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The UCP government announced in July that Kindergarten to Grade 12 students will return to classrooms starting in September, with no funding directed towards reducing class sizes. They later added a requirement that all students from Grades 4–12 wear masks when physical distancing was not possible, though the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District each widened that mandate to include all students.
Earlier this week, Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling said after a meeting with LaGrange that the province was considering a week-long delay to the start of the school year in order to better help schools prepare for students to arrive.
LaGrange is expected to discuss the potential delay with Alberta school districts in upcoming days, though CCSD chief superintendent Bryan Szumlas said Thursday he opposed pushing back the school year, saying it was only “delaying the inevitable.”
During her Thursday press conference, Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw stood behind the government’s school re-entry plan, reiterating that while some COVID-19 cases will likely emerge, the tradeoff is worthwhile.
“We must take the pandemic seriously and we also must look at the whole picture,” she said. “As a parent of school-age children, I have decided that the value of in-school learning outweighs the risk to my family. That’s why I’m sending my children back to school in September.”