Return to School Update for Alberta: Winter Break Extended!

This week, thousands of Alberta students would have returned to school after an enjoyable holiday break. But things have changed due to the ever-increasing presence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Now, the province has extended the winter break till January 10. The School Administrators will use the extra days to boost safety measures and prepare for the new staffing pressures.

The PPE Task Force of Alberta will also deliver 8.6 million rapid tests and about 16.5 million masks to schools to ensure a safer return to classes.

The January diploma exams have been canceled to support the high school students who had their learning disrupted by this extension of the holidays. The decision regarding those planned exams for April and June will be made later.

Announcing the change, Alberta's education minister, Adriana LaGrange, said, "With this change, we are responding to concerns from Education stakeholders and aligning Alberta with other provinces in Canada. A pause will also help school authorities plan for changes in testing and contact notification. More information on the next steps related to whether students will learn in class or at the home beginning January 10 will be communicated late next week. The decision will be evidence-based using operational information provided by school authorities, case information, and other available health data."

She added, "The decision will be evidence-based using operational information provided by school authorities, case information, and other available health data."

LeGrange also stated, "I'm confident that this additional time to plan will position school authorities for a successful start-up."

While making the announcement, LeGrange also said that she wanted to share the updated plans for schools as soon as possible and even left a meeting of the province's COVID cabinet committee with Premier Jason Kenney to ensure that the announcement was made.

The education minister admitted that education leaders told her they needed more time to assess the COVID-19 situation. She said, "Schools are expecting a high number of student absences, making it harder for teachers to manage in-person and at-home learning at the same time, and with students and staff still on holidays, it's very hard for anyone at this time to assess what the situation for schools may look like fully."

Parents Face Problems

Though the change of school plans is essential, it has become troublesome for parents of school goers as they don't have anyone to rely on about the care and safety of their kids. One of the parents said, "For working parents, it's really difficult. It's messed up everything."

In such a situation, daycare is the only option for families where both parents have to work and cannot work from home. If they can't find a spot in daycare for their kids, things can be exceedingly difficult.

If you are also a parent seeking daycare for their kids in the changed circumstances, this link might help.

To know more about the ongoing and upcoming COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta, click here


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