Preparing for May 3rd? Your Questions Answered

  1. What has been decided about school operations on May 3rd? Will the schools be open?

Based on feedback from other communities who have been through a city wide disaster, it is important to keep the day as normal and routine as possible for students, staff and families. The research shows that the best protective factor to keep everyone resilient is social support. Being at school with their teachers and other classmates will allow students, as well as our staff members to be in predictable routines and allow participation in social bonding activities with their classmates and school family.

  1. Do my children have to come to school on May 3rd?

As a parent you can decide to keep your children at home similar to any other day. Once again, we strongly encourage you to bring your children to school on May 3rd as it will keep the routine and social support in their day. If you feel your children need to be home with you then we certainly will respect that decision. Please inform your child’s school as per the usual process.

  1. What are schools planning for May 3rd?  Will all schools be handling May 3rd the same way?

The FMPSD District team has established guiding principles for the day, and each school team is planning its own day based on our following principles:  

  • A predictable day with routines should be in place.  May 3rd will look much like a normal school day.

  • Extra mental health supports for students, staff and parents will be available for those who are showing signs of anxiety.

  • Flexible spaces will be in place if students and/or staff feel they need to take a break from the daily routine to reduce their anxiety.  

  • Some schools will be planning an opportunity for families to connect with other families throughout the day.

It is important for schools to make their individual plans for the day to suit the needs of their staff, students and families.  High school students’ needs will be different than elementary students’ needs.    

  1. How will the needs of parents, students and staff differ? Where can they find supports?

It is important to remember that everyone had a different experience and as such will be in varying stages of recovery.  Routine and normalcy will be in place for those who need it, as well as flexible spaces and activities to support those who need to seek extra supports. FMPSD has been working with community agencies to advocate for additional supports within the schools if needed. Please keep an eye out for a wellness brochure for parents providing information on where to find extra supports within our community.

Wellness for Everyone Monthly Newsletter

  1. Will you be talking to the students in class about the anniversary?

Yes. If students begin to start asking questions about May 3rd and the wildfire, it is important for classroom teachers and staff to give the students the facts, but in a way that diffuses their anxiety.  FMPSD counselors have created a classroom discussion guide for May 3rd as well as for fire season to assist with the process of preparing our students.  The more prepared and informed our students are the safer they will feel and less chance that they could react to a trigger.  We will start the guided discussions mid-April with classroom teachers and school counselors.

  1. There is a RMWB Recovery Team working on a community response.  Is the District aware of those activities and is there communication with them in terms of a coordinated response?

Yes. The following link provides updated information:

RMWB May 3rd Community Gathering

In addition to the Recovery Team work, Superintendent Doug Nicholls has met with Jody Butz, RMWB Fire Chief about the fire season and other issues.  Mr. Butz, along with a representative from the Forestry Department, will be visiting school and District administrators at the FMPSD April Leaders’ Meeting to discuss related topics.

For further information, please contact:

Shannon Noble, Assistant Superintendent of Schools at: 780-799-7902  or email shannon.noble@fmpsd.ab.ca

Doug Nicholls, Superintendent of Schools at: 780-799-7903 or email doug.nicholls@fmpsd.ab.ca