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CBE outlines Covid school preps in a letter to parents

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) laid out their plans for a return to school Jan. 10 in a letter to parents sent out Thursday.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange told families Wednesday kids would head back to in-person learning next week.

A return to school had been delayed a week after the holiday break to help schools prepare after a spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

Minister LaGrange said that schools would be equipped with medical-grade masks and rapid test kits.

According to the CBE’s letter to parents, the students will receive kits so they can test at home twice per week for two-and-a-half weeks. They’ve directed parents to the Alberta government website for test procedures.

They also outlined positive case notifications. The CBE said the province will no longer support schools to inform close contacts or the school community of positive cases.

They also warned of a shift to online learning due to staff shortages or case counts in classes.

“Yellow school bus service may also be impacted by last-minute staffing challenges due to illness,” CBE Chief superintendent Christopher Usih wrote.

“Buses may be delayed or unable to run for the day due to driver availability.”

School ventilation

The Alberta Teachers’ Association president said Wednesday that they’d like to see strict isolation guidelines implemented in schools.

They would also like HEPA filtration provided to classrooms.

The CBE has posted online that there are potential concerns with these filter systems as they could overload electrical systems. They could also increase the risk of transmission for students or staff closest to them.

There’s also a cost involved to clean and maintain them.

Usih’s message included a note from the CBE board of trustees.

“We are so grateful for the tireless commitment of our staff to continuing to deliver a quality education experience to all students throughout this pandemic,” the message read.

“It will be important that we work together to keep schools and workplaces as safe and healthy as possible.”

The Calgary Catholic School Board hasn't posted an update since Minister LaGrange's announcement. Information on their procedures can be found here.