The Calgary Board of Education is warning parents to prepare for a possible switch to home learning if the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.
“We know that the spread of COVID-19 has and will continue to impact staffing levels across the organization,” said the CBE wrote Thursday. “Despite the increase in our supply teacher roster and the continued hiring of new supply teachers, we expect staffing issues to arise.”
The update for parents and guardians comes the day after Education Minister Adriana LaGrange confirms that all students in Alberta will resume classroom learning on January 10.
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LaGrange also confirmed that the medical-grade masks and rapid antigen testing will arrive in schools by the end of next week and will be rolled out in phases.
“In the initial phase, students will be given home test kits twice a week for 2.5 weeks,” CBE wrote, adding that school staff will also have access to these resources.
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The CBE said it was “exploring other ventilation options,” while recognizing the role of good ventilation in the well-being of students and staff.
Edmonton Public Schools and Edmonton Catholic Schools announced on Wednesday that they are installing new HEPA and MERV 13 air filters in their school HVAC systems.
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The public school authority stressed that anyone who is not feeling well “should stay at home” and recommended using a daily checklist before coming to school.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Wednesday that Alberta Health and AHS would no longer provide notifications of positive COVID-19 cases to schools or school boards.
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CBE noted that rapid test results are not required to be provided to schools, but asked parents to notify schools when children will be staying home for the school day, as “schools will continue to operate. monitor absenteeism from school due to illness “.
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The Calgary Public School Division has also acknowledged that the rampant spread of COVID-19 may affect school buses “through last-minute staffing issues due to disease.” Parents can check CBE transport web page for more information on delays or cancellations.
Shortly after the Minister of Education announced the one week extension of the winter vacation, the Calgary Catholic School District issued a “January back to school“Guide for parents.
A “frequently asked questions” section of the guide included information on medical grade masks distributed to schools in Alberta.
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“Medical grade masks are slightly below the N95 standard,” CCSD wrote. “The government will provide two mask sizes: the child size (suitable for kindergarten to grade 6 students) and the adult size (suitable for grades 7 to 12). “
They said more information on the masks and rapid tests will be shared with parents “as it becomes available.”
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The CCSD also admitted that the highly transmissible variant of Omicron could have an impact on staffing levels.
“Given the current positivity of the community, it is likely that 30% or more of our staff will need to self-isolate due to the presence of symptoms.
“It would be impossible to fill so many vacancies in our current pool of visiting teachers, and just as impossible to maintain the continuity of learning. “
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