‘There are so many unknowns’: Parents anxiously prep kids for school amid COVID-19

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There’s still no final breakdown available for the number of students enrolled in online learning instead of returning to class in person. A CBE spokesperson said that as of Aug. 24, a little more than 21,000 of their approximately 128,000 students were enrolled in hub online classes. For CCSD, more than 5,000 of their 59,000 students are registered in the district’s remote option.

Besides the mask mandates, schools will look different for kids coming back for in-person instruction. From markers on the floors and doors to enforce physical distancing to rearranged classrooms and plentiful hand sanitizer, students’ experiences will be unlike anything they’ve been through before.

High-touch surfaces in schools will be cleaned more frequently, and any child sick with cold or flu symptoms will have to stay home.

Calgary’s two largest school districts will also try to group children in smaller cohorts to minimize their contact with others, but both have acknowledged the size will vary. The CCSD says creating cohorts will be “difficult or impossible” for junior high or high school students, whose timetables that require them to move between different classes.

Photographs from inside Henry Wise Wood High School, showing efforts being made to control the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

The CBE hosted a walkthrough of Henry Wise Wood high school last week, where signs restricted the capacity of common spaces and some stalls in bathrooms were blocked off. Some classrooms aren’t big enough to allow for two metres of distance between desks, meaning masks would be required during instruction.

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