In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, educators and school staff at Edmonton schools are being faced with questions on the tragedy, and what schools are doing to keep students safe.

At Edmonton Catholic School Board offices, flags are flying at half-staff, to honour the dozens who died in the shooting.

In addition, principals, teachers and students have prayed – crisis counselors said prayer is one way to work through the grief and sadness in a faith-based environment.

A team of twelve crisis-management staff members are also on hand to offer support if needed.

On Monday morning, Edmonton Catholic Schools held a press conference to address ways to answer questions children could have on Friday’s shooting.

“I asked him how he felt about it, and he said that he was feeling sad, so we talked a little about his sadness,” Critical Response Team Coordinator Sandra Talarico said. “I think that’s the important thing, is that we’re open with our children, and if they’re asking questions we’re open and honest with them.”

Catholic school administrators also said their staff works with Edmonton Police Service to ensure their critical response plan is as comprehensive as possible.

For staff at Edmonton Public Schools, principals are asked to keep an eye on students and teachers to make sure they feel secure.

“Whenever we have a big event, like what just happened on Friday, a tragic event like that, anxiety levels for students and staff increases,” Edmonton Public Schools Superintendent Edgar Schmidt said. “What we do normally is ask our principals and our teachers to pay attention to that anxiety level of students and perhaps of staff members, and see what we can to do to make sure they’re feeling safe.”

A crisis counselor at Edmonton Catholic Schools suggested parents should address what happened with their children if they are attending school – and parents should be honest, but for younger children it’s not necessary to go into detail on what happened.

Parents are also encouraged to focus on safety, and reassure children that everything is done to keep their school as safe as possible.

With files from Serena Mah