Calgary students Grades 7 to 12 will go back to at-home learning until the end of April as the latest measure to curb COVID-19 cases.
The province announced Wednesday afternoon that students in these grades in both the Calgary public and separate boards would be learning online.
They will begin April 19 and be at home for two weeks.
“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 Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
The decision to approve requests for at-home learning come based on four conditions, according to the province.
- Chronic substitute teaching shortage
- Large number of staff/students in quarantine
- Board requests
- COVID-19 cases in the community
The decision comes as 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past 24 hours. Alberta is up to 420 people in hospital, with 92 cases in intensive care.
There were eight more deaths, bringing the provincial total to 2029.
Calgary school status
Current Alberta government information shows that there are 28 schools with outbreaks (10+ cases), 49 with 5-9 cases and 62 cases on alert status (2-4 cases) in Calgary.
Calgary’s public school board chair said it was the right decision.
“We appreciate that the government has responded to our concerns. The greatest impacts of COVID-19 cases have been in the Grade 7-12 schools,” said Marilyn Dennis, CBE board of trustees chair.
“Moving these students online will help to ensure learning continuity, address operational concerns and support the health and well-being of CBE students, staff and the Calgary community.”
The Calgary Catholic School Board said they welcomed the announcement.
“While we recognize that face-to-face learning is always preferred, the safety of our staff and students must always be a priority, and moving temporarily to an online format for our Grades 7-12 students will support their health,” said Mary Martin, CCSD board chair.
Recognizing that, along with the expansion of the rapid testing program, the ability to move to an online format are good strategies to support our schools.”
The provincial release also noted that 81 per cent of Alberta schools do not have alerts or outbreaks.