughout the year.
  • The use of masks is optional for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.  However, students in these grades will be encouraged to wear them at CLES if they are able to and where possible, including on the bus.
  • Every CLES student will be given 2 masks. Extra masks for students will be available during the day and on the bus.
  • All staff will be wearing a mask at CLES. If students are all seated and the teacher is in a designated area at the front of the class with at least 2 metres of physical distance from the closest student, teachers may remove their mask to teach. 


What if my Grade 4 child cannot wear a mask?

  • Exemptions for masks will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear masks due to medical or other reasons, such as:

-Persons who are unable to place, use or remove a non-medical face

mask without assistance;

-Persons unable to wear a non-medical face mask due to a mental or

physical concern or limitation;

-Persons consuming food or drink in designated areas;

-Persons engaged in physical exercise;

-Persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability

where a non-medical face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance;

-Persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of

the non-medical face mask…


What do I need to know ahead of time regarding COVID and sending my child to school safely?

  • Before students leave for school families are reminded to complete the daily self assessment to ensure you are healthy. 
  • Staff members, parents, and children/students are not allowed to enter the school if they have (1) or more symptoms from the COVID-19 checklist. 
  • COVID-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist (For Children Under 18)


What are the isolation requirements for pre-existing conditions?

  • All pre-existing illness or health conditions must be reported to the school prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • If a student with pre-existing illness or health conditions is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 they will be required not to come to school until they have been tested for COVID-19 and received a negative test result.
  • If the result is negative, the student can return to school and does not need to isolate unless the symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop. 

What if my child develops symptoms while at school?

  • If a student develops symptoms while at the school, they will be asked to wear a non-medical mask if they are able to, and be isolated in a separate room. School staff may utilize non-touch thermometers when a student is exhibiting symptoms. 
  • The parent/guardian will be notified to come and pick up the student immediately. If the office infirmary is not available, the student will be kept at least 2 metres away from other children/students. The student will be encouraged to access COVID-19 testing by accessing the AHS Online Testing tool.

If my child has symptoms what am I legally required to do?

  • Please make sure your child is healthy before coming to school.  
  • COVID-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist (For Children Under 18)
  • You are legally required to isolate your child for a minimum of 10 days if he/she has a cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or has lost sense of smell or taste.  The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of the above mentioned symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer. You can also book your child a COVID -19 test, and if the results are negative and the symptoms are gone, they can return to school.
  • If your child has any of the other symptoms on the checklist (ie. headache), they need to stay home for 24 hours until their symptoms have resolved, but are not required to isolate for 10 days. 
  • You are encouraged to access COVID-19 testing by accessing the AHS Online Testing tool.


What if my child has come into close contact with confirmed cases?

  • You are legally required to isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (provides care, lives with or has close physical contact without appropriate use of personal protective equipment, or comes into direct contact with infectious body fluids).
  • If you become sick with cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer. 


If my child is participating in online learning or homeschooling this year, can they return to CLES?

  • Yes, we encourage parents to let us know if your child plans on returning. Re-entering CLES and "Learning From School" will take place in November, January, or March.  We'll make arrangements to place your child in a homeroom class when your child returns.

Is there Out of School Care available?

  • Yes, there is OSC in the preschool building west of our main campus, with service available for students from Nelson Heights School.
  • If you have registered your child for OSC, you will be contacted with more information.
  • After school, OSC students will meet in the learning commons. Parents will message OSC when picking up their child at the end of the day, students will meet parents outside the school. 
  • For more information, contact our office 780-639-3107 or visit our website.

When does Preschool begin at CLES?

  • Preschool begins on Monday, Sept. 14. You will be contacted before preschool begins, with more information.
  • If you have any questions about Preschool, you can call our school office (780-639-3107).


Please stay tuned to our regular media posts on School Messenger, CLES Facebook, and our website. You are always welcome to contact us from 8:00-4:00 on school days if you have any questions (780-639-3107). We can’t wait to see our precious students and we thank you for helping us create a safe and smooth “Back To School” transition for this new, and very different school year! We love you and we can’t wait to see everyone soon!



Mrs. Kathy McKale & Mrs. Natalie Ogrodiuk-Whaley

Principal & Assistant Principal


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