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Coronavirus: Alberta K-12, post-secondary classes cancelled

Due to a spike in coronavirus cases and evidence there may be community spread, all Alberta K-12, post-secondary classes are cancelled, and daycares are closed, the province said Sunday.

Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement Sunday evening, as 17 new cases were added in Alberta, bringing the total to 56. Fourteen of the new cases were in the Calgary Zone. Three cases were in Edmonton.

Two are in hospital and the other 15 are at home in self-isolation.

“Our investigation determined that seven of these cases stemmed from a single gathering that took place in Calgary zone. This underlines the fact that gatherings can accelerate spread of the virus,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“In addition, at least two of the cases within the last two days appear to have been acquired from an unknown source. This means we are likely seeing community transmission in Alberta.”

Dr. Hinshaw said that until now, all cases had been travel related, or with someone that was a close contact of a returning traveller.

Alberta school, post-secondary classes cancelled

After ongoing talks with Alberta school boards, Dr. Hinshaw said it became clear that school boards weren’t able to put in place the appropriate health response due to product shortages, staffing challenges and “other operational issues.”

All regularly scheduled classes in K-12 and post-secondary in-person classes are cancelled, she said. Further, licensed childcare facilities and out of school care programs are to close immediately.

“Based on what we’ve seen over the last two days, it is clear to me that now is the time for additional action,” said Hinshaw.  

“We need to put in place more restrictions to help slow the virus and protect public health.”

Hinshaw said that she understands that this will be disruptive for many families.

Teachers and staff are still asked to go to school to plan for alternatives for students – particularly those in Grade 12, Hinshaw said.

Alberta Education Minister, Adriana LaGrange, said that everyone agrees this is the right decision.

In doing so, Minister LaGrange said that all students will move to the next grade, and they are confident every student in Grade 12 eligible to graduate, will graduate.

LaGrange said they will also be working with post-secondary schools to ensure that the circumstances don’t prevent students from being eligible for admission for the upcoming school year.

Provincial assessment tests for appropriate grades are being cancelled.

Schools will still receive their allotment of funding for the year, she said.