CALGARY – Alberta Education has approved requests from public and Catholic schools in Calgary to temporarily shift Grades 7 to 12 to at-home learning.
Students in Grades 7 to 12 in the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District will shift to at-home learning starting April 19 for two weeks (including schools in Airdrie and Cochrane).
“While everyone’s preference is to learn in school, some school boards are dealing with operational pressures due to rising COVID-19 cases in the community,” said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.
“The safety of students and staff is my top priority, which is why I am responding to the boards’ requests and respecting their autonomy. By having a clear process in place, we are giving them flexibility to move to at-home learning when necessary.”
Decisions to approve a school board’s request to shift to at-home learning for operational considerations is based on four criteria including a chronic substitute teacher shortage, a significant number of students and staff in quarantine or isolation, recent requests from the board for short-term shifts for a number of their schools, and substantial COVID-19 cases in the community.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health said they are seeing a sharp rise in cases among school-aged Albertans, as well as those in other age groups.
“While this is an operational decision, I support it and ask that parents and students continue making safe choices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “Social activities outside of school can easily spread the virus, so please continue following all the health measures in place.”
School boards can continue to request an entire school to move temporarily to at-home learning due to operational reasons and the province continues to work closely with school boards to support students and families. Decisions to move a portion of a school, such as one grade, continue to be at the discretion of the school board. To date, Alberta Health has not required any school closures for health reasons.
Students with disabilities in need of specialized supports can continue to learn and receive services in-person at school, regardless of the shifts to at-home learning.
Currently, nine schools are temporarily learning at-home/online due to operational considerations.
About 81 per cent of schools in Alberta currently don’t have alerts or outbreaks.